Friday, August 29, 2008

Will Sarah Palin Help? She Already Has.

It's an open question whether John McCain's choice of half-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will significantly shift voters to McCain's side. But her out-of-right-field selection helped in two important, short term ways.

First, the announcement completely such Obama's air out of the room. Even the lefty blogs are entirely done talking about his speech last night, about the historicity of the moment, about the bounce. All anyone is talking about is Sarah Who? and what does it mean. It's Sarah Palin's news cycle, Barack Obama is just living in it.

If McCain had made a more conventional choice, it's unlikely he would have shouldered Obama out of the way quite so successfully. The most conventional choice -- Pawlenty, probably -- would have elicited something like "Yeah, that's what we thought, and how will that relate to the race after Obama's historic nomination last night . . ." By making a selection this unexpected and risky and historic in its own right, McCain/Palin has dominated the conversation since noon.

Second, Sarah Palin being a woman has softened somewhat the fact that Sarah Palin is a Christian Right darling. If McCain had picked a relative unknown and inexperience man with lockdown social conservative credentials, the move would be widely seen as a pander to the religious right base. Because Palin breaks a gender barrier (at least as far as GOP veep choices), her selection is seen less as a sop to the hard right than as more maverickiness from McCain.

Will this advantage endure in the long run? Time will tell. Palin's youth and inexperience cause problems, both by blunting the same criticism of Obama and heightening concerns about McCain's age. And it's hard to claim maverick status when you've picked the least qualified candidate on your short list purely because she might help win an election.

Still, no question that McCain/Palin have won this day.


NEO said...

Much agreed, Pho. Honestly, I think this hurts McCain over the long haul for the fact that he has blunted his own strategy against Obama up to this point: experience. What now can McCain seriously attack Obama on? I'm sure there is something, since pulling attacks out of thin air is about the only thing today's GOP is super effective at. But American political memory is notoriously short. When the confetti settles from the Palin announcement, the focus will likely turn to asking precisely how is a political unknown from an often politically overlooked Alaska, qualified to be just a heartbeat away from the Presidency? If she can't make the case, then it might well turn out to be that McCain played a last-ditch desperation card today just to spite Obama and Co., and ends in failure.

Anonymous said...

Au contraire!

The maverick is back!

Shaking up Washington was always what the maverick McCain was about, and with this accomplished reformer, Sarah Palin, who has accomplished more in 2 years than her predecessor did in 12 years, Senator McCain has put Washington on notice that Washington is in for a jolt.

So many Americans have expressed that they are sickened by politicians, are unhappy with the direction the government is leading us in, and have little trust in the political system, especially with scandals being reported as widely and frequently as they are. Alaska is one of those places that have been rocked by scandal. Yet, Alaska has turned a corner with Governor Palin. Palin has approval ratings that reach 80%!!!!!

To know that I, as a voter, have the power to elect a ticket that can clean up Washington . . . Wow! Just what I've been waiting for!

Anonymous said...

Ummm . . . . Maverick McCain is long dead. He was killed by Presidential Candidate McCain and there is no turning back now.

The selection of Palin is just a PR stunt: making McCain look NOT like the neanderthal neoCon for just a few minutes. Scratch the surface of this selection and you will find the same ol' same ol' Republican candidate . . . except with less experience.

She's from Alaska, she MUST be pro-environment. But she's NOT. She's a woman, she MUST be pro-choice. But she's NOT. Turn Palin into a man and we wouldn't even notice her nomination. She'd be Dan Quayle . . . except maybe smarter.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Palin has already won over hockey moms that are undecided or independents. This will also cool Biden down during some of his Iraq comments. I mean the gal will soon have a son serving in a war that only a handful of Republicans have any blood in. If Biden attacks the war as a failure or as a waste, every mother will detest the democratic ticket. I know several soccer moms that were undecided or at least not pontificating a choice, talking about how much they like Palin. As far as Obama's well delivered speech, I was online the next morning after lunch trying to find some highlights. You would have never thought Obama had never given a speech. It was covered by the VP choice.

Anonymous said...

Governor Palin does not help Senator McCain's campaign. In fact, I would argue that she greatly harms his campaign.

The newly introduced female vice presidential candidate, Governor Sara Palin has been a mayor of Wasilla and a governor of Alaska for 20 months now. We know that she is able to deliver a speech tailor written for her and that she is able to throw mud and insults at Senator Barack Obama. Interestingly enough, Governor Palin missed a very powerful opportunity to provide a comprehensive plan or vision for the US. Unfortunately, many voters (both men and women) will view her as a ranting woman trying her hardest to play ball with the boys. Many voters will question the ability of this woman to be a good vice president, and unlike the proven and tested stellar career of Hillary Clinton, the jury (literally) is still out on Governor Palin’s questionable record. Clearly, if Senator Hillary Clinton was unable to transcend gender discrimination, Governor Sara Palin will have a very hard time dodging that ball.

Likewise, Governor Palin in spite of being a woman is certainly not a friend of women. Governor Palin’s political views regarding women’s rights is frightening especially since she is a woman. Governor Palin does not support a comprehensive sex education curricula, , she advocates an abstinence-only approach to sex education, she opposes the use of contraceptives, and she is against a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion even when a victim of rape or incest. She has cut government spending in the state of Alaska for programs that would benefit at-risk pregnant teenagers in an effort to cut the state budget. Additionally, Governor Palin is not an advocate of universal healthcare for all citizens. It is truly amazing that this woman is a mother.

If Governor Palin is the republican tactic of bringing into the fold any disgruntled female Clinton supporters, the republican party has a better chance seeing the Lord than seeing any former female Clinton supporter vote for the McCain/Palin ticket in the upcoming election. Governor Palin truly makes Senator Barack Obama look like the Alan Alda of American politics today.