The Morning News

September 29, 2008, 12:14 P.M.


In advance of Thursday night’s debate a chorus of “Free Palin” has sprung up amongst the conservative cognoscenti.

Kathryn Jean Lopez of the National Review is perhaps the genesis of the movement, giving voice to the idea that it’s the former Bush advisors hired by McCain who have shrink wrapped Palin, lest the stink of her lack of knowledge waft over the press corps.

The theory is that if Palin is just let free to cast her charms on the American public, we’ll see her as a kind of Mary Tyler Moore, can-do girl tossing her beret into the collective American skyline, as opposed to Anna Nicole Smith with an up-do, (but without the drug problem) she’s been playing thus far.

That this is originating from Lopez, a literal cheerleader for conservatives, someone is who is willing to say, “remain calm, all is well!,” even after the Delta house has crashed their parade float into the bleachers and sent Dean Wormer sprawling, is very telling, given that the subtext of the movement is essentially, “it can’t get any worse.”

(I’m willing to bet the same words were uttered by Mets fans from all over at the end of last season, so conservatives should be careful with this stuff.)

Bill Kristol picked up the mantel in his column this morning, also placing the blame on former Bush aides, and now Mitt Romney himself has jumped on the bandwagon, telling Joe Scarborough’s clan that “I think they’d be a lot wiser to let Sarah Palin be Sarah Palin. Let her talk to the media, let her talk to people.”

Of course, Romney could be simply wishing for Palin to implode completely, dragging the McCain campaign into the grave to open the field for Romney 2012, so I’m not sure we can trust his sincerity like we can trust Bill Kristol’s.

(Sorry, I just threw up in my mouth a little.)

If it’s all part of the inevitable expectations-lowering that precedes the date, the question is, can they be dragged too low? What are we expecting from Palin on Thursday? More policy gobbledygook? A well-prepared, credible vice-presidential candidate? A faked seizure to get out of the whole thing?


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