Watching out for Palinistas

As most media-watchers know, Sarah Palin defied low expectations in last Tuesday’s Vice Presidential debate. She didn’t say anything appallingly dumb, or anything appallingly inappropriate. The problem, at least for GOP supporters, is that she didn’t say much of anything. She dutifully forewent any real engagement with moderator Gwen Ifill’s questions, instead swinging the conversation around to well-rehearsed (and details-poor) set pieces on Iraq, gay marriage, her ticket’s “maverickness,” and taxes.

You can accuse her supporters—if that’s what they are—of no such vagueness. They’ve been direct, if largely unpleasant. Local religious-affairs columnist Douglas Todd has taken a particular interest in Palin on his Vancouver Sun blog, The Search, laying out Palin’s evangelical credentials and arguing that her “Christian values” may be skin deep. And for this, Todd has had an unholy amount of vitriol aimed at him.

He writes: “When I asked if [pursuing vendettas and firing officials who crossed her] would be the behaviour of a Christian, one emailer responded: ‘You are a sad little pathetic man who does not have a shred of decency and cannot support his beliefs with the truth, so must make up ‘facts.’ Someday you will be judged for this, and I hope that day comes soon. You deserve what you get.’

Another wrote to the blog to tell me to shut up and just ask Jesus Christ for forgiveness. Otherwise, she said, ‘You are headed to Hell, the eternal Lake of Fire, originally created for Satan and his angels.’

A third called me a ‘perpetually embittered’ atheist (for the record, I’m not an atheist) who will be gnashing his teeth after McCain and Palin win the 2008 presidential elections. His advice to me: ‘Try again in 2012, Lucifer.'”

And perhaps my favorite. Todd again: “Religion and U.S. politics is a touchy subject, to be sure. That may be why many Americans have expressed their scorn that any Canadian would dare, through the borderless Internet, express opinions about it.

As one wrote to my blog: ‘Thank God (not ‘my’ god” or ‘a god,’ but THE GOD) that you troglodytes have no say in American politics (in French or English, eh). In this, the only civilized part of the American continent, we have to tolerate sub-human grunters like you Canadiots complaining about OUR President, as if anyone in your prehistoric slab of semi-paved wilderness had half the brains or balls that George W. Bush has.'”

In other news, Saturday Night Live is continuing to make a grand argument for its own cultural relevance. Tina Fey’s latest Sarah Palin spoof is top drawer. My favourite bits are her rants of stitched-together non sequiturs; this skit has a good one that ends with “…and the great Ronald Reagan.”

It’s the second Presidential debate tonight. Predictions?