We all know Sarah Palin is going to beat all expectations in the vice-presidential debate tomorrow night, because when you are trying to clear a bar that's already on the ground, it's really hard to not jump high enough. But still, many (including staunch conservatives) are beginning to discuss the possibility of eliminating her from the McCain ticket. Though it has long been argued that this would be political suicide, McCain strategist Steve Schmidt has already proven that he's able to take the sourest lemons and make them into fabulous, audacious lemonade. He's actually a short-term polling genius, and depending on timing, a stunt like dropping Palin could give the McCain camp another giant boost. We know you think we're crazy, but let us give you some potential scenarios in which a Palin departure could be turned by the McCain campaign into a plus. Behold, a top-ten list!
How Sarah Palin Could Safely Drop Out of the Race:
10. She could say her daughters made her do it. There's been so much concern over whether Palin could be vice-president and a good mother at the same time, so people might just swallow this. She asked her daughters Willow, Bristol and Piper whether she should accept John McCain's offer. According to her, they voted unanimously that she should. If they voted her in, they could impeach her too, right?
9. She could fall on her own sword and claim that 5-month-old Trig is her daughter Bristol's baby. Let's be clear — this wild Internet theory has been discarded by the Times and other reputable sources. But feigning its truth would thrill liberal bloggers, who might give McCain a pass in their glee over being correct on a widely held, secretly fervent belief. It would be the ultimate contrarian surrender — and Andrew Sullivan would basically die. Also, back in Alaska, she might just get another pass for trying to protect her daughter. If she used to be starring in a Disney movie, she'd now be starring in a Lifetime movie!
8. She could fake a health condition. If elected, she would famously be "a heartbeat away from the presidency." She also famously installed a tanning bed in the governor's mansion. Who says she can't be a melanoma away from normalcy?
7. God could tell her it's not her time. Seriously, who is she to argue with God? And who are you? (No, seriously, who are you — do we need to get a witch doctor in here?)
6. She could claim that she's pregnant and can't maintain the vigorous campaign schedule. Stranger things have happened. Seriously.
5. She could blame media sexism. If Palin argued that, due to recent media sexism, McCain can't win with her on the ticket, voters and journalists would go wild. Sure, it would be dubious, but already pundits are struggling to define her as incompetent without seeming anti-feminist. And people who buy into such stunts (Hillary holdouts, we're looking at you) might even start a movement to get her back on the ticket. Let's be honest, with collars like those, she needs to be in charge of some kind of movement.
4. She could claim Alaska needs her. The state is being rocked by a series of corruption scandals. And what if Putin rears his head? We all know Russia's not going to watch itself!
3. Better yet, Bush could appoint her ambassador to Russia. Sure, current ambassador John Beyrle only began his job in July, but who even knows who that is? Bush could surely take one for the team and replace him with Palin. Beyrle doesn't even have any executive experience, and he grew up in Michigan, where you can't even see Russia!
2. She could decide McCain isn't conservative enough for her. Sarah Palin is so hard right that to her, neither evolution nor the morning-after pill even exist. It would be completely legitimate for her to explain that, after studying up on the positions of McCain, he is not conservative enough to her tastes, and she would not want to be a part of his administration. Sure, this would rattle the base, who flocked to McCain after her appointment, but it would give him an opportunity to endlessly rattle off his conservative credentials again. And it would reassure independents that he truly is a maverick, and allies with no strict ideology. You can just imagine the key moment, during which McCain asks her to sign a statement with him opposing ANWR drilling. Palin shouts, "That's a negative, Ghost Rider, those oil fields are full," and then moments later he issues the statement anyway, forcing her to yelp and spill coffee on herself.
1. After failing so dismally at so much forced studying for the debates, she could "learn" that she has a learning disability. She clearly doesn't, but who's going to argue with someone who claims that about herself? She's already a hero to families with special-needs children — this could be her full-time gig. She's the governor of Alaska with a mental handicap — it's the American dream, personified! This is no longer a Disney movie or a Lifetime movie. It's an HBO mini-series!
Earlier: Sarah Palin Has Yet to Hit Bottom