Palin Debate Countdown: T Minus 26 Hours

October 1, 2008

I just watched a few minutes of Palin v Couric: round 73, followed by Biden addressing some of the same questions. I didn’t get to see the whole thing, but I did catch the much anticipated question about Supreme Court rulings. It turns out, the characterization that was leaked is unfair to Palin: she wasn’t asked to name any case other than Roe v. Wade, she was asked to name a case other than Roe with which she disagreed. That’s still something I’d hope my vice-president could answer, but it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as her drawing a blank on newspapers. In fact, I thought her answers immediately preceding this were actually worse. Couric asked her if she thought the Constitution guarunteed a right to privacy. Palin said she did. Couric pointed out that this right is the foundation for Roe. Palin said – to the extent that semantic content can be assigned to what followed – that this was the sort of thing that states should decide.

It’s of course perfectly plausible to believe that there is a right to privacy in the Constitution that doesn’t cover abortion. It’s also true that almost everyone is vulnerable on this issue: far more people have very strong feelings about Roe than have any idea what passages in the Constitution are even relevant. It’s a nasty truth about the overwhelming majority of Americans that they think the Supreme Court should rule good things Constitutional and bad things Unconstitutional. But none of that changes the fact that Palin’s apparent view – again, maybe it’s more charitable to assume she was just babbling – that there is a right to privacy in the Constitution, but that it’s up to the states to determine just what that entails, is completely at odds with any sane theory of Constitutional law.

I only saw one brief Biden response, but I must say it was an eye-opener. Generally, if you need someone to carry out a “don’t saying anything incredibly stupid” mission, Joe Biden is not your man. But listening to just about anyone speak after Sarah Palin is positively inspiring, filling you with newfound respect for mankind’s capacity for reason and self-expression.

The liberal blogosphere has somehow convinced itself that – due to lowered expectations and a stacked debate format – Palin’s performance tomorrow night is likely to be a wash, or even a boost for her campaign. Even by the high standards of irrational liberal pessimism, this is remarkably silly.

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One Response to “Palin Debate Countdown: T Minus 26 Hours”

  1. Genghis Says:

    “filling you with newfound respect for mankind’s capacity for reason and self-expression.”

    oh man, so true.


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