-------------------------------------------------------------Fox News reported Wednesday evening that Sarah Palin's lack of knowledge on some topics also strained relations with the McCain campaign. Carl Cameron reported that campaign sources told him Palin had resisted coaching before her faltering Katie Couric interviews; did not understand that Africa was a continent rather than a country; and could not name the three nations that are part of the North American Free Trade Agreement -- the United States, Canada and Mexico.
For weeks, the McCain-Palin campaign has dealt with the fallout from the disclosure that the Republican National Committee was billed for $150,000 in wardrobe purchases for the Palin family -- a discovery that was widely ridiculed and undercut Palin's hockey mom appeal.
Several McCain aides said they had recently discovered that Palin's traveling staff had used personal credit cards to spend as much as $20,000 to $30,000 on additional wardrobe items for Palin after news broke about the purchases.
Palin and her press aides could not be reached for comment.
Think about what this means, and what almost happened to this country.
Frankly, the people who knew this about her and were still directly responsible for "vetting" her, putting her on the ticket, attempting to foist this idiot on the American people, and protecting her while there was still a chance (however theoretical) that she could become Vice President and possibly President of the United States ought to be arrested and tried for treason.
We used to think that having debates was an adequate way of gauging performance for our candidates, even though the realities of television have turned them into staged dog and pony shows these days. But even just as a measure of whether a candidate could mouth correct-ish, truthy-sounding answers, they still retained some value -- even as Palin failed even that ridiculously dumbed-down test. We were willing to live with the faked-for-television debate framework because it was always premised on the assumption that the candidates shared with most Americans a common base of cultural and political knowledge that any competent person could automatically be credited with, simply by virtue of having successfully grown to adulthood as an American, and presumably having gone through some sort of educational process, formal or otherwise.
Now it turns out that we would have been better off evaluating at least our Vice Presidential candidates by putting them on Jeopardy! Or in this case, even The Tonight Show's "Jaywalking" segment would have been sufficient.
Here we were trying to evaluate Palin's ability to explain the Republican ticket's economic plans, when she may never even have known how many pennies were in a dollar, or who the faces on the bills were. We jumped right past basic grammar school evaluations, because the gravity of the office McCain was contending for is one that has always caused Americans to automatically assume that the candidates would have enough respect to actually prepare to take on that mantle before challenging for the seat, and because we've always assumed that as much as we disagreed with the other party, it could at least be trusted to act in its own best interest by nominating a ticket that wouldn't be disqualified on its face, or be laughed out of the country for lack of even the most basic knowledge about who we are and what we're about as a country. Including such trivia as, say, the names of the countries we border.
This is why the GOP continues to fail, and has been marginalized into a regional party.
John McCain should never live this down.