Ouch. Just Ouch.

Jack Cafferty is a center-right political commentator, but, at 65, he’s got a pretty heavy dollop of the “does not suffer fools gladly” quality about him, and here, he absolutely uncorks on not only Sarah Palin (via her train wreck of an interview with Katie Couric), but also, by implication, on John McCain, the man who chose her having only met her once:

He’s not the only one, either. Cafferty’s never been on record as a Palin fan, but just the other day, someone who most definitely was on record as a Palin fan – Kathleen Parker, a conservative columnist at TownHall.com, decided she couldn’t take it any more. This was printed both at TownHall and National Review Online (full text after the jump):

If at one time women were considered heretical for swimming upstream against feminist orthodoxy, they now face condemnation for swimming downstream — away from Sarah Palin.

To express reservations about her qualifications to be vice president — and possibly president — is to risk being labeled anti-woman.

Or, as I am guilty of charging her early critics, supporting only a certain kind of woman. 

Some of the passionately feminist critics of Palin who attacked her personally deserved some of the backlash they received. But circumstances have changed since Palin was introduced as just a hockey mom with lipstick — what a difference a financial crisis makes — and a more complicated picture has emerged.

As we’ve seen and heard more from John McCain’s running mate, it is increasingly clear that Palin is a problem. Quick study or not, she doesn’t know enough about economics and foreign policy to make Americans comfortable with a President Palin should conditions warrant her promotion. 

Yes, she recently met and turned several heads of state as the United Nations General Assembly convened in New York. She was gracious, charming and disarming. Men swooned. Pakistan’s president wanted to hug her. (Perhaps Osama bin Laden is dying to meet her?)

And, yes, she has common sense, something we value. And she’s had executive experience as a mayor and a governor, though of relatively small constituencies (about 6,000 and 680,000, respectively). 

Finally, Palin’s narrative is fun, inspiring and all-American in that frontier way we seem to admire. When Palin first emerged as John McCain’s running mate, I confess I was delighted. She was the antithesis and nemesis of the hirsute, Birkenstock-wearing sisterhood — a refreshing feminist of a different order who personified the modern successful working mother.

Palin didn’t make a mess cracking the glass ceiling. She simply glided through it. 

It was fun while it lasted.

Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted. 

Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there. Here’s but one example of many from her interview with Hannity: “Well, there is a danger in allowing some obsessive partisanship to get into the issue that we’re talking about today. And that’s something that John McCain, too, his track record, proving that he can work both sides of the aisle, he can surpass the partisanship that must be surpassed to deal with an issue like this.”

When Couric pointed to polls showing that the financial crisis had boosted Obama’s numbers, Palin blustered wordily: “I’m not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who’s more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who’s actually done it?”

If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.

If Palin were a man, we’d all be guffawing, just as we do every time Joe Biden tickles the back of his throat with his toes. But because she’s a woman — and the first ever on a Republican presidential ticket — we are reluctant to say what is painfully true. 

What to do?

McCain can’t repudiate his choice for running mate. He not only risks the wrath of the GOP’s unforgiving base, but he invites others to second-guess his executive decision-making ability. Barack Obama faces the same problem with Biden. 

Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

Do it for your country.

Compare that with what Parker wrote in the immediate wake of Palin’s perfectly-crafted (and, to be fair, very well-delivered) speech at the Republican convention. Like I said….ouch. That’s gotta hurt over at McCain/Palin HQ. The bloom appears to be coming off the rose rather quickly these days. And unless Joe Biden well and truly puts his foot in his mouth, I suspect – with answers like some of the ones Palin gave to Couric – and Charlie Gibson – it’s only going to get worse during the VP debate.

2 thoughts on “Ouch. Just Ouch.

  1. The elitist wing of the conservative movement has always been wary of us libertarians coming into the GOP. Sarah Palin is one of the top elected libertarian Republicans in the country, (along with Idaho’s Gov. Butch Otter, and Cong. Jeff Flake of AZ).

    Of course, she’s going to make some conservatives nervous.

    They are wary of her libertarian cultural views. This is the woman, after all, who famously fought back against social conservatives in Wasilla who wanted to run all of the bars and taverns out of town.

    They even started a whisper campaign in Alaska during the 2006 primaries that Sarah wasn’t really a Republican, but rather a “closet libertarian.” She had attended a couple local Libertarian Party meetings seeking their support.

    But what she loses from the social conservatives, she gains 10 times over in libertarian votes.

    Figure, Libertarian Bob Barr was polling 6% nationwide in mid-summer. As high as 10% in New Hampshire. And post-Palin he’s now down to 1%.

    Ever since Goldwater the eastern establishment Republicans have distrusted Western cowboy individualists in the GOP.

    With Sarah Palin, the libertarian wing of the GOP has finally arrived. Of course, that’s going to make some other Republicans nervous.

    Get over it Conservatives, THE LIBERTARIANS HAVE ARRIVED!!

  2. It will be interesting to see how the divisions within the Republican party play themselves out over the next few years – perhaps even decades. The traditional media narrative has it that it is the Democrats who are always divided and riven, but I think the trends have already reversed themselves to a large degree….we just haven’t seen the ultimate results of either reversal in trend yet.

    But the Republican party has to contend with some pretty fundamentally incompatible elements in the coming years. They’ve got to remain true to the Dobson wing – the evangelical/social conservatives who helped propel them to power in the late ’80s and ’90s by literally being the foot soldiers of the GOP at the local levels throughout the country. But they’ve also got to not risk alienating the traditional, “east coast” Wall Street economic conservatives, who frankly don’t often care a lot about issues like abortion – or who may actually oppose the anti-immigration stances of the Tancredo folks – because they know that it is upon the backs of cheap, immigrant labor that their cocktail glasses are filled, their dishes are washed and their fruit is picked. And then – as you say – there are the libertarians.

    When John McCain is defeated this fall, it’s going to be a sort of “come to Jesus” time for the GOP (if you’ll forgive the analogy). They are going to have to go out into the woodshed for a time, and figure out which faction they want to hitch their wagon to, or whether (doubtful) a genuine coalition can be forged from these seemingly incompatible elements.

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