early and often

Sarah Palin Has Yet to Hit Bottom

Another night with Katie Couric (will this thing ever end?) hasn’t done much for Sarah Palin. As we pointed out yesterday, her change versus experience argument could have easily been made by Barack Obama against her ticket. She also had an interesting answer to Couric’s “gotcha” question on what newspapers or magazines she reads: “Um, all of them.” She then dodged Couric’s challenge to, you know, name one. With every passing day, doubts about Palin seem to grow among voters, former proponents, and independent observers. To be sure, Palin could turn it all around with a solid debate performance tomorrow night. But it’s never good when people start openly discussing replacing you on the ticket.

• Marc Ambinder writes that the McCain campaign feels compelled to make a political case for Palin, “an answer of sorts to those who believe that McCain fundamentally erred in picking the governor of Alaska.” They claim that despite the negative press, Palin has doubled the campaign’s field operations through a boost in fund-raising, drawn thousands of volunteers and at least 100,000 people to campaign events, and shut up complaining conservatives. [Atlantic]

• Then again, Ambinder reports, a spate of polls show that negative perceptions of Palin are dragging down McCain’s poll numbers. [Atlantic]

• Nico Pitney and Sam Stein report that George Will “becomes the latest in a list of respected conservative figures who have now soured on the Palin pick,” telling a Washington reception that Palin is “obviously not qualified to be President.” [HuffPo]

• Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin write that McCain officials say Palin, “initially a political boon, has become a distraction inside and out of the campaign, with top staff now sidelined trying to avoid a debate disaster.” [Politico]

• Paul Waldman says “there is something of an anti–Sarah Palin revolt going on among establishment conservatives, particularly as she seems to grow less informed with each passing day and the novelty of a politician with moose-butchering skills wears off.” If McCain ends up losing, the “Palin pick will no doubt be seen as one of the worst in memory, more embarrassing than even Quayle.” [American Prospect]

• Kathleen Parker, who gained wide attention after calling for Palin to be dropped, writes that Palin’s supporters (many of whom she’s heard from recently) usually blame Palin’s problems on someone or something else — the media, her overbearing handlers, etc. [WP]

• Kenneth P. Vogel says the McCain campaign is “struggling” to “develop a strategy for effectively deploying its vice presidential candidate.” Overall, she hasn’t done many interviews — or many rallies, either. “Large chunks of time in Palin’s public schedules have gone mostly unaccounted for.” [Politico]

• John Nichols thinks that “McCain may, in fact, be reconsidering the choice of Palin as his running mate,” but he won’t act on it. History shows “there are no rewards for veep switching — or even the consideration of veep switching.” That’s because “there is no greater embarrassment for a presidential candidate than constant speculation about” their veep staying on. [Campaign ‘08/Nation]

• Joan Walsh claims Palin “doesn’t belong on the Republican ticket” and “she’s got to get off.” It won’t happen though, because “McCain is too stubborn” and it’s “hard to imagine him bucking” the conservatives he picked Palin to appeal to. [Salon]

• Chris Cillizza contends that soon Palin is going to have to do more than blame the press. Though “[r]allying conservatives is a HUGE part of Palin’s job on the ticket,” the task is to “persuade undecided voters … simply complaining about the way in which she is being covered isn’t enough for Palin.” [Fix/WP]

For a complete and regularly updated guide to presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.

Sarah Palin Has Yet to Hit Bottom