In the first presidential debate in 2000, Al Gore made George W. Bush look like a complete idiot. Gore had a total command of facts and logic. He spoke brilliantly. Bush spoke like a semi-coherent, bumbling fool. I was more than happy at the end of it. If it had been a prize fight, the referees would have stopped it. It was that one sided.
Imagine my shock and disbelief when the major media outlets declared that Bush had won the debate. And how had he supposedly pulled this off? He had exceeded expectations. Since Bush had neither fainted, wet himself, nor vomited, he therefore had "won the expectations game". I was amazed. But that's how the debate was presented, and Gore's campaign was hurt by it. It's part of the reason the Republicans were able to get the election close enough to steal in 2000.
Now, we are hearing about low expectations for Sarah Palin in her Thursday debate with Senator Joe Biden. We are hearing that if Palin "exceeds expectations" she will be the winner.
I only have one thing to say to that:
Anyone who has been able to force himself or herself to watch Palin's interviews with Katie Couric has to have come away with the absolute conviction that Palin is a dangerous, shockingly ignorant know nothing. She cannot name a SINGLE publication she reads on a regular basis. She cannot form a coherent sentence about the financial crisis. She knows absolutely NOTHING about any major national issue. She still thinks proximity to Russia equals foreign policy experience. (!!) She lies habitually. In short, she is wretchedly unprepared to be Vice President, or, GOD FORBID, President should the need arise. Hence the lowered expectations for her debate performance. But nothing could be more dishonest, and nothing could be more harmful to America's future, than to let Palin gain political advantage from her own lies and ignorance.
PALIN CHOSE TO TRY TO RUN WITH THE BIG DOGS. She could have turned McCain down when (after having met her on one occasion!) he offered the Vice Presidency to her. But she didn't. She accepted it, eagerly. In her ugly speech to the Republican HateFest, she embraced the role of attack dog with enthusiasm. She has put herself into the national spotlight. The fact that her glaring deficiencies are now being mercilessly exposed DOES NOT GIVE HER A FREE PASS IN THE DEBATE. If she can't even do more than simply repeat canned answers that have been drummed into her, then why is she entitled to be declared a debate "winner". SHE MUST BE HELD TO THE HIGHEST STANDARD. She is seeking, in effect, the presidency, for God's sake. If she can't measure up there, she won't have the benefit of "lowered expectations". She'll simply fail horrifically.
And take everyone else in America with her.
No lowered expectations, by God! If she can't think on her feet and do more than give laughable sound bites in response to serious questions, then there will be only one word for her: