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shocker: Sarah Palin was politically ignorant

The Times Online (UK) mentions a series of articles the print version is running with excerpts from "Game Change" a gossipy book out today by John Heilemann (New York Magazine) and Mark Halperin (Time) about the characters who made up the 2008 presidential campaign. While some tabloids are reporting on John Edward's wife's ego (she is described as an "abusive, intrusive, paranoid, condescending, crazywoman"), many are finding the revelations about Sarah Palin less than shocking.

Heilemann and Halperin write: "Palin couldn't explain why North Korea and South Korea were separate nations. She didn't know what the Fed [the Federal Reserve] did. Asked who attacked America on 9/11, she suggested several times that it was Saddam Hussein. Asked to identify the enemy that her son would be fighting in Iraq, she drew a blank. Later, on the plane, Palin said to her team: 'I wish I'd paid more attention to this stuff'."

While most of us knew she was ignorant of American politics and history, half of the nation saw only a good looking, strong, soccer-mom who could stand up to the Ruskies. Excuse me, but the Russians? We're now in a war against Islamic extremism largely because we aligned ourselves with the jihadists against Russia in the 80s! Who made Osama? We did!

Her ignorance is one fault. If she was smart and had ambition, she could overcome that. Unfortunately, the authors reveal that she apparently possesses neither of these traits.

Today the authors reveal that the failures affected Mrs Palin's nerves. "Palin flew to Philadelphia to spend the next week concentrating on debate prep. The next two days were a total train wreck. Never before had Palin's team seen her so profoundly out of sorts for such a sustained period. She wasn't eating (a few small bites of steak a day, no more). She wasn't drinking (maybe half a can of Dr Pepper; no water, ever). She wasn't sleeping (not much more than a couple of hours a night, max). "The index cards were piling up by the hundreds, but Palin wasn't absorbing the material written on them. When her aides tried to quiz her, she would routinely shut down – chin on her chest, arms folded, eyes cast to the floor, speechless and motionless, lost in what those around her described as a kind of catatonic stupor."