1. Sarah Palin is a mortal threat to the possibility of Obama winning, not a distraction. The reason is simple: if she can add a couple of points to McCain from defecting white women and the newly-energized right wing religious base without losing more independent votes, McCain pulls ahead in some key states.
The dangerous tendency of the Obama campaign and its Democratic surrogates is to not fight back, but treat Palin as a "distraction" from McCain, the economy, the issues they feel familiar with, etc.
If they assume that the Palin bubble will return to earth naturally, or that the mainstream media and Saturday Night Live will do the job for them, the Obama campaign is mistaken.
There needs to be a controlled message that treats Palin as an extension of McCain, not a bobble-head to be laughed at.
The message has to cut off independent and women's support for McCain-Palin and, if possible, divide some of the right-wingers. Not an easy task.
Perhaps the point is that we've already suffered eight years under a president Bush and vice-president Cheney who were, in Palin's words, so "wired in a way to be committed to the mission" that they could neither blink nor think. She and McCain, like Bush and Iraq, are faith-based missions that will crash on us.
An excellent editorial in Sunday's NY Times makes the connection from McCain to Palin in terms that will reach independent and moderate voters. It should be quoted and widely circulated. The choice of an unqualified candidate to be a heartbeat from the presidency of a 72 year old man with four melanomas "was shockingly irresponsible," the Times said.
I think we can see in McCain-Palin a kind of faith-based extremism that reminds us of Bush and, even more, the persona of Gen. Custer.
We have seen where righteous faith-based politics goes in the Supreme Court decisions, corruption scandals, the official lies, and the unnecessary wars of the past eight years, all carried out in the name of what both McCain and Palin now call "God's plan."
2. The McCain-Palin foreign policy is a mortal threat to America from the same neoconservatives who brought us Iraq wrapped in lies. Her neocon speechwriters had the audacity to repeat the 2002 claim that Iraq was behind 9/11. She told her son's Iraq-bound troops that "you'll be there to defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the deaths of thousands of Americans." [NYT, 9/14] This was the original lie of Bush's war.
We cannot give the Republicans an advantage with their false clams of "victory in sight." We have to emphasize the three-trillion dollar cost of the war, and we have to connect the war to the price of oil. Democratic consultants should stop compartmentalizing the economy like it was 1992 all over again.
This is apparently not the advice of the biggest Democratic heavyweights like Bill Clinton and James Carville who tend to revert to "it's the economy, stupid." But it's not 1992. It's the 9/11 era, the Iraq War era, the War on Terrorism era -- and also the middle of the worse economic and energy crisis in memory. The issues are tied together. Not enough people will vote on "lunch bucket" issues if they think McCain-Palin will protect them from terrorists, but they might vote against McCain-Palin if they think they are being lied to again.