Will They Unleash Palin?
By: Mark W Adams

Palin is ready for her close-up
Palin Meets The Press
I think the more we get to know Sarah Palin, the more we see what disastrous judgment McCain has. Facing an economic crisis that's unprecedented in the memory of the vast majority of the electorate is inherently different than any national security decisions a president could make -- especially if circumstances require a President Palin to make those decisions.

She would not have the option of unleashing the Pentagon, relying on the expertise and professionalism of history's most powerful military to protect us from the enemy. No. As we saw in the horrific response to Katrina, when you invest most of the nation's resources in the Defense Department for decades, of course it's the most if not the only competent organ of government. We don't have anything resembling a Pentagon analog in the FED and Treasury who have been erratic at best over the last two years as the Wall Street collapse and credit crunch developed.

The dynamics of the government's response requires a fundamental shift, a leader who can identify the pitfalls of that new direction, and a leader who can inspire the confidence of the public to follow that path. Sarah Palin cannot command the authority needed to turn this around and John McCain's wisdom in picking her is beyond suspect. Indeed, selecting Palin reinforces our lack of confidence in McCain's competence to address something he repeatedly admits that he doesn't know a whole heckuvalot about, the economy.

Ultimately our economy rests on confidence. "In God We Trust" is more than just a motto, trust being the operative word. Like it also says on our currency, it is backed by the "full faith and credit of the United States." When the public loses faith, the economy is in trouble. A president cannot simply snap his or her fingers and command action in the domestic arena as they can with the national security apparatus. They have to bring the people along for the ride.

So back to the question, will they let Palin hold press conferences, sit down live with the Sunday talking heads, unleash her? I think they should. Not that it won't be disastrous for the McCain campaign. But frankly, the damage has been done there. The narrative that she is a bit ditzy but likable, uninformed but charming, unable to think on her feet but is a quick study is set, at least for this election. At this point, it couldn't hurt any more.

For good or bad, Sarah Palin will be a national figure in the country for the next decade, at least in Republican circles. Essentially she's been in an intensive school on campaigning, on debating, but not leading. If she is to evolve as a politician, she really must step up to the mike. There simply is no simulation that can make her competent to answer the complex questions we as a nation face. You only learn that by doing.

That she will fail now is certain. But in the end, what damage will be done? Are they keeping her under wraps merely to stop the bleeding, so that she won't be exposed as more of a neophite?  How does one become more new. 

Look, we already know Tina Fey is more ready for prime time than Palin. If that perception is solidified, it really can't hurt McCain's dwindling chances any more. Not only might she surprise, she certainly will grow as a leader, a politician that can say she's been tried through fire and survived. And if she flames out, so be it. Better now than later once her myth explodes in the coming years and expectations for her are higher, since they cannot sink any lower than they are now.

She seems eager enough, and once the election is over she'll never have this kind of opportunity again -- until it counts, when she tries to get the 2012 nomination and flames out spectacularly because she wasted the opportunity to learn the ropes today.  Besides, desperate time call for desperate measures, and McCain isn't one to just let four weeks go by before the election and not try another stunt to shake up the race and gamble -- cuz that just the kinda Mavericky guy he is.

Come on McMaverick, make my day.  There must be at least one main street journalist who can relate to her folksy style.