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If Palin Withdraws


I have a dream. A troubling, disturbing, “I’ve turned into a lobster and must somehow still play shortstop for the Detroit Tigers while proofreading financial documents” dream.

This is it: On Thursday, Sarah Palin, a.k.a. Bible Spice, will humiliate herself so thoroughly during the vice presidential “debate” that, within a day or two, she will withdraw from the race at a tearful press conference, surrounded by her telegenic children, including a developmentally disabled babe in arms, (the arms in question being those of her Made for Lifetime TV special daughter Bristol), and her manful First Dude of a husband, Todd.

Do I even need to draw a diagram of what happens next? Do I need to describe the waves of outrage that are unleashed against the cruel, contemptuous, sadistic and most of all sexist elites that have crushed this undeniably attractive woman under their PC-jackbooted heels? The accompanying orgies of media self-flagellation? (That’s hot!). The polls suddenly indicating that PUMAs are everywhere?

I need to keep repeating: it’s only a dream, it’s only a dream . . .

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  • biscuits

    “On Thursday, Sarah Palin, a.k.a. Bible Spice, will humiliate herself so thoroughly during the vice presidential “debate”
    Much can(will) happen between now and Thursday. I think most people are concerned with the economy. Your nightmare situation just sounds to me like more drama from the McCain camp at a time when people are overloaded and fed up with this stuff.
    Sure it could happen, but I think it will backfire on them. Speaking as a vagina-american, all the women I know think she’s a complete moron. But then, we’re Obama mamas.

  • Paul, I too have a dark thoughts while waiting for the phone to ring at 3 am. Principally that all these interviews in which Palin practically speaks in tongues are a clever Rovian ploy to lower the debate expectations to the point where as long as she doesn’t actually burst into tears and run screaming from the room with her hair on fire, the media will declare her the winner and insist it is proof that the spunky moose-hunting hockey mom can hold her own against the meanest, baddest Senate shark the Democrats can throw at her. Especially after she tells a couple of completely irrelevant jokes instead of answering a policy question.

  • spence-bob

    I hope she does withdraw, if only so that Levi can then back out of marrying Bristol without everyone on earth watching.

  • DragonScholar

    I’ve had some similar suspicions, but this seems to be too much of a gamble – however we know McCain likes to gamble, so its a chance he’ll do something stupid anyway.
    If she withdraws, then it can look bad. Sure it can be spun all sorts of ways, but it also has a lot of fallout – McCain looks bad, she looks bad, and her base may be angry at HIM.
    If she stays in, well, she’s the Hockey Albatross.
    My guess is if Palin is creamed by Biden, that they’ll redouble their efforts – that he’s some fancy-pants elitist who was just mocking or something, so vote for Sarah (er, McCain).

  • NonyNony

    Dude, I think you’re not giving the women of America – and the women of the American press corps – enough credit here. If she humiliates herself on camera in the debate on Thursday and then turns around and gives a tearful goodbye on Friday, they’re going to mostly say “good riddance” and start wondering about what stunt McCain is going to pull next.
    But she’s not dropping out. It doesn’t matter how poorly she does on Thursday, McCain is all in on this one. What’s more, I don’t think she’s going to do nearly as poorly in the debate on Thursday as folks are expecting. Expectations for a flame-out have been raised so high that if she manages to answer the question with the right talking point, without generating word salad in her answer, she’s going to make people say “well, she’s not as bad as I thought from those interviews”.
    If the McCain campaign isn’t totally stupid, then her tactic on Thursday will be to have a coherent talking point for her initial response – she’s relatively decent on her initial responses. Then during the follow-up period her tactic will be to keep her answers as brief and on talking point as possible and let Joe Biden have as much of the follow-up time as he wants to use. If it makes her look deferential so be it – it’s better than making her look like an ass and it gives Biden more opportunity to say something stupid/sexist/stunningly awful and let the McCain spinners latch onto and use in the post-debate spin.
    Palin’s debate performance on Thursday will all be about controlling the damage, not trying to push things forward for Team McCain.

  • gmack

    Two thoughts:
    It is nearly impossible that Palin will withdraw from the race.
    If she does withdraw from the race, particularly under the scenario you describe, it would be an unalloyed disaster for the Republicans.
    Oh and here’s a third thought just for fun: Palin’s reputation may be reaching the point that “lowering expectations” no longer works. Every misstatement or minor gaffe may be blown out of proportion.
    And what the hell, I’ll offer a fourth thought: at this point Palin can no longer do the McCain ticket any good; if she does well in the debate, ultimately no one will care (it will cause some stir for a few days, but then will be forgotten, like all other VP debates). If she does badly, then McCain faces another week of damage control.

  • Matt

    I can imagine how this would be disturbing.
    I mean, being a lobster and having the live in the shadow of Alan Trammell. I mean, I couldn’t do it.

  • Jon H

    to lower the debate expectations to the point where as long as she doesn’t actually burst into tears and run screaming from the room with her hair on fire, the media will declare her the winner
    I actually think she’s beyond that point now.
    Her reputation is SO bad that even if she does relatively well, I think that’ll only let her regain a little respect and sympathy, but won’t lead people to think she actually won the debate or that she should be VP.
    It’ll be “Well, I’m glad for her and her family that she didn’t self-immolate, but I still don’t think she’s qualified to be VP.”
    I think she’d need to also do well in a second VP debate in order to get the usual “low-expectations win.”
    But there isn’t a second debate.

  • jon

    Sure, they’ve been lowering expectations as quickly as possible. And Palin has certainly applied herself to that task with vigor.
    It may be like W’s debate debut – if she can avoid peeing her pants and can put over a coherent sentence, she may just pass this ‘acid test’.
    I’m not sure she’ll be able to do that.
    Plus, CBS apparently has more interview tape with Couric, and there’s more information coming out about her police firing and getting all sorts of gifts and favors while mayor. Might want to ask about that, Joe.
    If she’s off the ticket, this will show the campaign in even greater disarray. After non-suspending the campaign once already, I don’t know how much more confusion and flailing about McCain can possibly sustain.

  • ed

    Let’s all keep in mind the Expectations Game. Of course, at this time, the bar Ms. Palin needs to clear is buried 10 feet underground, but nevertheless.
    Also keep in mind that Biden is a bit of a buffoon too. Hopefully, his years of playing the political game will pay off, but he, too, speaks a certain type of gibberish–if the politically acceptable type conferred by our Jackass Media Overlords (as Atrios noted).
    I’m just hoping that the well-established narrative that Palin is wildly unqualified and needs to go is now immutable and can only get stronger. One is hopeful.

  • Hanspeter

    speaking of withdrawal, just what is the procedure for replacing her (or McCain/Obama/Biden) on the ballot and on the ticket? Does the new person automatically get put into the ballots, or will it still say McCain/Palin? I’m going to guess the ballot replacement date changes from state to state, which will naturally lead to tons of fun (especially for people who have already voted early). And then I’m sure this will conflict with party rules for replacing candidates…

  • My suggestion for Biden is that he practice with Tina Fey and simply work on
    a) Not cracking up and
    b) a slow, thoughtful, agonized blink like the “Katie Couric” who appeared opposite Tina Fey in the SNL sketch.
    Other than that he should keep all ad libbing to an absolute zero. He should simply maintain an utterly straight and serious demeanour at all times. let her do all the kittenish work, the jokes, and the distractions. He should be utterly workmanlike and polite.
    Only in this way can he avoid doing what McCain did and making her look better by comparison.

  • ThresherK

    Bible Spice!!!
    How can I have not known this moniker by now?
    If I’m Biden, do I say something about allowing Bible Spice to take this test open book?

  • phil

    I have that same dream too, but it isn’t a nightmare. It’d be another epic Harriet Miers disaster, multiplied tenfold, and McCain would have to convince someone other than just Democratic senators to vote for the replacement.

  • witless chum

    The thing to worry about with the debate is that people let their sexism tell them that Biden shouldn’t be mean to that poor, widdle woman who doesn’t know anything.
    And, remember, one reason to think Paul’s nightware could work is that the media IS sexist as all fucking hell. The fact that Palin is cosmically uninformed and possibly a moron has to some extent hidden that, but if (especially) women noticed how Hillary Clinton got treated by the Matthews’ of the world, they might be more sympathetic to cutting Palin some slack.

  • cleter

    I think Biden’s strategy is to debate the TICKET, not Palin. In the post- Prez Debate wrap-ups, Biden gave devastating point-by-point refutations of McCain positions. I think he will show that he has a greater understanding of McCain’s positions than she does, and make her defend things McCain said. That gets her outside the box of her debate prep, which is bad for her.

  • lemuel pitkin

    This is a very strange nightmare.
    Do you really think the waves of outrage, etc. *won’t* happen if Palin stays on the ticket?
    This post is just the liberal flipside of McCain’s I-wouldn’t-have-to-lie-about-Obama-if-he’d-agreed-to-my-town-halls schtick.

  • Karate Bearfighter

    McCain’s convention bump seems to have been primarily the result of a new willingness by the Christian conservative base to come out firmly in favor of McCain. A Palin withdrawal at this point — short of replacement on he ticket by Ralph Reed or James Dobson — would probably push a number of these voters back onto the sidelines.

  • Paul, I know this sort of pie-in-the-sky thing is your stock in trade, but she can’t withdraw. Not just because McCain’s campaign would be cemented in the public imagination as a laughingstock, not just because it would absolutely destroy McCain with the base (whom the Republicans still need for downticket races), but because it’s after she’s accepted the nomination. She’s the VP candidate of the Republican Party, not merely the presumptive candidate. These jokers aren’t prepared to handle fifty states’ worth of election laws in just under six weeks after early voting has begun in many swing states; I suspect in many cases it’s not legally possible at this point absent a candidate’s death.

  • jon

    Palin’s statements positions and record don’t align tremendously well with McCain’s or the Republican platform, so bringing the discussion back to those problems might help. Making Palin explain ANYTHING in detail is probably harmful to her, so making her expand beyond her likely ‘Yup’ of Thanks, but no thanks’ will be key.
    I’d stay away from her personal life, family, religion, the Alaska separtists and those other red meat and misogynist areas.
    Biden has to work not to be too slick, know-it-all, elitist, inside the Beltway, and condescending. He should talk about his family and how hard it is to raise his kids. There’s also still plenty of time for him to shoot and kill a moose.
    paul, you have intriguing dreams, much better than mine. My lobster nightmares usually involve pots of boiling water.

  • cleter

    McCain is stuck with Palin, lobster or no lobster. Eagleton ruined the whole dump-the-running-mate thing for everyone. You just can’t do that again.
    If she leaves, she would take the right-wing nutjobs with her. Now, what would be interesting, would be if she decided she’s be better off NOT being part of a losing ticket, and left McCain in a lurch. If it looks like Mccain throws her off, she retains her right-wing cred. When McCain loses, it can be spun as the right-wing staying home, and she can still run in 2012 as the leader of a valuable constituency.
    McCain can’t dump her and win, but she might be able to dump McCain and sort of save herself. But I doubt it.

  • Paul

    I didn’t say my dreams are rational.
    Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a major league infielder’s glove that fits on a claw?
    There’s a serious issue here though, which is that a lot of the criticism of Palin is undoubtedly exacerbated by sexist cultural assumptions: she’s conventionally attractive, so she must be a bimbo, etc. As WC points out it isn’t as if there aren’t plenty of valid complaints about sexist media coverage of women candidates.
    The problem, of course, is that she’s in fact an absurd pick to be VP let alone POTUS. But if she were driven from the race, a certain number of low information swing voters will resent the sexism swirling around the discourse more than they’ll focus on the absurdity of the pick.
    If I had to bet, I’d say the net effect of a Palin withdrawal would be negative for the GOP. Still at this point it’s just another potential wild card that could shake up a race in which the status quo is beginning to strongly favor Obama.

  • cleter

    I think that, given that Great Depression 2.0 started about twenty minutes ago when the bailout failed, Sarah is not really our most pressing problem.
    I’m going to start making some gin in my bathtub. I guess I should also fix myself up a bindle.

  • DocAmazing

    “Adopt a Korean boy
    And kill you a moose
    Before all Hell breaks loose.”
    –Kinky Friedman

  • John

    Snarkout – no
    in presidential elections, people are electing electors in each state, not the president. The electors can vote for anyone they want. Either party can basically change their ticket at will as long as the electors haven’t cast their votes.
    Vice President Sherman died a few days before the 1912 election and was replaced by Nicholas Butler on the Republican ticket. This last minute replacement did not prevent Butler from getting all the (very few) republican electoral votes for VP. Eagleton was replaced after the convention – Shriver was officially given the nomination by the Democratic National Committee.
    There’s absolutely no technical reason they couldn’t replace her now.

  • in presidential elections, people are electing electors in each state, not the president. The electors can vote for anyone they want. Either party can basically change their ticket at will as long as the electors haven’t cast their votes.
    That’s true, but I’m thinking in terms of ballot access. I still think we’re largely past the point where the names could be changed, but I suppose that the possibility of faithless electors also means that a vote for McCain/Palin could simply be read as a vote for McCain/Romney, so it doesn’t really matter whose name is on the ballot. You’re probably right and I withdraw that objection, although I suspect there’d be a passel of lawsuits.

  • The McCain campaign’s next stunt:
    Bible Spice challenges Biden to a strip policy match. Same rules as strip poker. Her goal is to get stark naked as quick as possible. Her inability to answer questions coherently becomes an asset, not a liability. She can even speak in tongues if she likes.
    Bible Spice might get the odd question right by accident, but there’s a limit to how many items of Victoria’s Secret intimate apparel one can put on under a good Republican designer suit.
    Bible Spice gets naked, she wins by losing, Biden loses by winning, and no one will even remember what the questions were.
    For an encore, She and Wrinkly Spice can lip synch to “We are the Champions, My Friend.”

  • According to the WSJ, the new game plan for the debate is to discard the memorized talking points and let Palin “be herself.” Good luck with that.
    Meanwhile, the same article reports that the First Dude is complaining because the rigors of campaigning — not to mention avoiding interviews — have taken Bible Spice away from her family. So she’s preparing for the debate at one of John McCain’s ranches in Arizona, and the whole family is there. Maybe this twist is a form of contingency planning: laying the foundation for a Palin withdrawal.
    But I doubt it’s going to happen. Palin is barely a blip on the radar screen compared to the financial meltdown.

  • anonymous37

    Actually, people seem to be converging on “Churchy Spice” instead of “Bible Spice”.

  • togolosh

    Palin is going to win the post-debate spin. All she has to do is stay mostly on point, which isn’t going to be that hard for someone with a background in media and some basic political experience. She’ll let Biden yap his mouth off and after the debate the McCain camp will find a few “gaffes” by Biden that can be spun all over the media. Combined with the low expectations of Palin going in the media will fall for the spin and we’ll have the VP narrative set for the rest of the campaign.

  • RogerF

    Bible Spice = hilarious.
    Funny vid lampooning all the fake Obama rumors: http://tinyurl.com/6jb7l6

  • Hogan

    All she has to do is stay mostly on point, which isn’t going to be that hard for someone with a background in media and some basic political experience.
    You’d think so, wouldn’t you? And yet . . .

  • Cass

    I had that dream, too, except I was an accountant for the Houston Oilers, and Palin kept trying to shove me into a pot, while Chris Matthews slathered me with butter…

  • Anonymous

    I have the opposite expectation. Joe Biden will be there, all serious and ready for debate. Sarah Palin will stride onto the stage with 3 inch heels and a short skirt and simply keep vigorously repeating various anti-Obama anti-Biden lies and say “gee, gosh, Joe that was even before I was born you know” and “gosh Joe I guess I just dont know my way around Washington like you old timers do” THis will make an impression similar to her RNC speech and will come over very well with a lot of people.

  • rea

    The point of a dancing bear act is not how well the bear dances, but that it dances at all. Sarah Palin, being a dancing bear, will count it a victory if the debate establishes that she speaks and understands the English language

  • Jon H

    Actually, people seem to be converging on “Churchy Spice” instead of “Bible Spice”.
    Makes sense, as Palin’s church has gone well into extra-Biblical territory.
    I’m pretty sure the Bible doesn’t say anything about post-rapture Christians seeking shelter in Alaska. Hell, it doesn’t even say anything about the rapture.

  • rea

    I mean, being a lobster and having the live in the shadow of Alan Trammell. I mean, I couldn’t do it.
    And yet, Edgar Renteria manages somehow.

  • anonymous37

    Makes sense, as Palin’s church has gone well into extra-Biblical territory.
    Also, it scans better. “Baby”, “Ginger”, “Scary”, “Posh”, and “Sporty” — “Churchy” meshes better with those descriptors than “Bible”.

  • cleter

    How does “Loser Spice” scan?

  • Another Chris

    I’d like to think that Palin’s withdrawal would be a damning indictment of McCain’s judgment, and doom his chances in November like Eagleton’s withdrawal sunk McGovern.
    But seriously, these days, I think the Republicans could take an upside-down mop, put a bucket on top, and paint a smiley-face on it, run it as their candidate, and it’d still get at least 45% of the vote.

  • Stephen

    She will do fine. They have briefed her and rehearsed her. The bar is so low, so unless she barfs, she will be the winner.
    She puts back the woman’s movement 100 years!

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