Me, I'm a really crummy chess player. I like to play what I call the bloodbath strategy: set up the board as much in my favor as possible and then start a bloodbath, hoping that when it's over I'll have more pieces than the other guy.
I'm not sure yet whether John McCain is playing a crafty game or just stirring things up and hoping for the best, but he has totally changed the game with the Palin nomination.
For one thing, it is preoccupying everybody. She wants Alaska to secede from the union! She's white trash with a pregnant teen daughter! McCain's sloppy vetting of her shows he's unfit to serve! She is less qualified to be veep than the night janitor at Dunkin' Donuts! She wants to allow rapists to pick the mothers of their children! She doesn't believe in dinosaurs!
Of course none of those things are true so she may come out looking pretty good. But the main thing is that it's all we're talking about this week. Nobody's interested in how many died in Iraq today or the latest decline in economic indicators. It's Palin, Palin, Palin.
Did McCain do this on purpose to deflect attention from his weaknesses - or is he as surprised as the rest of us? And more importantly, is it helping him to have everyone preoccupied with salacious scandal?
Perhaps the strategy (if there is any) is to let Democrats go nuts for a week or two making wild allegations, and then to wow everyone with some great presentation that addresses all the non-issues. The goal could be to change the momentum: get everyone off-track on issues that can't be sustained, and then bring them up short.
Do you think I'm reading too much into this? Don't forget: we still haven't figured out how the Republicans won the last two presidential elections.