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Daily Archives: August 31, 2008

First, apologies because this will be extremely long. Unfortunately, the article writers had to use a lot of words to make their case. I will endeavor to make it as short as possible, so you really should read the entire linked article.

6 things Palin pick says about McCain

The selection of a running mate is among the most consequential and the most defining decisions a presidential nominee can make. John McCain‘s pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says a lot about his decision-making – and some of it is downright breathtaking. […]

1. He’s desperate. Let’s stop pretending this race is as close as national polling suggests. The truth is McCain is essentially tied or trailing in every swing state that matters – and too close for comfort in several states, such as Indiana and Montana, that the GOP usually wins pretty easily in presidential races. On top of that, voters seem very inclined to elect Democrats in general this election – and very sick of the Bush years.

McCain could easily lose in an electoral landslide. That is the private view of Democrats and Republicans alike.

So, Palin is a desperate move? Hardly. Anyone following the explosion of jubilation across the conservative blogosphere and news outlets would see the brilliance of the his pick. In addition, less than two days after the annoucement, McCain/Palin drew in $7 million. Is that what one calls desperation these days?

2. He’s willing to gamble – bigtime. Let’s face it: This is not the pick of a self-confident candidate. It is the political equivalent of a trick play or, as some Democrats called it, a Hail Mary pass in football. McCain talks incessantly about experience, and then goes and selects a woman he hardly knows, who hardly knows foreign policy and who can hardly be seen as instantly ready for the presidency.

He is smart enough to know it could work, at least politically. Many Republicans see this pick as a brilliant stroke, because it will be difficult for Democrats to run hard against a woman in the wake of the Hillary Clinton drama. Will this push those disgruntled Hillary voters McCain’s way? Perhaps. But this is hardly aimed at them: It is directed at the huge bloc of independent women who could decide this election – especially those who do not see abortion as a make-or-break issue.

McCain has a history of taking dares. Palin represents his biggest one yet.

Why isn’t it she pick of a self-confident candidate? McCain challenged Obama to twelve debates. Obama refused them, yet, McCain is the one who lacks confidence? Sarah Palin is the right choice for McCain. McCain has stated over and over, ad infintum, that he wants to reform Washington, D.C. Palin has a reputation as a reformer herself plus she’s an outsider with good instincts and a whole lot of common sense. What better way to make sure his reform message is heard loud and clear? 

As for the female factor, I suppose McCain could have picked Bobby Jindal and still got his message across but Palin has a bit more experience than Jindal plus the fact that Jindal wants to work on his state first. I like that about him. He doesn’t want to leave a job unfinished. I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more of Jindal in the future and not just because of Gustav, either.

It’s not taking a dare. It is actually playing it safe. With that choice, he solidified his support from the conservative base who was left hanging after the primaries. In addition, McCain has shown he can keep a secret in comparison to the botched announcement of Obama’s running mate. That says something many may have overlooked in the furor. McCain had a plan and executed it to his timetable. Obama had a plan, too, that was doomed from the start. Perhaps, someone will say something about it was only an a VP choice announcement but it speaks volumes to his management skills when there might be state secrets involved.  

3. He’s worried about the political implications of his age. Like a driver overcorrecting out of a swerve, he chooses someone who is two years younger than the youthful Obama and 28 years younger than he is. (He turned 72 on Friday.) The father-daughter comparison was inevitable when they appeared next to each other.

The “Byrd Basics”

First elected to the Senate in 1958
Born: November 20, 1917, in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
Home: Sophia, West Virginia
Education: American U., J.D. 1963; Marshall University, B.A., 1994
Married on May 29,1937, to his high school sweetheart, Erma Ora Byrd

He’s a Democrat. He’s still in the Senate. Do you still want to talk about age? Oh, and Biden is a youngster, too, I suppose.

4. He’s not worried about the actuarial implications of his age. He thinks he’s in fine fettle and Palin wouldn’t be performing the main constitutional duty of a vice president, which is standing by in case a president dies or becomes incapacitated. If he were really concerned about an inexperienced person sitting in the Oval Office, we would be writing about vice presidential nominee Mitt Romney or Tom Ridge or Condoleezza Rice.

There is no plausible way McCain could say that he picked Palin, who was only elected governor in 2006 and whose most extended public service was as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (population 8,471), because she was ready to be president on Day One.

Nor can McCain argue that he was looking for someone he could trust as a close adviser. Most people know the staff at the local Starbucks better than McCain knows Palin. They met for the first time last February at a National Governors Association meeting in Washington. Then, they spoke again – by phone – on Sunday while she was at the Alaska state fair and he was at home in Arizona. […]

Is he or isn’t he? Oh, and let’s not forget the “experience” factor. Truth is, Sarah Palin has a thicker resume than Obama, yet, the Democrats believe he’s The One to be president. 

Plausible? Would you know plausible if it hit you in the face? The only “plausible” reason you’d accept is the one you put forward yourselves and label plausible, whether it really is or not. How do you know how many times they’ve spoken? Have you tapped McCain’s phones?

You can’t have it both ways although it’s a recurrent failure of the Democrats: Always trying to have it both ways. 

5. He’s worried about his conservative base. If he had room to maneuver, there were lots of people McCain could have selected who would have represented a break from Washington politics as usual. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman comes to mind (and it certainly came to McCain’s throughout the process). He had no such room. GOP stalwarts were furious over trial balloons about the possibility of choosing a supporter of abortion rights, including the possibility that he would reach out to his friend. […]

Oh, please. Choosing Lieberman would have been no “politics as usual?” Yes, we were furious over that possibility. However, if the VP selection were strong in other areas, we could have lived with it because it’s not like much would get done in that area anyway with a Democratic majority Congress.

What McCain did was “fake you out.” Palin was mentioned months ago and discounted. You’re so used to phony and fake politics, you don’t even recognize a “fake-out” when you see it. He played your game and won. 

6. At the end of the day, McCain is still McCain. People may find him a refreshing maverick or an erratic egotist. In either event, he marches to his own beat.

On the upside, his team did manage to play to the media’s love of drama, fanning speculation about his possible choices and maximizing coverage of the decision.

On the potential downside, the drama was evidently entirely genuine. The fact that McCain only spoke with Palin about the vice presidency for the first time on Sunday, and that he was seriously considering Lieberman until days ago, suggests just how hectic and improvisational his process was.

In the end, this selection gives him a chance to reclaim the mantle of a different kind of politician intent on changing Washington. He once had a legitimate claim to this: After all, he took on his own party over campaign finance reform and immigration. He jeopardized this claim in recent months by embracing ideas he once opposed (Bush tax cuts) and ideas that appeared politically motivated (gas tax holiday).

Spontaneity, with a touch of impulsiveness, is one of the traits that attract some of McCain’s admirers. Whether it’s a good calling card for a potential president will depend on the reaction in coming days to what, for the moment, looks like the most daring vice presidential selection in generations.

Yes, at the end of the day McCain is still McCain. However, in your summation, you forget one thing: McCain has said time and again that he wants to reform Washington, D.C.  His choice of Sarah Palin made clear his intent and created a Reform ticket that is going to be difficult for the Democrats to beat.

McCain has made some turns in a different direction from past positions but each time he had a reasoned explanation for those changes, whereas Obama claims he always supported this or that thing we have seen as a change from a past position.  Yet, there are some things McCain will never change on, such as illegal immigration, which is another story much too long in this already long article.

McCain created a ticket that has the Obama camp scrambling as well as their supporters. Expect more of this sort of smear, not to mention the rampant sexism from the party of identity politics. And let’s not forget Obama’s reaction (a reaction he’s now scrambling to cover up).

Message to the Democratic Party: In times past, you’ve shown yourselves to be sore losers. If you really want change someone can believe, changing that aspect of your party would be the place to start, as in: Stop Being Sore Losers. However, I fully expect, whether McCain wins by a small majority or a large one, the Democratic Party will once again challenge the election results.

August 2008


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