David Letterman probably did the best job last night so far of demonstrating how much of a trainwreck the McCain campaign has become over the last couple of weeks, and the extent to which the Sarah Palin nomination is a contributing factor. It's as simple as asking the question: if McCain had to suspend his campaign and cancel his appearance on Letterman's show to fly to Washington and deal with the economy, then why couldn't the campaign simply have sent Sarah Palin as a substitute?
Now, I realize that this segment is unfair in some ways. Why do we assume, for instance, that Palin did not have other commitments and couldn't be freed up to do Letterman's show? But the simple fact is that John McCain brought this upon himself by choosing a running mate who is grossly unqualified. It doesn't help that Palin is completely out of her league when doing interviews with anyone other than a partisan hack like Sean Hannity. It doesn't help that the campaign has been cearfully shielding Palin from the press, ensuring that she gets as little unscripted TV time as possible. It doesn't help that three weeks after the GOP convention, Palin has still not given a press conference. And it certainly doesn't help that McCain's campaign spokesmen spent the first few days after the convention telling reporters that they had no intention of making Sarah Palin available to the press for interviews.
When you do all that, it is perfectly legitimate for the host of one of the most widely viewed evening TV interview programs, the heir to Johnny Carson's office, to wonder why it was that the vice presidential nominee, who is supposed to step in and take over for the 72 year old McCain should he die or become incapacitated, could not be offered up as a substitute in time of crisis.