THEY’RE RUNNING OUT OF ARGUMENTS…. Republicans have had about three days now to come up with a defense for John McCain picking Sarah Palin as his running mate. So far, it’s been a daunting challenge, with most of the major arguments falling apart under scrutiny.

First, Palin was qualified for national office because she opposed the infamous “bridge to nowhere.” That turned out to be false. Second, Palin was qualified because she lives in a state near Russia. That turned out to be dumb. Third, Palin was qualified because she supported the president’s “surge” policy in Iraq. That turned out to be false.

Yesterday, the new top-of-the-list talking point is that Palin is the “commander in chief” of the Alaska National Guard. This was popular with the some conservatives on Friday, but by yesterday, “It was hard to keep track of how many Republicans on Sunday morning referred to Gov. Sarah Palin as ‘commander in chief’ of the Alaska National Guard.”

But this doesn’t stand up well to scrutiny, either.

Maj. Gen. Craig Campbell, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, considers Palin “extremely responsive and smart” and says she is in charge when it comes to in-state services, such as emergencies and natural disasters where the National Guard is the first responder.

But, in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, he said he and Palin play no role in national defense activities, even when they involve the Alaska National Guard. The entire operation is under federal control, and the governor is not briefed on situations.

I’m sure they’ll think of a compelling talking point one of these days. They’re just not there yet.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.