Sean Quinn's analogy between Sarah Palin and a hockey goon has been stirring my thinking on the matter. Especially the last part of his piece, where he points out that a goon is only as good as her [sic] line:
... Successful agitator Kris Draper of the Detroit Red Wings had the clutch Steve Yzerman for a lot of years. That worked. Detroit won Cups. They had parades.
Successful agitator Tyson Nash, when he was on my Blues, was stuck with the antithesis of playoff clutch, the easily thrown-off-his-game Keith Tkachuk. That didn’t work. No Cup. Even if Palin is successful in her task of agitation and distraction, which one is John McCain?
So Sean is apparently taking some comfort (or maybe just a professional interest) in the idea that McCain might not be able to capitalize on the chaos his goon has stirred up.
I had a couple of thoughts proceeding from this:
- It's not entirely true. Hockey history (particularly in the US, where we love our goons) is full of teams who've leveraged goonish behavior to push teams of mediocre talent to the fore. The '70s Flyers are probably the paradigmatic case; I don't know hockey history well enough to cite other examples, but I remember lots of conversations about this from my hockey-fan friends. So the McCain-Palin electoral analogy would be that the Republican machine has the most incredible goon squad we've seen in American national politics since the 19th century. They're really really good at it.
- Not directly related: How do you fight a goon? Why, with other goons, of course! This is the point where the Obama camp needs to organize its surrogates well and surreptitiously to go out there and goon it up on the goons. Since this is verbal combat, "naming the behavior" will be critically important: The cleverer equivalent of "I know you are, but what am I?" It's astonishingly applicable in this case. Attack: "Barack Obama is enslaved to earmarks" Retort: "I know you are, but what am I?" (Except, well, not "I". You get the idea, though.) See how the Earmark Queen deals with that.