I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, "Hey, I think she just winked at me." And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can't be learned; it's either something you have or you don't, and man, she's got it.Broder today:
[Lindsey Graham and others] conceivably could have wound up on his ticket, had [McCain] not been captivated by the governor of Alaska."Captivated"? Jeez. And McCain had only met Palin, what, twice before he chose her? It must've been the starbursts.
Going into the debate, the fear among Republicans was that Palin would look as shaky as she did in some of her answers to Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson...[but she] appeared cool as a cucumber, comfortable with her talking points and unrattled by anything that was thrown at her.Geez, Broder - even Saturday Night Live noticed what a difference it made that Ifill wasn't asking any followup questions, and Palin 'answered' the questions with whatever non sequitur talking points she damned well pleased. And I suspect that most of the country had the sense that Palin had nothing behind her talking points - that what you heard was the sum total of her knowledge on those topics.
But it created a mystery of its own. Why in the world has the McCain campaign kept Palin under wraps from her debut at the Republican National Convention until this debate? What were they afraid of?You'd think that even a senile geezer like Broder could see that anytime Palin speaks, unscripted, or has to answer questions by even a mildly persistent questioner, there's no telling what she'll say. She really is the gift that keeps on giving.
I asked that question of Steve Schmidt, the McCain campaign manager, and he disputed the premise. Schmidt said that Palin has answered "hundreds" of questions -- which will come as news to the reporters who have been traipsing around the country with her. Going into the debate, she had done exactly three television interviews -- with ABC, CBS and Fox -- and not held a single news conference.
Graham, who has traveled the world with McCain and knows him as well as anyone, was more forthcoming when I put the question to him. "I think they thought she needed time for briefings on the issues that were new to her," he said. But then he added: "This campaign will go down in history as stupid if they don't unleash her now."That is an understatement.
Please, please, unleash Sarah Palin!
By the way, this is my 100th post here at Everybody Laughs At Broder. (Big deal!)
Update: James Fallows' and Brad DeLong's Broder smackdowns are also worth reading.