The Palin Pick

Now that we have had a few days to digest John McCain selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate, it is time to make an analysis with clear eyes. My initial thought was that Sarah Palin was an odd pick and didn’t make any sense. In politics, I have learned, there is always a method to the madness. By the reaction of my right-wing friends, McCain made up the enthusiasm deficit and has co-opted the “change” strategy.

Obviously the talking-points were sent out to combat the inexperience argument that has arisen with this selection. I find touting two terms as a mayor of a town smaller than most Chicago suburbs as executive experience adequate enough for Vice President of the United States far fletched – but the right-wingers are making it in earnest. The additional 18 months as governor of a small state is weak as well. However, the experience argument was one that was not working with Obama and it will not work with Palin. After 8 years of Bush, the American people are looking for something different. Obama represents something different and McCain/Palin ticket represents the same. From that perspective, the Palin pick was a good selection.

There is considerable risk to Palin as McCain doesn’t have a relationship with her and have only 60 days to sell her to the American people. Any stumbles by Palin will be magnified and will reflect more harshly on McCain. Just as Obama has little room for error, Palin’s learning curve will be much smaller. At some point she will have to show some political/policy gravitas that will show the American people that she is ready to take the helm as Commander in Chief should anything happen to McCain. Barak Obama had this same test which he answered on his trip to the Middle East and Europe.

How to Attack Palin

The obvious approach would be a direct attack. That is exactly the wrong approach. It is not to the Democrat advantage to have Palin the central issue in this race. John McCain is still the issue and Obama/Biden should spend very little time talking about Palin. The media will do that and surrogates will scrutinize her stance on the issues. Any missteps by Palin will air on the 24 hour cable channels. This is not to say we should underestimate Sarah Palin. As you recall, George HW Bush won with Dan Quayle as a running mate. But it is to say that Obama/Biden can look past her and remain focused on McCain.

Things to stay away from

There are rumors on the Internet stating that Palin is not the mother, but the grandmother of Trig. Now, that is something that I’d rather not deal with. It is something for the National Enquirer to scope out and if it is true… then I’m still not sure how much it matters.

The latest development regarding the pregnancy of her 17-year old daughter is causing a stir. I do not believe that John McCain was aware of this but although it may something about abstinence-only education, it really doesn’t say much about her as a mother. There are many American parents dealing with teenage pregnancy and it should be left as a personal matter for the Palin family.

The Vice President Debate

Low expectations are a burden but not true when it comes to debates and giving speeches. No on expects Sarah Palin to match Joe Biden’s grasp of foreign affairs. She can come off as a light-weight but not clueless. This is a true gift because it means that she has to stand their and not mangle the names of foreign leaders and show some basic understanding of geo-political issues. So she wins the debate if in the end we are saying “she is not a dunce”. That’s a pretty low bar that most political junkies could hurdle.

In the end…

We will see what happens but the race is still Barak Obama’s to lose.


4 Responses to The Palin Pick

  1. Bullfrog Says:
    The experience thing is definitely off the table with Palin, because she has as much as or more experience than Obama, and she is the #2, unlike Obama. She can learn as she goes where Obama in in charge day 1. I think it would be utterly foolish for the Left to continue to hammer this point because most people's reaction will be to see it as a double-standard.

    I agree with you that Obama and Biden should keep going after McCain and try to make Palin a "non-issue" as I think it may help to diffuse some of the enthusiasm she has generated with the conservative base. It seems like Obama may be ahead of us both because articles I read today indicate he is calling attacks against Palin's family "off limits". This may give him the "high road", or folks already frustrated with his campaign calling EVERYTHING off limits might just roll their eyes.

    My impression of Sarah Palin is that she is much tougher than her "easy on the eyes" appearance may imply. When she speaks, she if intelligent and confident without being arrogant and she is very principled. Biden should definitely not underestimate her and do his best not to seem condescending if she backs him into a corner.

    Palin has a speech this coming Wednesday as part of the GOP convention, so that will be a good indicator of what she's got.
  2. James Manning Says:

    This is what Karl Rove said about Tim Kaine:

    "With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he's been a governor for three years, he's been able but undistinguished," Rove said. "I don't think people could really name a big, important thing that he's done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America."

    Rove continued: "So if he were to pick Governor Kaine, it would be an intensely political choice where he said, `You know what? I'm really not, first and foremost, concerned with, is this person capable of being president of the United States."

    Now he is saying that Sarah Palin has experince when Tim Kaine didn't have enough experience to be vice president. I don't want to hear it!!!
  3. Bullfrog Says:
    If McCain is saying Palin has "enough" experience, while Kaine does not, and that appears to be hypocritical to you I understand. Honestly, I can't speak to Kaine or specifically to McCain's rationale.

    The argument I keep hearing is 2 fold:

    1. McCain could die while in office.
    - anything is possible, but McCain isn't the oldest Prez we have had and, depending on who you talk to; the Left, who says he has health issues, or the Right who say his family line us full of old folks. Who do you agree with? You agree with whichever choice is politically expedient.

    2. Palin does not have enough experience to be Prez if #1 actually occurs.
    - retarded argument when the Presidential nominee for your party is Barack Obama. How is his experience making him ready to run the country right now? He has obviously generated enthusiasm and votes to beat Hillary for the nomination, but now what? All I see in his portfolio is community activism and 143 Senate days, most of which he voted "Present" to avoid being controversial, which may have hurt his chances politically.

    If there is more to his story, I would love to know.
  4. James Manning Says:

    Here is list of what Obama did in the Illinois Senate:

    You will see that Obama sponsored over 800 bills. Also, as a community organizer, he led the way in getting health care for residents of a housing projects that was infested with asbestos. Many of the resident also received a settlement.