THE BLOG
10/11/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Sarah Palin is Rubber; Barack Obama is Glue

To the ten friends who e-mailed me the Photoshopped picture of Sarah Palin in the American flag bikini holding a rifle...

To the guy who posted the list of lies in her speech even before it was over...

To the rumor victim who sent me some new scandalous tidbit every two hours about her membership in a party that wants to secede from the Union or irregularities in the timeline of her most recent pregnancy...

To the people circulating online petitions demanding this or that and to those who have not been able to contain their outrage that Gov. Palin has not submitted to a grilling from a tribunal of reporters as required by the Constitution...

And to all of my Obamamaniac friends who seem downright offended that the other guys would even consider proposing a lightweight fifth-rater as a worthy opponent for their standard bearer...

To all of you-- although it gives me no pleasure to do so -- I ask: are you happy, now?

In an era where every Republican must claim to be the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan, Sarah Palin is the first candidate in a general election who genuinely seems to have slipped on his Teflon mantle. The barrage of innuendo, criticism, and outright attacks initiated by her ascension from Arctic obscurity less than two weeks ago didn't just slide off her; they ricocheted, fragmented, and gained velocity mowing down her opponents like doughboys going over the top.

And to the many frustrated Democrats who have responded to Obama's stationary poll position by wailing for their candidate to quit dancing and fight like a man, now I hope you see where the low road will take you. Sure, the blogosphere's Swift-Boating of Sarah Palin was pretty thin stuff compared with the real thing. It was more chaotic and silly than sinister. But underlying it was this year's deep political truth: Obama's supporters don't love him like they love a political candidate, they love him like an ugly schoolgirl loves the captain of the football team. And, as a result, as prom night approaches, they can be expected to be more and more high-strung and irrational.

If only. If only, somehow, the Obama campaign could have dragged all of its foot soldiers up onto the high road. If only it could have spread the word, "Shhhh, keep quiet. Be polite." If only the Democratic Internet outliers could have welcomed Sarah Palin in a chivalrous manner to the fray and kept all their blows above the belt.

Those particular cats, of course, could never be herded (as any reader of the Huffington Post knows.) But, as a fallback, the Obama Team should have immediately and vigorously repudiated every slur that floated across the Internet; more promptly and more vigorously than the McCain campaign did. I don't blame Barack Obama. I know that he tried to wave his people off. He was nice about the Bristol business and only batted an eye when Palin got the nod because it bounced him off the front page as the confetti was still raining down at Invesco.

But he didn't go far enough.

"Not in my name!" is what Obama should have cried whenever anyone brought up anything untoward about Sarah Palin or her family. Heads should have rolled in a theatrical effort to put open water between the campaign and the Internet hornets' nest of anti-Palinite invective. "We welcome Sarah Palin and congratulate her on her historic candidacy. We look forward to engaging her on the issues of importance to all Americans which are front and center in this election like the economy, health care, the environment, and our foreign policy," that should have been the refrain.

Look, this may not last. Sarah Palin may not continue on her current trajectory to be the most popular and influential politician of the 21st Century. But if Obama loses in November, I know who I'm going to blame: Al Gore. If only he hadn't invented the Internet...