Ever since the MSNBC host's denunciation of a Tim James TV ad catapulted James to superstar status in the Alabama GOP gubernatorial primary, the Rachel Maddow Threshold (RMT) has become the new gold standard in conservative campaign advertising.
In one of the delicious ironies of the Obama Age, Republican consultants are conspiring feverishly to produce TV commercials that exceed the RMT and get their candidates condemned on the Liberal Network No One Ever Watches.
All of which is to explain why Dale Peterson is now odds-on favorite to become the nation's most famous candidate for state agriculture commissioner. At the gossip site Gawker, Adrien Chen says: "This spot . . . makes James look like a gay Commie terrorist."
Last night I watched the latest episode of The Apprentice: Celebrity Edition. I have been pulled into the series this year largely because of the compelling finishes where The Donald lectures celebrities about their work habits and managerial ineptness. Dennis Rodman has been a draw because of his incredibly bad behavior.
This was Dennis’ week. His teammates chose him to be the project manager because they hoped he would rise to the challenge if he was running things. It worked, for a short while, then he drank enough to go past caring. First, he got angry. Then, he absented himself from the project he was supposed to direct.
Let's try to remember that this hacktastic spin came from McCain's campaign and their supporters, and Palin willingly went along in making this farcical claim on more than one occasion. It is now supposed to be evidence of journalistic misconduct to make the mistake of taking the campaign's own idiotic statements as though they were serious. Duly noted. Whenever the McCain campaign claims anything about either candidate, we should assume that it is equally nonsensical and give it no credence.
Quin: You chide Palin for too often straying from the question, but I think she did that brilliantly on one of the two issues you urge McCain to exploit: gay marriage. Gwen Ifill tried to corner her regarding gay rights; having already commented on that, she turned Ifill's gotcha effort immediately around by returning to the matter of gay marriage, which she reiterated she opposed, just as Joe Biden had just said he does.
This episode brought out why Palin had a fine night: it captured her competitiveness and thus essential toughness. And she did it smilingly. It was a huge relief for her to be her unfiltered self.
Remember too that this was television above all. She looks great. She and the camera get along. Biden more often than not looked irked and never did find the camera -- with eyes that looked surgically repaired.
My one regret is that Palin can't combine her folksiness with better syntax. In any case, the real loser tonight was the drive-by media, as a liberated Palin was again back being herself -- "the Sarah we really know," as one friend of hers just said on Fox.