Well, I guess we won’t be hearing much of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin any more. Her debate last Thursday with Joseph Biden was chewed-on, digested and regurgitated by all the pundits who concluded that at least she didn’t disgrace herself. We also know that the meeting between Palin and Biden was to be their first and last. The Republicans can now keep her muzzled, more or less, until after election day.

Still, it’s worthwhile the see how the pundits treated her, since Thursday was her debut and swan song all wrapped into one. Kathleen Parker, writing in The National Review, characterized Palin as “the affable, tough, determined pit-bull hockey mom, back with a jaw-jutting, happy-warrior vengeance.” Parker went on to opine that Palin’s game plan was to avoid questions to which she hadn’t memorized the prepared answers that her handlers provided. Since the Thursday debate didn’t provide a lot of negative material for Parker, she spent a fair amount of time (and words) exhuming the Katie Couric interview in which Palin, admittedly, fell victim to Couric’s attempt to save her television job by playing “Miss Blindsider” throughout much of the questioning.

Then there was Linda Hirshman and her post mortem in The Nation. Sarah Palin, according to Hirshman, on Thursday became “The Rules Girl.” That appellation comes from a book published several years ago by Ellen Fein that postulated that “men are simple, attracted to sexual symbols, and bright, shiny objects.” Palin fit all those requirements, according to Hirshman’s baffling analysis, because Palin “wore a suit of amazingly iridescent material, and she sported an eye-popping sparkly rhinestone flag pin.”

Apparently there is something about Sarah Palin’s appearance and demeanor that touches off the most malicious and spiteful remarks made under the cover of suavity by the female reviewers. The male column writers took a different tack. Paul Campos in the Rocky Mountain News penned what he thinks is the ultimate put-down: “Sarah Palin has spent almost her whole life in a very small town in a sparsely populated and extremely isolated state. For reasons that remain obscure, she attended five colleges in six years where she seems to have learned nothing.” And what does this portion of Palin’s resume mean, in Campos’ mind? Folks, it means, in his words, that “Palin is the ultimate representative of a kind of out-of-control populism.”

Excuse me professor Campos (he teaches law at the University of Colorado), but we are lucky that these “out-of-control citizens” aren’t tearing down the walls of most government buildings in Washington – as well as the structures of those unaware news organizations publishing and broadcasting such tripe. The out-of-control populist is most likely out-of-a-job. He/she may have already lost their home, savings, retirement benefits, health care benefits, and hope for the future. They can thank the elite class that holds public office for most of these tribulations. All of whom, it should be added, were not born with extensive knowledge of economics, foreign policy, or leadership. These are acquired traits, and Sarah Palin is in the process of acquiring them, although time is the enemy in this case, not necessarily native intelligence. Yet we all know how much time academics such as Campos spend looking down their noses at the unwashed public.

There has even been a spate of activity by the detractors of Sarah Palin, recommending that she withdraw from the ticket, or that John McCain should drop her. Kathleen Parker, mentioned earlier, chirped that she agrees Palin should indeed surrender her nomination for the sake of the party. “I’ve gotten 8,000 emails,” Parker said, “ranging from angry to vicious. Thank God somebody spoke up.”

To drop Palin now, after she has gained the enthusiastic support of many Americans, would be political suicide for McCain. Some believe he has already committed it by not nominating a stronger candidate. One doesn’t need a long memory to recall what happened to George McGovern when he deep-sixed Tom Eagleton – or the fate of George Bush the elder when he publically considered casting out Dan Quayle.

The polls and surveys continue to show Barack Obama in the lead, and unless the Democrats can ferret out some truly devastating dirt on him or Joe Biden, there will be a lot of desks and lockers being cleaned out in Washington over the Christmas holidays. Sarah Palin will return to Alaska, having won a very special place in the hearts of her constituents. John McCain will serve out his time as a revered senior senator and true war hero, and make a lot of money on the lecture circuit – not that he needs it so long as people continue to drink beer.

– CHASE HAMIL

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