The wrong metaphor for the occasion

THE WRONG METAPHOR FOR THE OCCASION…. One of the more memorable moments in Sarah Palin’s ridiculous announcement yesterday came when she compared herself to a point guard.

“Let me go back quickly to a comfortable analogy for me — sports, basketball. And I use it because you are naive if you don’t see a full-court press from the national level picking away right now. A good point guard, here’s what she does. She drives through a full court press, protecting the ball, keeping her head up because she needs to keep her eye on the basket. And she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can win.

“And that is what I’m doing — keeping our eye on the ball that represents sound priorities — you remember they include energy independence and smaller government and national security and freedom! And I know when it’s time to pass the ball for victory.”

Putting aside the fact that this is pretty awful writing, the comparison comes up short in a couple of important ways. First, as John Weaver, a former senior strategist for John McCain, noted, “Good point guards don’t quit and walk off the floor if the going gets tough. Today’s move falls further into the weirdness category; people don’t like a quitter.”

And second, if Palin still has national ambitions, and I think she does, what kind of message is this for a would-be president? The president, facing “a full-court press from the national level,” will just “pass the ball” when the heat is on?

For months, I’ve heard complaints from political professionals that Palin and her team aren’t just amateurs, they’re too green to even realize they’re amateurs. But in this case, the outgoing governor would have been wise to ask a professional to maybe give her speech a once-over.

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Steve Benen

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.