You know what’s giving this presidential campaign a bad name?
Partisan politics.

It really is.

And for some reason too many people in this society aren’t offended when the candidates distort one another’s positions on the issues, smear each other’s reputations or question his or her opponent’s patriotism.

For some reason we’re disappointed if the candidates don’t excite us, as well as inform us. Indeed, too many of us, including notable pundits, were eager to declare Gov. Sarah Palin victorious in her debate against Sen. Joe Biden last week, mainly because she was perky. Evidently, perky trumps presidential.

Didn’t matter that she disregarded questions that required some knowledge and thought, gave the vice-president’s office powers it doesn’t have, and acted as if she was a contestant in a popularity contest, not a candidate for the nation’s second highest office. As conservative columnist Kathleen Parker said recently, “Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there.”

MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan, however, hailed Palin as the Republican Party’s savior, declaring her the winner of last week’s debate by a landslide. You don’t even have to listen to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other members of the far right crowd to know that they, too, endorse Palin for President, which is what GOP nominee Sen. John McCain in essence did when he named her his running mate.

Once in a while, even hardcore conservatives or leftwing liberals – resist the temptation to follow the partisan crowd when it strays too far off the beaten path. Conservative columnists Parker and George F. Will did just that when they said publicly what so many clear thinking people already knew: that Sarah Palin isn’t qualified to be president of these United States. Parker and Will ought to be thanked and admired for their courage and honesty.

At this late stage, McCain isn’t likely to throw his running mate under the bus. Despite the political damage, he’ll take another hit on his questionable judgment and live with his choice. Which means, of course, that partisan politics also trumps McCain’s latest slogan, Country First.