Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Here are the last words of Pulling the Curtain, (note the reference to the Wizard of Oz you nonKansans) E. J. Dionne's column, published in today’s Washington Post. Note that the McCain campaign trashed the NYT reporter for reporting the truth – instead of owning up to it.

An aside: I just recently watched the A Man for All Seasons, the 1966 Oscar winner for best picture, about Saint (Sir) Thomas More. I think Karl Rove would make a good cynical Cromwellian character in a contemporary political play about our current administration. Rove is the ultimate postmodern Machiavelli. I like this quote by More’s character when asked to give a little: “And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?”

But anyway, the Republican fear seems to be that Vice Presidential candidate Sara Palin can’t handle a few tough questions from the press. If that is the case, well ...?

It is hugely unfortunate that the first big story about Palin -- other than questions raised about whether she fired the head of the Alaska state police for refusing to dismiss her former brother-in-law -- concerned her 17-year-old daughter's pregnancy. It's not just that Bristol Palin should be left alone, but also that the intense interest in this story gave McCain's bullies an excuse to push aside legitimate questions about Palin's record and knowledge.

Of course, Palin's handlers are being hypocritical: They want to focus on her family life and her identity as a hockey mom when doing so helps them and to push aside any story that mars this perfect picture. Conservatives are always against identity politics until they are for it.

Nonetheless, what matters is not Palin's personal life but whether she is prepared to assume the presidency if called upon. The actions of McCain's lieutenants suggest that they know the answer. And they are doing everything they can to keep the media from finding it.

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