As The Usual Suspects continue to weigh in with their screams of outrage, a more serious discussions on Obama’s remarks have been going on at places like NRO’s Corner, where several of the writers there are urging the McCain campaign to move on from this controversy and stop routinely treating Gov. Palin like she’s a helpless victim.
Now, I don’t think there’s any question that Gov. Palin has been given awful treatment not only by a relentless leftwing press, but also from far left liberals, all the way up to the Obama campaign. And by “awful” I don’t mean any legitimate criticisms about her record (have their been any, by the way?) but instead the insulting, sometimes sexist, sometimes crude remarks being made by certain swamp dwellers about Gov. Palin and her family personally. It wasn’t just a one time thing, either. As soon as McCain announced her candidacy, dirtdigging gangs on the far left started posting one untrue rumor about her after another, including the one about how her infant son Trig was supposedly really her daughter Bristol’s, and so on. These attacks have deserved sharp responses, and any similar attacks in the future do as well.
But (and you knew that was coming, right?), I think the McCain campaign needs to step back and calm down a little. There’s no need to immediately create a response ad everytime they feel like Gov. Palin has been treated wrongly, no need to call an “emergency” conference call to discuss any perceived slight levelled at Gov. Palin from Obama spokesmen and/or surrogates, no need to demand an apology every five minutes. Respond with a strong statement and make your point, refute what’s been said if possible, but for heaven’s sake please don’t blow things out of proportion by issuing the victim card everytime someone goes after Gov. Palin.
From what I’ve read about her time as Governor, this is something she’s never done. You can’t play the victim card in a Republican state and at the same time have an 80%+ approval rating. It just doesn’t happen. I hope over the next two days as ABC’s Charlie Gibson is interviewing Gov. Palin in Alaska that she doesn’t slip into victim mode and carries right on hammering OBiden while discussing what unique qualities she brings to the McCain ticket as well as why she is qualified to be second in line to the leader of the free world. Hillary Clinton whined every five minutes campaigning against Obama during the primaries that she was a routine victim of sexist attacks and it got old after the first time (especially considering the fact that in her case, her first complaint was flat out bogus). It’s ok to address it, but then move on and talk about the issues – and there are plenty of them to talk about, issues where McCain-Palin clearly outshine OBiden (like on energy, reform, wasteful spending, etc).
Again, don’t get me wrong: Personal attacks against Gov. Palin and her family have no place in the political arena and they deserve to be addressed forcefully, just like attacks on her record do. But the GOP only has 50+ days to convince voters that Gov. Sarah Palin has the experience and knowledge it takes to be vice president of this country, and they won’t be successful if they continue to make this race about slights to Gov. Palin personally rather than her record. I have a feeling that in the coming days and weeks as Gov. Palin becomes more comfortable in the national spotlight, doing TV interviews and perhaps some townhall-style appearances, the American people are going to see that she’s smart as hell, patriotic, strong, a fighter, and can roll with the verbal punches as well as anyone. Let’s just hope McCain and his campaign don’t ruin it by continuing to treat her as a damsel in distress.
I suspect women and independents are being drawn more and more to the McCain-Palin ticket because Gov. Palin has already shown that can hold her own and still be a woman in what is very much still a man’s world (as far as politics goes, anyway). They won’t stick around if McCain and Co. don’t cool it with the hour by hour outrage.
Mark Krikorian says it a little less delicately than I do:
It’s not that Palin/McCain campaign should be virtuous by refraining from complaint about the lipstick comment. On the contrary, the problem is that whining about sexism and flaunting her victimhood is bad for ticket because it degrades the Republican brand. Republicans are supposed to be the grown-ups in politics, and official outrage is just another form of me-too Republicanism. Palin’s already shown that she’s more of a man than Obama is, and whining would detract from that.