Letter to the Editor in the NY Times:
To the Editor:
Re "The Palin Rebound," by David Brooks (column, Oct. 3):
As someone who teaches history, I often give essay exams, and inevitably there are students who arrive ill prepared to take the exam. These students typically adopt one of two strategies: they either construct an essay that is a torrent of words, hoping that by filling up the space I will not notice that they don't know anything (Sarah Palin's performance in the Katie Couric interviews); or they ignore the question I've asked, and answer something else they do know a little about (Ms. Palin's performance in the vice-presidential debate).
Both strategies earn an F, since neither indicates that they can tackle a crucial issue in the course.
Many of us watching the vice-presidential debate wanted to know how well Governor Palin could tackle a crucial issue facing the nation. Mr. Brooks informs us that Republicans were relieved that Sarah Palin adopted what amounts to Strategy No. 2 in the debate, and therefore avoided seeming as clueless as she did in the Couric interviews, but let me assure him (and them) that it was no more helpful in establishing her ability to be an effective vice president than Strategy No. 1.
New York, Oct. 3, 2008