Saturday, October 18, 2008

Palin SNL appearance bad risk for clueless campaign

By Rick Morris

For a campaign that has been steered with all the grace and dexterity of the Exxon Valdez over the past month, the McCain campaign's decision to send Sarah Palin to Saturday Night Live tonight may prove to be the worst yet. It will either be that or completely inconsequential, but it's the risk/reward ratio that's way out of whack here.

The overrated, self-aggrandizing Rove wannabes who are setting the strategy for a campaign that has operated at a sub-Dukakis level of effectiveness ever since Lehman Brothers crashed have perpetrated some fine blunders over the past month, including ...

^ the decision to subject Palin to Katie Couric's tender mercies, then having her so overstuffed with irrelevancies that she stumbled over even the easier questions (bad Supreme Court decisions, what publications she reads, etc.)

^ miserable debate prep for Palin that did not have her discuss the particulars of her Alaska experience, nor the fact that Joe Biden was one of five senators to vote against the Alaska pipeline

^ every single aspect of John McCain's spastic reaction to the financial crisis, from the "suspension" of the campaign on down

^ a "throw caca at the wall and see what sticks" approach to disseminating the very serious situation of having Bill Ayres as a confidante of Barack Obama instead of specifically explaining what is troubling ...

but tonight could put everything else to shame in terms of ineptitude if the appearance is a fiasco. I have heard many people point out how other politicians have made successful appearances on the show, including Hillary Clinton's side-by-side skit with her doppelganger as played by Amy Poehler last spring. But it is ridiculous to point to any precedent to this program tonight as a way to feel good if you are a Palin supporter, which I have repeatedly and enthusiastically proclaimed that I am.

While I don't like people who whine about the politics of SNL, feeling that "they are what they are," I also believe that it would be foolish for a candidate to put their fate in the hands of comedians of a certain apparent bent who may well not have their best interests at heart. Most people expect Palin to be part of a skit with Tina Fey, probably along the lines of the aforementioned Clinton-Poehler appearance. Tina Fey, in her public utterances, which are fairly consistent with what is known of her politics, has not sounded like a huge fan of Sarah Palin -- and her impersonation of Palin, which I as a good sport do find very funny, has done the governor no favors and has probably contributed to her slide in the polls by cementing a very inaccurate impression of her as intellectually shallow. If Fey goes off-script tonight to seize the chance to embarrass Palin on live TV, whose fault will it be? The morons in charge of the McCain campaign who signed off on this stupid, risky decision.

Again, I really want to be wrong about this. I believe in Sarah Palin as a leader and even if my fears come to fruition as they may well and America has to live through four years under the jackboots of Pelosi/Reid/Obama (in the order of who I think will have the most stroke to call the shots the next four years and who I fear the most in terms of stupidity and megalomania), I certainly want Governor Palin to remain as a viable political figure in the wings. But there are some people working at SNL who may well not want that to happen and who might see the chance to flush her down the political commode for good.

I really hope that I am wrong. But it's not worth the risk either way.

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