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More Pre-game Armchair Quarterbacking

October 2, 2008

This time from Jennifer Rubin of Pajamas via RCP:

First, she needs to take it to her opponent on what is supposed to be Joe Biden’s greatest strength: foreign policy. She’s no Henry Kissinger but she can remind viewers that Biden championed the unworkable Iraq partition idea and opposed the surge. But it is in Biden’s criticism of Barack Obama that she might really score points. Biden after all inveighed against Obama’s vote to cut off funding for the troops in Iraq and was critical of his promise to meet unconditionally with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Between Biden and Obama they have supported just about every bad national security idea (e.g., opposition to Kyl-Lieberman, endless talks with Iran, opposition to FISA) in the last eight years. Palin can make that point.

Second, she should use Biden’s “higher taxes are patriotic” to do what McCain didn’t do enough of in his own debate: hone in on the dangers of a tax increase during a recession and suggest that if Obama is really bent on all that domestic spending many more people than the “rich” will get a tax hike. Why, with the Fed and Treasury madly trying to pump liquidity into the private sector, would Obama suck it back out with a tax hike? It’s illogical and bad economics.

Third, she needs to pin the “insider” label back on the Obama-Biden ticket. There are plenty of earmarks to point to — both by Biden and by Obama (nearly a billion in just the few years he has been there). But the real looming issue is why neither of them set about blowing the whistle on the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae fiasco in the making. It was the Obama-Biden duo and their Democratic allies who took gobs of money from Freddie and Fannie and then blocked any meaningful reform. If all else fails, Palin should give viewers directions to view this film detailing the willful indifference, and indeed obstructionism, of the Democrats. Or she can quote Bill Clinton for the proposition that the Democrats have a lot to answer for. In short, she needs to use the platform of the debate to tie the Obama-Biden ticket to their Congressional colleagues and, in turn, to the debacle of Congressional mismanagement and malfeasance.

Fourth, she can talk with authority on energy policy. Why do the Democrats oppose domestic drilling and why aren’t we developing resources at home rather than importing oil, which for the foreseeable future will be a vital part of our energy supply? And yes, it is probably a good idea to bring up that clean coal gaffe.

And, finally, on a stylistic level Palin needs to get into the weeds and show some familiarity, not just with catchphrases, but with the particulars of McCain’s own program. As for her lack of foreign policy experience, she should be frank: all she has to offer is judgment, belief in a foreign policy based on the principles enunciated by Ronald Reagan, and a determination to take whatever measures are needed to prevail in the war on terror. (She might even use her newness to the national scene to her advantage: “I’m new at this Joe but I fail to see why Osama bin Laden should be given habeas corpus rights when not even the Nazis at Nuremberg got those protections.”)

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