Wednesday evening, as you know, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska will give the most important speech of her life and perhaps of John McCain's life. If Gov. Palin impresses America, the McCain campaign catches fire. If she does not, things could go south very fast.
Leading up to the speech, there has been an enormous amount of derision directed at Sarah Palin, far more than you might expect, even in this hyper-partisan age. Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal editorialized that the progressive left in America fears Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich said the same thing on "The Factor" Tuesday night.
Basically, the conservative theory is this: If Gov. Palin is successful, she will bring back traditional principles and reignite the social causes conservatives believe in. That, of course, angers the left, which wants to basically wipe out conservative beliefs. They fear a resurgence of traditional tenets. They fear what Gov. Palin could represent. So the attacks on Palin are almost unprecedented, especially in the entertainment industry.
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JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": Why not pick a woman who really has a background that could step in in case what's his name, McCain, has a heart attack? You cannot trade one vagina for another vagina.
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW": Sarah Palin is an avid hunter, an avid hunter. A vice president who likes guns. Well, what could go wrong there? Listen to this. It turns out that she and her entire family once had a chair-throwing brawl on "Jerry Springer."
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Gov. Palin announced over the weekend that her 17-year-old unmarried daughter is five months pregnant. Oh boy, you thought John Edwards was in trouble before.
BILL MAHER, HOST, "REAL TIME": I, John McCain, am the only one standing between the bloodthirsty Al Qaedas and you. But if I die, this stewardess can handle it.
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Now, the big advantage Gov. Palin has is you. Millions of Americans will be watching her Wednesday night, and she has a tremendous opportunity to sell herself as a competent, astute public official and a champion of the traditional point of view.
Mrs. Palin should devote all of her time to introducing herself. She should not attack Barack Obama. That would be foolish because at this point she doesn't have enough credibility to do that.
Again, Americans need to know as much about Mrs. Palin as possible. She should concentrate on that.
But it's a tough spot, no question. If she comes across as a braggart, that's not good. If she comes across as self-righteous, that's not good. And if she comes across as defensive, that will almost doom her in the political arena.
So you can see that Governor Palin is in a pressure situation. It will be fascinating to see if she can emerge victorious this evening.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
As you may know, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps earned a $1 million bonus from Speedo because he won those eight gold medals. Now, Phelps says he will give the money to a new foundation to promote water safety and encourage young people to swim, which of course, is a good thing. For this, Michael Phelps is a patriot.
On the pinhead friend, ABC News correspondent Terry Moran said this:
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TERRY MORAN, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Barack Obama, the son of a black man from Kenya and a white man from Kansas. Now, no matter what your politics, that is a moment for the history books.
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I'll say it is. Paging a biology teacher for Mr. Moran. Everybody makes mistakes, but tonight Terry is a pinhead.