Everyone is abuzz about Sarah and Joe going head-to-head tonight. As I mentioned yesterday, the ratings should be through the roof. Hell, I'm foregoing watching the Cubs v. Dodgers playoff game just to catch the hot Senator-on-Governor action.
The McCain camp has now done all they can do to limit the Palin damage. They put her through debate boot camp, they tweaked the rules to tamp down the interaction between the participants and, most importantly, they have lowered expectations so severely that Palin, if she's really careful, has a chance of coming off looking semi-plausible as a candidate.
Remember, this is someone who has just survived a three-day, intensive debate prep. She has been warned about going off message and I'm willing to bet that her warnings involved sharp raps with a ruler. Let's listen in:
DEBATE TUTOR (pretending to be moderator Gwen Ifill): "Governor Palin, what are the real dangers of a nuclear Iran?"
PALIN: "Well, Gwen, lemme tell ya: this is all about job creation..." (WHACK!) "Owww!"
TUTOR: "No, Sarah, it isn't about fucking job creation. It is about a nuclear Iran. Stay focused or I'm canceling your lunch."
PALIN: "My mooseburger!"
TUTOR: "Let's try another one... The recent financial meltdown has been blamed on a lack of sufficient regulation on Wall Street. Yet Sen. McCain has long been a supporter of deregulation. Where do you stand?"
PALIN: "I'll yell ya, Gwen. I stand with the people...."
PALIN: "The people of this great nation who are looking for a leader..."
PALIN: "A strong leader who is capable of leading this country out of these dangerous financial seas..."
PALIN: "And steer the great ship, that is America, to a port, which is financial security."
TUTOR: "All right!"
PALIN: "Because, you see, the problem with boats...."
PALIN: "...is that you never know when a new storm will come up or one of your passengers will get seasick and start barfing all over the deck..."
TUTOR: (muttering) "Damn it..."
PALIN: "...and then who pays for the mop? The bleach to get the stink out? You do, that's who..."
PALIN: "And that's why Captain McCain..." (WHACK!) "Owwwww!"
TUTOR: "Will you shut up?!?!?"
Something like that. Bet on it.