Sarah Palin is good at memorizing.
That was clear last night during the debate between Palin and her Vice Presidential opponent Joe Biden. Many think she held her own and redeemed herself by being able to answer questions in complete sentences. That's not what I saw.
I saw a woman who was prepared for the debate by memorizing a few answers and was schooled in the 'if-you-don't-know-the-answer, talk-about-something-else' model of exchange. I was shocked, though, that she outright told Gwen Ifill and Biden, in her own special Northern Exposure perky way, that she'd darn well only answer the questions she wanted and was going to ignore them and talk to the American people about the topics she came to talk about. I've never really seen that kind of F- you moment in a national debate.
It was a true Dick Cheney moment. Palin, in a way Cheney has done so many times, was clear in her contempt for her opponent, the moderator, the process and, yes, the American people. Palin was a woman who was convinced that she didn't have to play by the rules. She'd say what she G-D pleased, thank you very much.
Even worse, was her lack of a grasp on how the economy got in the situation it is today. She thinks we can get out of this economic mess by tightening our belts, learning how to be more responsible with our credit cards and trust that John McCain, who has called for deregulation up until a couple of weeks ago, will bring the hammer down on predatory lenders and Wall Street? Clearly, she needs to do a little more research on her running mate's historical perspective on the evils of government regulation and guidelines and his misguided ability to trust in voluntary compliance.
But here's the thing that really jolted me back to reality when it comes to the McCain/Palin ticket.
Earlier this week, it was clear during the Katie Couric interviews that a woman who wants to be second-in-command of the United States knows nothing about any Supreme Court decisions, maybe not even Roe v. Wade. I don't expect people who haven't gone to law school to be able to answer that question, but if you want to be someone who has influence and sway over the national process and future Supreme Court appointments, you should be able to name a few -- especially, for Palin, a recent one that directly involved her state.
During the vice-presidential debate, it was also obvious that either she doesn't understand the Constitution or doesn't care to. If you were averting your eyes and ears for a quick second, you might have missed it, but Palin announced to the world that, as far as she's concerned, the Constitution makes her not only a part of the executive branch, but the legislative branch, as well.
"The Vice President should have more authority over the Senate if the Constitution would allow it."
So the woman who can't name a case other than Roe v. Wade is now a Constitutional authority??
I think it's time to make sure my passport is up to date, because I don't want to live in a country where a woman like Sarah Palin is a Vice President who will be pushed into the mold of Cheney.
It's scary enough to think of Palin as a heartbeat away from things like having to deal with our current economic crisis or how things are going in Afghanistan. But we DON'T need another administration that will run roughshod over the clear, unambiguous provisions of the Constitution, like Article I:
"The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided."
Period. That's it. The only legislative duty of the Vice President. Clearly, Palin didn't watch the John Adams mini-series scene where Adams was horribly put out, as he had to preside over Senate debate, yet remain silent.
My blood pressure was high enough with the economy going in the tank. It wasn't helped by watching Palin's performance in the debate. Her tone, her smirk, her refusal to answer questions about her understanding of substantive issues like the bankruptcy laws and her penchant for winking at the camera, almost made me get out the home BP monitor and stay hooked up for the duration.
Good thing I was watching with a glass of wine.
Joanne Bamberger is a political analyst and writer who muses about politics and motherhood at her personal blog, PunditMom. In addition to contributing to MOMocrats and BlogHer blogs, her analysis has appeared on CNN, Fox News, XM Radio POTUS '08, BBC Radio, and others.