Friday, October 24, 2008

Palin sinks under Obama's light touch

The polling evidence is overwhelming that Sarah Palin is dragging McCain down. And the reason is simple. While Democratic news junkies may be convinced that she's a Putinesque thug (see the Troopergate report), a quasi-fascist demagogue (whipping up mobs to violent fantasy) and a Christianist kook (accepting a laying on of hands from an avowed anti-semite to protect her from witchcraft), most Americans view her simply as likeable but unqualified. According to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll:
The shift in Palin's ratings come with a pronounced spike in the percentage of voters who see her as lacking the experience it takes to be a good president. Voters were about evenly divided on that question a month and a half ago, but toward the end of September a clear majority said she was not qualified. In the new poll, 58 percent said she is insufficiently experienced.
According to Newsweek's latest:
Nearly a third of voters, 31 percent, say that McCain's choice of Palin makes them less likely to vote for him, while 19 percent say the Palin pick makes them more likely to choose McCain (49 percent say it makes no difference). Perhaps most concerning for the McCain campaign is that 34 percent of independents say the Palin pick makes them less likely to support McCain, compared to 45 percent of Democrats and 9 percent of Republicans.

The Palin problem seems to stem mostly from a concern among voters that she is not yet ready to serve as president should something happen to McCain. A solid majority of voters, 55 percent, now say they think Palin is not qualified to serve as president, while 40 percent say she is qualified. Nonetheless, her personal connection with the American electorate remains strong; 70 percent of voters find her personally likeable, while only 24 percent do not.
If Obama were McCain, he would have hammered Palin's unreadiness home--along with her sinister demagogic rhetoric--in speeches and ads. But the Obama campaign, and Obama himself, pretty much kept hands off. Obama's only criticism of Palin that I can recall was in the third debate, embedded in his quasi-defense of John Lewis' attack on the McCain campaign's incendiary attacks. He didn't speak her name:
I mean, look, if we want to talk about Congressman Lewis, who is an American hero, he, unprompted by my campaign, without my campaign's awareness, made a statement that he was troubled with what he was hearing at some of the rallies that your running mate was holding, in which all the Republican reports indicated were shouting, when my name came up, things like "terrorist" and "kill him," and that you're running mate didn't mention, didn't stop, didn't say "Hold on a second, that's kind of out of line."
Obama & co. let Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric and most of all Tina Fey do the necessary. They let the process work. Anyone who's ever been unprepared for any test who saw the Couric clips knew that Palin was completely out of her depth. The Obama campaign simply left that image unfiltered.

1 comment:

  1. The light touch is revealing. Both candidates have been attacking.

    Perhaps it's time to assess why Obama's attacks stick while McCain's ricochet.