Compared to his fellow wingnerds, Jonah Goldberg has been a trifle tardy in pledging his troth to Sarah Palin. Oh sure, he was impressed and more than slightly aroused by her performance at the Republican convention, but Jonah’s instincts — and two display cabinets full of collectible figurines in their original packaging — tell him that if she were really a superheroine who could lay waste her enemies with a single rhetorical blow, she’d show more boob. Not a lot — she’s not Vampirella — but she’d ditch the black pencil skirt and oyster-colored jacket with the three-quarter sleeves in favor of a more classic look, like Wonder Woman’s Amazonian corset, or the cleavage-revealing keyhole in Power Girl’s unitard.
Still, Jonah’s a fair-minded man (in that he once went to the Minnesota State Fair, and his brain accompanied him), and he’s shown more willingness to give her a shot than his colleague, John Derbyshire, for whom Governor Palin falls outside the temperate zone of female pulchritude (although Palin’s daughter Bristol remains safely within the Derb’s finely-calibrated Temporal Zone of Girlish Sex Appeal; coincidentally, in the post where he first defined a woman’s “salad days” as the five year span between ages 15 and 20, he referred to Jennifer Aniston’s breasts as “Bristols.”).
But Goldberg can’t rhapsodize about Palin’s unique combination of strength and beauty as though she were She-Hulk, because he’s a nationally known pundit with a reputation to imagine, a sinecure to protect, and a small bald spot on the top of his head where Tommy Jensen rubbed a divot into Jonah’s scalp with his class ring during a prolonged noogying. Instead, he gives us some manly, straight-from-the-shoulder Sports Talk:
Barack Obama, a famous fan of pickup basketball, must recognize his plight: It’s two on one now. John McCain drafted Gov. Sarah Palin, the star point guard from the Wasilla Warriors, to double-team Obama.(McCain’s team doesn’t care if no one covers Joe Biden, who seems to spend most of his time yelling to the media, “I’m open! I’m open!” But when he gets the ball, all he does is talk about what a great player he is and dribble in place.)
We now pause for Jonah to refresh his athletic tropes by sitting in front of ESPN with a notepad in his lap.
So after the halftime show of the political conventions, to strain the sports metaphor a bit further, it looks as if the change-up in strategy has Team Obama rattled and in danger of choking. Polls — the closest thing we have to a scoreboard — show that McCain, at least temporarily, has taken the lead. The Real Clear Politics average of national polls since Friday shows McCain ahead by a razor-thin (and statistically meaningless) 2.9 percentage points. The USA Today-Gallup poll has McCain leading by a whopping 10 points among likely voters (and four points among registered voters), though that’s almost surely an overstatement.
“As a professional writer with a weekly column in a major metropolitan daily, let me clarify the national political scene by giving you some mixed metaphors about games I don’t understand, a single fact that even I think is meaningless, and one exaggeration. Good. Done! Now where’s my check…?”
Still, there’s a lot of pressure on Sarah Barracuda. Called up from the political minors, she could yet wilt under the hot lights. But that’s looking less and less likely.
In that those hot lights are usually turned on during interviews, and she’s not being brought out to give many of those. Not because the McCain campaign is afraid she’ll commit a gaffe, or appear ill-informed, or otherwise tarnish the memory of her star-making speech. It’s purely an economic consideration; if you take your Wonder Woman collectible figurine out of it’s cardboard shell and blister pack, and let someone handle it, you very quickly begin to reduce its value.
The outrageous attacks on Palin out of the block (She banned books! She opposed family planning education! She’s a creationist!) have missed the mark.
I’ve just been handed a note from Merriam-Websters…”The word ‘outrageous’ now replaces the word ‘accurate,’ which seems to have lost all meaning (hey, it happens people, language is a zero-sum game). In related news, the word ‘legitimate’ is currently on the DL and the prognosis is not good; fortunately, ‘outrageous,’ with an occasional assist from ‘bogus’ will be able to pinch-hit.”
Besides, on paper, Obama doesn’t stand up very well against Palin. All of the mythic themes of Obama’s political narrative — the ethics reformer, the bipartisan, the new kind of politician — all look like press-release material next to Palin’s accomplishments.
Well, she’s an accomplished liar (although maybe “persistent” might be a better word, since it doesn’t imply she’s actually fooling anybody). And…she’s fecund. Oh, and Fred Thompson says she knows how to dress a moose, so if there’s ever a diplomatic crisis with Canada, and we need to send a large ungulate to the Embassy Ball, she can probably handle the shopping.
Obama’s idea of ethics reform is to mandate clean sheets in the brothel. Palin’s is to tear it down.
She’s Carrie Nation with a severe drinking problem.
The most unsportsmanlike conduct in the days to come will be the search for Palin gaffes, of which there undoubtedly will be many. The media will call fouls on her that they never call on the other candidates.
But in keeping with the rules of the game, they were never call them “lies.”
Fair or not, that’s how it works in the pros. But so far, it still looks as if the MVP title is hers to lose.
“Well, I’m all out of sports jargon, so I guess it’s time to — oh, wait. Did I say ‘locker room?’ Because I meant to say ‘leave it in the locker room,’ but I wasn’t sure if that was something you were supposed to do, or something you’re not supposed to do. Oh well, I gotta email this in, there’s a new issue of Birds of Prey with implied lesbianism waiting for me in the bathroom magazine rack.”Posted by scott on September 9th, 2008