Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain has certainly caused a lot of buzz in the media with his selection of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Our friends at theREBUTTAL have provided “two sides” to this unfolding story.
By Ari Holtz
John McCain has announced that Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska is his choice for vice president. As a short-term move, it’s pure genius. As a long-term piece of strategy, however, the pick is a fool’s choice reeking of desperation and over-thinking. It could very possibly sink McCain’s hope of winning the White House.
First, the good. The pick, only the second woman to ever be on a major party ticket, immediately and completely wiped Barack Obama’s historic and wondrous speech and convention off of the news and nearly out of the American consciousness. The pick is a historic one. The press loves such a story, as it should. The story and the pick has a degree of juice that a run-of-the-mill choice such as Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney could never have attained.
Further, choosing a woman, McCain potentially widens his demographic. Women tend to be Democrats in greater numbers than they are Republicans. The Obama campaign spent much of their convention attempting to firm up this voting pool, paying homage to Hillary Clinton and emphasizing their seriousness on issues such as choice, equal pay, education and health care. The Palin pick throws a brief wrench into the demographic math for Democrats.
So, the Palin pick has a wow-factor to it and, momentarily, at least, reaches out to women. But what else does it do?
Sure, Palin’s pro-life stance will make social conservatives happy. She is a hunting-fishing-mom-of-five every-woman who counters the attack that McCain, unable to remember how many houses he owns and married to an heiress, is out of touch. In Palin’s inexperience, however, and in her vaulting over more seasoned Republican women for the job, she completely muddles McCain’s message of experience and judgment.
The McCain campaign has long lacked a purpose or premise other than that Obama is too inexperienced, too much of a risk. This pick completely destroys that idea, leaving McCain with nothing.
Sarah Palin has been governor of Alaska, a tiny state of 670,000, for a mere two years. Prior to that she was a mayor of a town of 9000. This is a population less than 1/20th the size of Obama’s district as a state senator. She has zero experience in national politics and none in international affairs. She makes Obama look seasoned and wizened, an elder statesman. This is the person that McCain is putting one heartbeat away from the Presidency?
John McCain is 72-years-old. He has had recurrent skin cancer. And in his self-heralded great judgment he is putting a 24-month governor and small town mayor one heart attack away from having to stare down Vladimir Putin, fight al-Qaida and the Taliban, honorably and successfully exit Iraq, and restore America’s standing amongst the nations of the world?
How is that good judgment? How does that illustrate a high value on experience? How can any attack on Barack Obama as being too large a risk, too inexperienced, ever hold water again?
In several days or a week ,the wow-factor of the pick will fade. The significance of her being a woman will fade with analysis of her weak stances on issues important to women such as equal pay, health care and education. And then we will be left with the real person. The real Sarah Palin. And while a likable woman and popular small-state governor, she is way out of her league being next-in-line to run the free world.
John McCain just failed his first test in presidential judgment, a test that Barack Obama, in picking capable and experienced Joe Biden as his VP nominee, passed marvelously.
This is a pick of political panic. It is an over-reach to attempt to counter the excitement of a soaring Democratic National Convention and the energy of a historic campaign. Make no mistake, though. Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton. She is Dan Quayle.
VP Game-Changing Brilliance
By Cameron Contois
Touché, John McCain.
John McCain’s pick of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate is totally unexpected… and brilliant. Completely brilliant.
Many Democrats are overjoyed that McCain picked an inexperienced woman to run with. I would caution these Democrats against dismissing Palin so easily.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn states, “I think [Palin] would be something similar to Dan Quayle - Dan Quayle proved to be sort of an embarrassment as a campaigner. Being thrust on a national stage like that could be very tough.” Unfortunately, Palin is no Dan Quayle.
She’s actually a gun-toting, anti-abortion, socially-conservative reformer that is exactly what will bring the conservatives home to McCain. A lifetime member of the NRA, all she needs to do is show those pictures of her holding a big gun with the troops and she’ll easily win over those moderate Republicans and blue collar-workers who love their guns. And those 27 percent of Hillary voters from places like Ohio and Pennsylvania who got so offended when Obama said they cling to their guns and religion, the 27 percent that said they’re now voting for McCain… well, with Palin on the ticket, they’re definitely voting for McCain. Obama won’t win them back.
Some Democrats are downright giddy over such an “inexperienced” candidate; I would caution them against premature victory parties. Their logic is that McCain can no longer attack Obama on his inexperience because Palin lacks it as well. This argument ignores just what Palin has done in Alaska. She reformed a corrupt Alaskan Republican Party and sided with McCain against the $453 million earmarked for Alaskan bridges, including that now famous “Bridge to Nowhere.” Her resume may be short, but it has teeth. And she did it all while raising five kids. The inexperience argument is also inherently flawed, as Obama is the one running for president, while Palin is in the number two position. It’s not the same thing.
Furthermore, even if McCain has undermined his argument against Obama, any Democrat questioning Palin’s ability to lead sounds hypocritical.
Sure, Sarah Palin will take many independent women who supported Hillary, and will help sell McCain to socially conservatives. But there is a larger reason that Palin is so good for McCain.
I received an email this morning from the McCain people announcing his pick of Sarah Palin as his running mate. There’s a photograph of Palin and McCain together with a McCain/Palin logo. The experienced maverick standing with the young, attractive politician instantly gives the McCain campaign a makeover. The outdated and somewhat boring McCain campaign suddenly looks like a campaign running for the presidency in the year 2008, not 1908.
Instead of trying to blow Palin off as another Dan Quayle, the Democrats must realize what a real threat she is to the Obama and Biden. Sarah Palin is, indeed, a game changer.