Governor Palin is greeting John McCain at the Minneapolis airport right now! Exciting! She's going to address the Republican National Convention tonight! This is great, because there was a small danger that Vinegar Joe Lieberman and the proper start of the RNC would quiet the nonstop over-the-top Palin coverage that's had the national press in a hilarious tizzy for a week. But this morning brought more front-page stories of McCain campaign incompetence and additional and more insane conspiracy theories, and with a speech from Palin tonight, we can guarantee that Palin coverage will continue unabated for the rest of the week. So what shall we expect from here? Some thoughts and predictions: Unless bloggers and enterprising commenters come up with actual evidence of weird natal misdeeds, their investigations will likely lead to just another MSM crisis about how the "bloggers" are devious and evil. Especially because the conspiracies are getting so dark. As far as we know, the story as it's currently postulated is that a) Palin covered up for her daughter Bristol's first pregnancy, and then Bristol either got knocked up again immediately afterwards or she's faking this pregnancy; or b) that Palin was indeed pregnant and her amniocentesis followed by her insane and inexplicable schedule the day of Trig's birth are proof that Palin was trying to cause a miscarriage. This is weird and horrible stuff and the very act of suggesting it will make respectable people queasy. But hey, it's out there! The "blog conspiracy theories", as cable people are surely already calling them, will make these responsible journalists (pls add own scare quotes) probably less likely to do their own digging into and speculating on the story of Baby Trig. Families: off-limits! (That reductive construction is a facile and childish simplification of issues that are newsworthy and even related to actual policy- and decision-making but whatever. The press doesn't want to look bad beating up supermom.) Soon the "the press is victimizing Sarah Palin" narrative will ramp up even further. Already poor Clarence Page got in trouble for calling Governor Palin a nice "young lady." That is mildly condescending, yes, but sexist? "Lady" is a bit old fashioned, maybe, but Lieberman just referred to the Democratic party nominee for president—a black man, btw—as "an eloquent and gifted young man" in a speech before the Republican National Convention on primetime television last night. And no one but TNR noticeed or cared. But this speech tonight! It was just explicitly spelled out on MSNBC: "the bar is not very high." Everyone will be pleasantly surprised at how well she does, how she's a breath of fresh air, how she is so much better than the terrible old white men of the Republican party. Unless she accidentally makes some huge factual fuck-up, like talking about that damned bridge to nowhere again. But they are probably being careful about that. The media has most likely dug up every salient detail there is to find about Troopergate and her early political career, and now it's up to Obama's people to exploit those, but where it may still get interesting is in the celebrity media. Specifically with Levi Johnston. The campaign will be dragging Levi to the RNC tonight, and presumably this shotgun wedding will go on as planned, but there are rumblings, already, that Levi is a brickheaded young thug who's maybe knocked up girls before, whose parents don't approve of this foolishness, and we've even heard that he had to dry out in rehab before the sham wedding could take place. So we rely on the Enquirer and, to a lesser extent, Us Weekly to pursue these stories. Because honestly the families that relate to a working mother dealing with her oldest daughter's understandable mistake will surely not relate to forcing that poor girl into marrying a local drunken hoodlum, as it is no longer 1910 or something. The McCain campaign knows—and indeed has explicitly stated—that they've been totally successful in making this campaign not about "issues" (even lazily defined "issues" like "the economy" and "Iraq") but about "character" which means personality and hagiography. Palin was the perfect pick in that sense, because she's aggressively blue-collar suburban normal, but she may soon become the sort of "normal" that people can't fucking stand—your uptight god-loving neighbor who makes you look bad but can't keep her own house in order. This, against the adorable nuclear Obama family, is not a good narrative for McCain.
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