Sarah Smile

Warm up Hall and Oates for Fall 2008-the McCain is picking Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Tactically speaking, this is about as close to a perfect strike as McCain could throw.  Palin’s selection will bring the GOP conservative base back into the fold (she is Pro-Life and a life member of the NRA), brings a reform flavor to the ticket, and likely provides a sure mechanism to cut the gender gap.

Democrats, both in blog comments and in blog posts have already begun to slam her as inexperienced…and frankly that is the drawback in her selection.

However, there is a bit of rocks/glass houses aspect of finding a man who has less than four years in the US Senate, has not authored of passed major legislation, talks about bi-partisanship but has done nothing to foster it, nominate him for President, and then claim Palin is inexperienced? Folks, we now have a new living definition of hutzpah.

First prediction: Short of a major factual gaffe, Palin wins the VP debate. The expectations will be so low she will almost have to exceed them. Also, the VP debate is where Joe Biden fires up a gaffe. I predict the overly glib and talkative VP candidate will try to be too clever, and maybe even sneak in a comment that is seen as condescending…and if that happens, watch that gender gap shrink oh-so-fast.

Second prediction: There is an investigation afoot in Alaska as to the circumstances Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan left the Palin administration. Some say he was fired because he refused to fire Governor Palin’s brother-in-law, who is separated from her sister and who is accused of doing more than a few bad things…like tasering his son, threatening his father-in-law, etc.

If any of this is true, it is going to make her look good. Americans like folks who stick up for their families. This isn’t old-style Louisana family corruption, where governor x punishes a vendor because he won’t do business with the governor’s brother, or something like that.

You heard it here first.

One other thing.  Governor Palin is an attractive woman.  In her younger days she even participated in beauty contests.  I don’t think that fact cuts a lot of mustard in this campaign, and the more Democrats throw out comments (double entendre or flat our) like the one from AIAW saying Palin is the “pin up girl for the Right Wing”, or calling her a “Trophy VP”…the more folks are going to think she is going to be picked on. You want to go after her experience, Cool and the Gang. No one will mind. But the more demagougic and personal the comments become, the better McCain will do.

The Palin pick is a bold selection, and perhaps was the only one that doesn’t detract somehow for McCain. Lieberman, Romney, Huckabee, etc., all brought some degree of damage.

Looks like this will be a real campaign after all…and Hall and Oates had best start warming up.


6 thoughts on “Sarah Smile

  1. Actually, when you stop and think of all the truly competent women who do have experience, both in foreign policy, national security and the national economy – women like Elizabeth Dole, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, to name just a few, you realize what a truly patronizing pick Palin is.

    I think when a lot of middle aged women, who have themselves been passed over too many times for deserved promotions and jobs, stop and think about it, there may be more resentment than you realize out there.

    I will give you that Palin is a rising star. And she is talented and has potential. But is she really ready for prime time? And if she weren’t a woman would she be the pick?

    Probably not. And after all the times Republicans have criticized the Democrats for engaging in “identity politics” how doesn’t this look like hypocritical pandering?

  2. This may have been a lot smarter than it seems on the surface, given Palin’s total lack of preparation to be President (a critical point when the President takes office at 72 years of age). We’ll see. But as a shareholder in this country, I don’t like management making decisions that put people that close to the Presidency on the hope that they might have the mettle to handle the job. McCain, a longtime hero of mine, owed the country the assurance that the person in his shadow could run the United States from the git-go. He didn’t deliver on that promise but instead selected a running mate who answered (possibly)some tactical electoral issues, appealing to demographics of women voters, right to lifers, fishermen, moose hunters, and silly men under 50 who think it might be cool to have a hot VP. I am dismayed. Instead of campaign contributions, I’m thinking of starting a fund to pay Dr. Andrew Weil to monitor every bit of food and supplements ingested by President McCain.

  3. Bwana:
    There are certain defining moments in a campaign, also in life. I believe we will all look back on today as the defining moment of the 2008 Presidential Campaign. While this prediction is not mine, I agreed when a mutual friend of ours sent it…”I think John McCain has just won this election!”
    We will know in 66 days, I hope he is right. Take care Bwana

  4. Valid points all…but:

    1. The experience argument cuts both ways. If the Democrats truly believe that a man who has served less than four years in the US Senate, half of that effertively out of DC campaigning for president is qualified to be president, then I suspect it is more than a little hypocritical to suggest that someone who has spent an equivalent time in a high level executive position and arguably accomplished much more while in office is unqualified.

    Granted, it does undercut the GOP use of the experience issue, but what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Either both sides will back off the inexperience issue, or both sides will shamelessly wail away at it.

    2. As noted elsewhere the problem with all the potential GOP VP candidates is that they all are imperfect. Palin’s burden is the experience matter. Huckabee (big spender), Romney (insincere on core GOP issues), etc., all bring some burden…Palin’s was the lesser of the bunch.

    If you had a male governor, age 44, who had engaged in massive reforms while in office and taken on the corrupt party structure, and was pro-life, a family man, a working wife who is a union member, and a long time NRA member…I think that person would be great…but he does not seem to exist.

    Palin draws back in the foundation GOP constituencies in a way other potential nominees don’t…hence no Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins.

    McCain is 73…he had to go younger to keep the ticket from being labeled the senior citizen ticket. Hutchison is 65, and Dole 72…I think you see the problem.

    An additional problem with Dole is that if you put her on the ticket you add even more layerings of “the same old thing”. Put liz on the ticket, and that means there will have been a Bush or a Dole on every GOP national ticket since 1976. An additional problem with Hutchison is that she apparently wants to run for gov of texas, and has no interest in the VP slot.

    Picking any of these women, while they are all qualified, does not put McCain any closer to winning the election. Put any of them in place of Palin, and McCain still has work to do to secure his base.

    As noted elsewhere, pandering to one is ticket balancing to another. If so, then FDR (with Garner), JFK, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama all can be accused of pandering to a geographic region, an ideological segment of the party, or balancing the experience perspective.

    It is a risky choice, absolutely…but likley necessary to have a chance of winning.

    I suspect that had McCain picked one of the usual suspects (like Dole did with Kemp in 1996 while trailing), there would be no excitement generated for the ticket, the base would still be roiled, and the fundamental dymanics McCain has to deal with (economy, Iraq, etc.) would still be trending against him.

  5. WEll, it certainly makes for interesting match-ups in the race. I admit that my being hung-up on qualifications is perhaps a little retro. I think if McCain were much younger, I wouldn’t be as concerned and would just hope the Secret Service boys and girls had their act together. All the Presidential candidates you mention chose VPs who were hard to fault being qualified to be President (Quayle was probably the worst pick in that list, but it didn’t do any harm to the Presidential candidate in 1986 – but Quayle had considerably more experience than Palin).

    My mind is not closed on this. She could be spectacular and simply an untested, but excellent candidate and inherently well-qualified to be President. I very much like the idea that she might make the GOP establishment really squirmy and put to rout some of the grab-ass pocket stuffing that goes on in the Congress on both sides of the aisle.

    My gripe is that there is no way to know. If she is qualified, it’s almost dumb luck. There’s no way to measure it now. To me. that’s an unacceptable level of risk for the United States in this time.

  6. I find it interesting that the single defense being orchestrated by the left is that “there are other woman better qualified” mentality which strikes of affirmative action or quota rhetoric to me. It implies that McCain was looking solely for a “woman” is his discourse of consideration and not a Republican who on their merits and accomplishments is a great fit to his (thats right his) message. The VP is a sidekick not the focal point, but the left will attempt to make the VP the referendum point and like they did against Quayle it could backfire big time.

    SAfter reviewing what I have seen of Gov. palin so far I think it would have been great had she been in the GOP debates last Spring. I think she would have proven her merit and polled about 10 0r 12 % or maybe could have taken some of Huckabee’s votes as well but we would have seen her on the national stage and in the end I think Sen. Mccain whould have been given even more reason to select her.

    I find it ironic that the left would champion other woman who they abslotuely oppose ideologically anyway and Meg Whitman, please.

    How many Gov.s have national security experience by the way. Did Reagan in the Cold War? Clinton in the 90’s? Bush in 2000? Certainly Bush has had failings but in totality Governors with zero foriegn policy experience have served are nation well from both sides of the aisle. I fail to see any real risk frankly.

    The reason Gov. play well is they are CEO’s/Executives with real budgets and policies unlike Senators and the policies they inact directly impact citizens on a daily basis. The are also great managers of people and resources. The left criticizes her council background and role as Mayor and yet embrace the job the Mayor doen in NOLA is doing this time around with Gustav.

    So Mayors really do have challenges that matter and are impactful when its a Mayor with a (D) next to their name. Shameful rhetoric all around by the left.

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