The Guilfoile-Warner Papers

Oct 2

In the immortal words of Alec Baldwin's character in the David Mamet movie, State and Main, "Well, that happened." Baldwin was describing a spectacular car crash which his character, a Hollywood star with a taste for young girls, managed to walk away from, which is a pretty good analogy for the Palin vice presidential candidacy. Last night, the vehicle came to rest, miraculously upright with the occupant a little bruised and battered, but without any life-threatening injuries. She reminded me of me going into my final on the history of the Russian Revolution junior year of college. Having basically ignored the reading all semester, I came in armed with a rough timeline of events and a handful of catchwords--Bolshevik, Menshevik, Duma--and managed to weave together a reasonable facsimile of an essay that was devoid of actual content, but demonstrated at least a glancing familiarity with the course material. Substitute Maverick for Menshevik and you get the idea. I got a B, which is probably what I'd give Palin, though I'd grade her down if she really did come in with the equivalent of the answers written on her shoe as her frequent checking of her "notes" seems to indicate. It's hard for me to judge, though. I find her alleged "folksiness" phonier than Tofurkey, but maybe there's parts of the country where winking at the viewing public and giving a shout out to a grade school class plays as adorable, rather than annoying. Where I live, those are things the local morning weather guy does before throwing it back to Al Roker. The idea that Palin somehow proved her fitness for the position of potential president based on that debate, as David Brooks and Peggy Noonan contend, is frankly absurd, but I could see her comfortably sitting in as a co-host on The View when Elizabeth Hasselbeck is out. (Maybe in our new, more frequent forum here someday soon we can do an analysis of how and why intelligent people like Peggy Noonan and David Brooks commit words and ideas to print that they clearly don't believe.) With the VP debate out of the way and the House passing the bailout resolution, there's a feeling that the election is taking a turn toward home, and the ground looks to remain favorable for Obama as the economy as the dominant concern of voters will only ratchet up in significance with today's news that we've lost another 159,000 jobs. The chances of McCain developing a coherent vision for the economy look about as good as the Cubs making the World Series right now. Apparently, Arnold Schwarzenegger also needs a $7 billion loan to pay off California's credit cards or something, yet another indication that the economy is Issue 1. My advice to the governor is to sign on for Terminator 4: Terminator v. Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Hulk, and Napoleon Dynamite, and donate the profits to the cause.

TMN contributing writer John Warner’s first novel, The Funny Man was recently published by Soho Press. He teaches at the College of Charleston and is co-color commentator for The Morning News Tournament of Books. More by John Warner

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