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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Breaking Down the Sarah Palin Pick

Last May, I assessed Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as one of John McCain's top ten VP possibilities. Here's what I had to say about her potential to round out the Republican ticket:

Working under the assumption that Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee, there is undoubtedly going to be a lot of disappointed female voters who are up for grabs across the country. Sarah Palin would be an excellent olive branch to a gender that consistently leans Democratic. She not only brings executive experience to balance McCain's legislative work, but she might be the most popular executive in the country. Indeed, in a poll taken in 2007, she had an astounding approval rating of 84% with only 5% disapproval. Other strengths include her strong pro-life stance and she's voiced an opinion against gay marriage, two core conservative tenants that will be welcome to Republicans who are skeptical of a McCain nomination.

Of course, there are nine people ranked higher on this list for a reason. First, the 44-year-old was elected governor in 2006, and with less than a year-and-a-half of statewide experience, she could be considered too green for the ticket (even if the average age of her and McCain is a perfect 58). Second, she has very little name recognition across the country, and even though that isn't her fault, it is something McCain and the Republican brain trust could be concerned with when selecting the #2. Finally, she brings nothing to the table geographically, as Alaska's three electoral votes consistently go red, and the state will not attract any region of the country, unless the Yukon Territory is somehow annexed and incorporated by November.


Three months later, most of that analysis holds and has become relevant. Yesterday, John McCain and the GOP selected Sarah Palin to be the Republican nominee for Vice-President of the United States.


Re-read the first paragraph from my May posting to understand some reasons why Palin could be considered a strong choice. She's a social conservative (better than Lieberman), she's a fiscal conservative (better than Huckabee), she's pro-life (better than Ridge), and she's Presbyterian (better than Romney). She is the perfect Republican. Moreover, she's a woman, while McCain's rival is coming off a primary where many thought the Obama campaign and/or the media was unfair to a woman because of her gender. Potentially, there are a lot of disenfranchised Hillary Clinton supporters out there to be won. Unlikely, as I'll discuss in the near future, but potentially.

The biggest mark against her, obviously, is her lack of experience. Many say that, since McCain is 72-years-old, he has an above average likelihood to die in office. Therefore, the person who is one heartbeat away from the presidency has rarely been more paramount. This is not an inaccurate assessment. However, that is of little concern to McCain and the Republicans. Not only does McCain have loads of experience, but the Democrats would not be wise to attack Palin's lack of it.

Never forget that the primary objective of both parties is not to put the country first, but rather to either gain or hold onto power first, then push through an agenda second, after the candidate(s) has been elected. The choice of Palin is no different, like numerous vice-presidential choices of both parties over the years. McCain and the GOP want to win the election. If the Democrats try to attack the Palin selection on the basis of her youth and inexperience, the McCain campaign can easily remind the electorate that Obama is nearly as youthful and inexperienced as Palin.

Simply, despite the Palin pick, the Democrats cannot make this a campaign about experience. McCain has over two decades on Obama and it goes without saying that the top of the ticket is a lot more important than the bottom. If the Democrats criticize Palin because, if McCain wins, she could possibly have to take over, the Republicans can hit back by saying that, if the Democrats win, Obama is definitely taking over.

Therefore, both parties will wait on the inexperience issue. If McCain brings up Obama's inexperience, Obama will cite Palin as being one heartbeat away and therefore a terrible choice for VP, while his own VP is as well equipped as any politician to run the country. If Obama brings up Palin's experience, McCain will blow him out of the water.

Ultimately, since it appears Palin will be attack-proof in this regard, she's actually a strong choice. A down-the-line conservative with executive experience who might siphon female votes away from the Democratic Party.


Addendum: To my loyal readers: my work has blocked blogspot. That is why you didn't see of my usual morning posts this past week. I'm looking into circumventing the system, but if no solution is found, I might be going to weekly posts.

5 comments:

deeking said...

Being rather non-political I listened to the Obama speech and
thought to keep an open mind.
Never knowing who Palin was, I once
again thought to listen.
After the dust settled I thought the Obama speech very good, but: if anyone ever saw "The American President"with Michael Douglas, I think that, "he just doesn't get it" line is from the moveie (Maybe the same writers for Obama)
In any event, desperate people will look to anything/one for hope.
I would love positive change, but
in the last year's did anyone from any party try??
Thing is we don't live in a vaccuum so any of our illustrious could have demanded an energy package years ago (without worrying who gets credit, but just to benefit the American public who deserve it!!)
Biden has characterized the man who killed his first wife and child
as a drunk in the past--some reporting states the contrary.
Although sorry for his loss, I don't like mean spiritedness in a man who could be president by chance.
Palin has stood up to some pretty strong people that others may have ignored--that impresses me.
I would like to see a list of each of the candidates accomplishments and what proposals they offered or supported over the last 8 years--Bush wasn't the only one to blame.
I would like a point by point of the things stated in the Obama speech and see what his actions and Mc Cains were on each item as well as the vp hopefuls.
God bless America and God Bless us all Tiny Tim as we're going to need it!!

Rob said...

Does Palin actually HELP McCain, though? Will electoral votes follow?

Darren said...

Palin is a good pick for now but we'll see if she can sustain a bump in the polls. It appears to be a cynical pick by McCain, and as many have said a huge gamble. It's also, in my biased eyes, a cocky pick. It's almost like McCain is saying "I'm not dying in office, so this inexperienced VP doesn't matter". It certainly makes the race about him and Obama, so in that respect it's a good choice.

I actually think the Dems can still use the experience factor in this debate. Being the mayor of a small Alaskan town of 6,000 and the governor of the second least populous state is far different than the Illinois State Legislature and the U.S. Senate. It's like comparing a basketball player going from high school to the NBA and not living up to the hype to a player who plays for 2-3 years in college before going pro.

USpace said...

.
This is going to be fun. History will be made, one way or another, and it looks more likely now that it will be the right history.

Even more Hillary supporters will go for McCain now. Obama is no longer a near certainty. Heaven forbid something happens to McCain, but I believe Palin would rise to the occasion. She has the right attitude. Everyone knows Obama is NOT ready for POTUS, Palin is only for the VP. Look at Dan Quayle.

YEY SARAH PALIN! YEY John McCain! Great pick! The 1st woman for the GOP VP? SCORE!

She's conservative! SCORE! She's a Governor! SCORE! She's pro-drilling! She's a hunter! SCORE! She's a hockey Mom and played basketball in school! SCORE! She's pro-life! And she respects women! SCORE! She fights corruption! SCORE! She's high-energy! SCORE! She's tough! SCORE! She's got 5 kids! SCORE! Her son is going to Iraq in the Armed Forces! SCORE! She's married to a Blue-collar professional! SCORE! She's smart! SCORE! She's young! SCORE!

And she's a Hotty to boot! SCORE! The Left is going to go nuts! SCORE!
.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
never elect a woman

who's a conservative
she's just a gender traitor

.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
just HOPE to pay more taxes

DREAM about high fuel prices
CHANGE PROGRESS to move backwards

.
All real freedom starts with freedom of speech. Without freedom of speech, there can be no real freedom.
.
Philosophy of Liberty Cartoon
.
Help Halt Terrorism Today!
.
USpace

:)
.

Anonymous said...

I'm having a hard time figuring out why McCain thinks Palin is the most qualified Republican in America. that sure doesn't say much for the quality of today's Republicans.

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