It's Thursday night, October 2, and the Vice Presidential Debate is about to begin. Governor Sarah Palin is ready for prime time, or is she?
Her lip gloss is covering her tattooed lips or not. Her hair is piled high. Her tight skirt is smoothed, but one thing is sure. She is either going to pull herself back from the precipice of falling poll numbers, gaffes, and comedic punch lines by a stellar performance against Senator Joe Biden, one of the most knowledgeable foreign policy experts in this country, or she'll trip on her high-heels and empty-headed smiles and help the Obama-Biden team win the White House.
The "hockey mom from Alaska" is anything but an average mom or a six-pack gal totting an ambition-of-unusual-size. Under those glossy lips there's a mix bag. She can be the queen of mean or the princess of cute depending on the weapon required. In this case, probably both.
Larry Persily, a former Palin staffer and newspaper man, told Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC show, that his former boss can be vindictive, mocking, and mean. She also likes to stretch the truth: "Thanks but no thanks to the bridge to no where." Ah-huh.
Palin's mockery and penchant for character assassination is a finely tuned talent that will, no doubt, be on display during the debate tonight. Example:
"I've been hearing Joe Biden's speeches since I was in second grade." Ouch!
However, after CBS's Katie Couric questioned her about the comment that was clearly alluding to Biden's age, Palin flashed her 'cute' smile and denied she meant anything by it. "He's experienced. He's experienced," she blathered on. It was such a blatant lie that one could hardly believe she said it with a sort-of-straight face.
Questioned by Persily when he was an editorial writer during Palin's gubernatorial campaign, Palin answered Persily's question on what job she would offer her two competitors. One would be "an awesome statistician" and the other could be her cook in Juneau, "since he likes to cook," she said with a beguiling smile.
The 'statistician' opponent, Andrew Alcro wrote that Palin had a Reagan-like quality that allowed her to give vague answers to specific policy questions and get away with it. She's got personality. She's charismatic. Yeah, don't we know it?
From her first appearance at the Republican National Convention when the McCain spin machine had the time to create her personal narrative and bring home the conservative base, along with her ability to read teleprompter and energize the right wingers, Palin's poll numbers zoomed off into the stratosphere. But that's all changed.
After two embarrassing interviews displaying her lack of basic geopolitical knowledge, Sarah Palin has proven herself to be a noodle-head, so much so that even conservative columnists and leaders in the movement have called her credentials into question - and they are joined by an increasingly large swath of the American voting public.
Nearly one-third of adult voters in the latest Pew Research Poll watched Palin's interviews and the new Washington Post-ABC poll found that 60 percent viewed Palin as "insufficiently experienced to step into the presidency" and nearly two-thirds of independents said Palin had insufficient experience to run the White House.
While both Palin and McCain's poll numbers have taken a dive in the last two weeks, Obama and Biden's numbers are up from 5-15 points, most especially in critical swing states, and Governor Palin must reverse her downward trend, hoping to regain her earlier luster for the GOP ticket.
It is also quite possible that she could do it. Sarah Palin has the skill set.
She's a hockey mom with a taste for the kill - while hunting in helicopters or slip sliding through debates and interviews. She's been practicing at McCain's Arizona ranch, prepped by the Rovian McCainites, and rather than take on Joe Biden directly, she will most likely aim her sights at Barack Obama with the vengeance of a woman scorned.
Look for her mockery, character assassination, and lies throughout this debate because they are her stock and trade. Of course, Mrs. Palin will do it all with a smile. She's cute when she smiles.