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Let's go back to October 2, 2008 and revisit the Vice Presidential debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. This is one of the most important and serious moments in the career of a politician. During this short time, the candidate must impress upon the American people that he or she is capable of assuming the duties of the President in the case of an emergency.

Now we get to meet Sarah Palin, a neophyte on the national stage, who had nevertheless helped John McCain obtain his first lead in presidential polling only a few short weeks before, after her selection, and again during the Republican convention. Seeing that lead evaporate, though, and then having a bit of an embarrassing time in an interview with Katie Couric, Governor Palin was charged with rebutting questions about her fitness and with appearing Presidential in the debate.

So, of course, her plan devolved into winking at the television audience. This may be an effective strategy during the interview portion of a beauty pageant, but after all, Palin was applying for a position that had seen the likes of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Adlai Stevenson, Lyndon Johnson, Harry Truman, Hubert Humphrey and Theodore Roosevelt. She winked to the cameras at least five times.      

Specifically, and to my point, there was a moment in that debate in which Palin was asked directly about her plans if the unthinkable happened and she became President of the United States. The moderator, Gwen Ifill, actually used the "heartbeat away" language for this question. Sarah Palin had a big grin on her face seconds into answering and then she winked at her TV audience at 1:06:40 of this video. Here's a screengrab of that wink:

                 palinwink

I was listening closely to that debate and cringed as I had never cringed before regarding a politician's conduct on the national stage. I knew that the question was about whether her 72-year-old running mate might die during the next four years, and then I saw a big smile and a wink during Palin's response to the question. There was some hue and cry about Palin's winking, but, for example, CNN ran an article the next day omitting that detail, calling her "folksy" and noting:

On the question of the candidates' qualifications to assume the presidency, 87 percent of those polled said Biden is qualified and 42 percent said Palin is qualified.
All Sarah Palin had to do was to act Presidential for a little under 90 minutes.

Mitt Romney had to act Presidential for a little over 9 minutes.

He failed, and a crap-storm of well-deserved flak for his statements on Libya and Egypt rained down on him. Romney only had to be Presidential for a little over 9 minutes, and, instead, he had had his "Palin Moment." (I would argue that he only had to seem "nominational" at his partisan convention, and that this was the first time he was called upon to act Presidential.) His statement deserved to be attacked because of the lies involved, the political attack without the facts during a time of mourning and alert, and because Romney had inserted himself into a delicate situation in a buffoonish way, not knowing what damage he might do.

Jed Lewison did a great series of articles on the front page showing how Mitt Romney had decided to smirk and gloat his way through a press conference about the deaths in Libya. Hunter sealed the deal in his own must-read, inimitable way in a piece entitled, "The Romney Smirk." I wanted to confirm the pictures Jed Lewison published of the Romney touchdown dance ... using screengrabs of the official Fox News video. Besides the following three screengrabs, there were other instances during the video in which Romney seemed to be enjoying himself:

romney172

romney171

romney170

Mitt Romney managed to one-up Sarah Palin in the ability to look un-Presidential on the national stage. In successive campaigns, Republican nominees have set consecutive new lows in demeanor and behavior in government. Here's an AP photo of Romney leaving the press conference yesterday:

romney174

romney173

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Comment Preferences

  •  This diary started out as a comment ... (7+ / 0-)

    ... in the Obama Nightly News last night. JoanMar provided an excellent addendum detailing how Romney and Palin both reacted hideously to the national spotlight, but because of very different reasons.

    If you can afford a donation to the President's campaign, please help keep Romney away from the White House:

    Goal Thermometer

    I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

    by Tortmaster on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:19:28 AM PDT

  •  Fox News can hire Mitt in November too (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JoanMar, Vayle, 2thanks, nomandates

    Yea ...
    Fox News is the refuge for failed Republican Presidential Candidates. People like Newt, Sarah, Huckabee ... they all got hired by Fox, after their failure to win the nomination.
    I can't even see Mitt on TV with any audience at all, the man is so boring ...

    Don't forget to register to vote here: http://netrootsradio.blogspot.com/p/register-to-vote.html

    by bepanda on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:22:03 AM PDT

  •  Mitt: a spoiled, smug, self absorbed Bastard. ns (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KHKS, JoanMar

    -6.38, -6.21: Lamented and assured to the lights and towns below, Faster than the speed of sound, Faster than we thought we'd go, Beneath the sound of hope...

    by Vayle on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:25:16 AM PDT

    •  What level of self-absorption must ... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JoanMar, Vayle, 2thanks, Dirk McQuigley

      ... you reach to react on stage, during a national crisis, like that? Teenagers learn not to laugh or smirk during funeral services. Children learn to behave during church services. What happened to Mitt?  

      I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

      by Tortmaster on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:33:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Mitt is so self absorbed, no one is his equal. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JoanMar

        He's still that same private school bully, thinking a cheap shot will give him what he is so sure he deserves.

        He grew up 'privileged', and that privileged status is something that is at his very core as a person.

        When he talks to people, he's talking down to them and he can not begin to fathom how those lesser than he do not simply acknowledge his superiority and give him exactly what he deserves.

        How dare these common people expect him to explain anything. How dare anyone criticize him for not being able to connect with people. He granted them the gift of his very presence and his barely tolerant attitude of these people who are beneath him comes across negatively to them, but he thinks they should be groveling because he showed up.

        Mitt just wants to show up. That's all he's really had to do to succeed. Show up, find a way to screw over business after business, family after family, and now he thinks that kind of 'success' warrants the office of the presidency for himself.

        He's a sad little boy who won't be getting his pony for Christmas just because he showed up.

        Mittens, the poorest little rich boy, ever.

        -6.38, -6.21: Lamented and assured to the lights and towns below, Faster than the speed of sound, Faster than we thought we'd go, Beneath the sound of hope...

        by Vayle on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:44:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Mitt was in a car accident in France in 1968. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JoanMar

        No seat belts at that time. On-the-scene rescuers thought he was dead. He was in a coma. Not just a concussion. A coma. For days. No MRIs, no Rehabilitation Medicine. The medical and mental repercussions of comas tend to gradually worsen over time. Think Muhammad Ali and football players.

        But Romney had started off with a bullying personality. The bullying, the derogatory sense of humor and comments, the job destroying ... those are all features of a personality.

        Whether it is autism spectrum, sociopathic personality, or long-term effects of closed head injury, the grooming of family and tribe to be the first Mormon President, a combination of these, or something else, I have no way to know.

        I am angry at him and afraid of him becoming President, and so I am working harder than I ever had on this presidential campaign.

        Given the nature of his injuries, I would like the debate questions to include the Three-Word Delayed Recall Exercise and the Coin-Counting Exercise. To be fair, I think President Obama should answer the same questions, on stage. Since the debaters might know about these questions in advance, the Coin-Counting Exercise could be adapted to prevent memorization of the number 41, for instance, by setting the exercise up as two of each coin, rather than only one.

        Dear Kossacks,

        If you would like to campaign for President Obama but have very little time, you could merely Tip and Recommend our Obama Nightly News diaries, which are published every evening at 9 pm EST. They are informative, funny, and often include recent videos and pictures of Obama.

        •  Thanks, 2thanks! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          2thanks, JoanMar

          Love your outside-the-box idea for debate questions. Why not have complete medical and physical examinations as well? The candidates would have to sign waivers, and the reports would be part of the public record. We're dealing with nuclear weapons and wars here, and that's something a sane society, I think, would look into. Many jobs require physical and/or mental exams. Heck, I had to pass a standardized test and "strip down" to get into the Army!

          If the Republican party continues to nominate people like Romney and Palin for Executive Office, that's something we should push. (It also goes to the recent frame of Republican bat-shit-crazyism -- i.e. they're crazy and they brought these new procedures on themselves.).

          I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

          by Tortmaster on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:36:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  P.S. I mean ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            2thanks, JoanMar

            ... IME's or Independent Medical Evaluations, and not just the family doctor from the candidate's hometown. Doctors can be co-opted, kind of like blind trusts can be "a ruse," as Romney would say.

            I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

            by Tortmaster on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:40:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The advantage of having a debate moderator ask (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JoanMar

            these questions is that it would not involve excruciating negotiations with campaign staff, selection of psychologists to administer an IME, personal privacy, HIPAA, etc.

            On national television. Boom, it's done. 2 minutes total. Ask them not to write it down. For the five-minute recall, ask a substantive question in the middle.

            I agree with you, Tortmaster, that in the long term, we should require candidates to undergo evaluations, as we are hiring them. I had to have a physical in my teens to work as a janitor. I had an induction physical too. We are hiring a President. We deserve to know.

        •  this is worse than Reagan with Alzheimer's. n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          2thanks
  •  Somewhere out there (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JoanMar, Vayle

    is a picture of Sarah Palin smirking after her quitter speech. Walking away thinking she totally nailed it - if you recall, it was the biggest word salad babbling nightmare of a soliloquy ever broadcast on national tv. Not so incredible, she had the exact same expression that Mitt gave yesterday.

  •  After her failing performance, 42% of those polled (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JoanMar, Vayle

    still though Ms. Sara was ready to assume the presidency if needed? Where does one find these people? No wonder the US is in the shape it is in today. Sheesh!

    •  Yes. I found that as amazing ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... as CNN not remarking about her winking to the camera. "Folksy" now equals Hooters Girl? The 42% polling number came after the winking during the VP debate, after the Couric meltdown (no knowledge of newspapers or Supreme Court decisions), after the Gibson interview (What Bush Doctrine, Charlie?) and during Trooper-gate.

      Optimistically, I'd say that there's a reason 42% of Americans are in the shape they're in today!

      I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

      by Tortmaster on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 06:20:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Come to think of it, he has been (0+ / 0-)

    actively preparing for those 9 minutes for over 6 years.
    Those 9 minutes could have made him. Could have made his Ann our FLOTUS. Instead they unmasked him.

    •  Hey Joan! I love your "unmasked" comment ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      2thanks, JoanMar

      ... here as well. I think it is perfectly appropriate. He let his mask slip off all over the place during a 9-minute time-span. Kids can sit through 50 minutes of Church on Sunday, but Mitt ....  It was revealing, to say the least.

      I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

      by Tortmaster on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 06:32:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent diary, Tortmaster. (0+ / 0-)

    Nice recap of yesterday's diaries on this topic.

    The Sarah Palin wink has bothered me a lot, ever since I saw the Rich Lowry "reaction" to it.

    But your comment really hit home on why it was so distressing:

    Palin was applying for a position that had seen the likes of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Adlai Stevenson, Lyndon Johnson, Harry Truman, Hubert Humphrey and Theodore Roosevelt.
    And Mitt Romney and his smirk have no business anywhere near the Oval Office.

    Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

    by JanF on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 06:14:32 AM PDT

  •  You should add the following image taken (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JoanMar

    about 30 minutes later....

    President Obama and Secretary Clinton address events in Libya

    It's an incredibly stark contrast.

    draw a window on the wall to remind you of the silkrain that makes things grow - Yoko Ono

    by quinn on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 06:30:19 AM PDT

  •  SNL is going to skewer the shit out of him!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 06:54:26 AM PDT

  •  a clip from Hardball on Palin that is great (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rashaverak

    Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    •  Sarah Palin is Mitt Romney's guru. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Olympia

      I caught the end of this segment live, but missed the really strange stuff at the top end. Thanks, Olympia!

      I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

      by Tortmaster on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:24:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  why not move this clip into the body of (0+ / 0-)

        your diary.  It is too good for anyone to miss.  Love to __ on this woman's parade whenever I can.  

        Reagan's description of her followers, you know, the ones with the red noses is just so bang-on.

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