But truly the worst occurred when someone else got called on, someone who was clearly not prepared and also not prepared to admit it. With these posers, the professors were merciless. And we, who were forced to stand by helplessly next to the carnage, felt both empathy and scorn for our skewered fellow student.
When I watched Palin's interview with Katie Couric, I felt like I was back in law school again. You could hear the anxiety and confusion in Sarah Palin's voice, you could see the bewilderment on her face -- and on Katie Couric's. If you haven't seen the interview, here it is.
It would be voter malpractice to miss it.
The Palin/Biden debate is scheduled for this Thursday night. Many in the media predict more Americans will watch the VP debate than did the Presidential debate last Friday night. I think they're right. It's political reality tv. Or should I say, political humiliation tv? It will likely be a train wreck that unfolds before our very eyes. Americans know this, and they are getting the popcorn ready.
Indeed, this debate may feature the worst public humiliation in television history, worse than what happened to Perot's running mate, Col. Stockdale. Remember him? ("Who am I? Why am I here?" he asked the audience in his opening remarks, during his vice-presidential debate.)
And it will be a journalistic iteration of the Socratic method that will get her. You need only watch the Couric interview to see that. Palin said she is "ill" over the American economy. But when asked to name specific things McCain has done to step up financial regulations, which arguably could have prevented our economy's collapse, Palin told Katie she'd try to find some and "then I'll bring 'em to ya."
The moderators will be the professors. The television audience will be the mortified students who watch the flogging in real time. Joe Biden will be the gunner. The commentators will provide instant post-mortems. Results for the final exam will come in November, as decided by the voters.
Sarah Palin is in peril. Everybody knows it. And a blustering "blizzard of words," as Charlie Gibson put it, will only make matters worse for her. So far, she has not been sufficiently prepared for the media onslaught and has therefore been sequestered. To the extent she has been prepped to field the hard questions, her retention is problematic. And it is doubtful things will be much different come this Thursday. So I've given the problem a lot of thought and I think I've found a solution for Ms. Palin. One that has some historical precedent.
She needs to come charging out to the podium in a nifty pencil skirt, with a few chopsticks jabbed into her bun. When the first question is thrown at her -- no matter what it is -- she gives this prepared statement:
My fellow Americans, I join with you tonight in celebrating the accomplishments of a great man. John McCain. And I am honored to be chosen as his running mate. Am I ready to lead this country should I be promoted in a time of peril? You betcha! Learning at the feet of the master is what this country is all about, and I sit at John McCain's feet. Are there many, many things about which I know nothing? Of course. But this debate will not become "gotcha journalism."
We all know the moderators are chomping at the bit, ready to fling an obscure question my way. Last week, for instance, I was asked whether our government should impose a home foreclosure moratorium. Moratorium? Yes, I know the pundits are waiting to pounce. But no one will be pummeling me tonight.
Tonight I'm doing it my way. I'm a hockey mom who hails from Alaska. I have real executive experience. I'm proud to say I am not a foreign policy expert, or an economics wonk. And I've never been called a Washington insider. America is ready for a real person to lead this country. And John McCain and I are real people. Thank you for your support.
For the remainder of the debate, for any question she finds unsettling or difficult, she need only respond, "I will revert to my former statement." It worked like a charm for Bill Clinton. Why shouldn't it work for her, too?