Initial Thoughts on Sarah Palin

August 29, 2008

Well, I have to hand it to McCain:  He surprised me.  I didn’t think he was capable of doing something so unexpected.  That said, I’m not sure it’s a good choice.  Why?

1)  He has essentially given away the experience issue.  As the oldest man every to run for a first term in the White House (Today is is 72nd birthday) McCain had to take special care with his VP choice.  Whoever it was had to meet the same test he’s been claiming that Obama fails to pass, namely that this person is ready to assume the duties of President on day one.  Sarah Palin has been governor of Alaska for less than two years.  Prior to that she was mayor of the town of Wasilla and chair of the Alaska State Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for two years.  Her resume is thinner by far than Barack Obama’s.  If he’s not ready, neither is she.  Or perhaps more to the point, since clearly McCain is making the claim with this pick that she IS ready:  If she’s got the experience necessary to be President, then Barack Obama certainly does.

2) This is a pick that some Republicans claim is intended to make the GOP ticket more attractive to Hillary Clinton supporters.  I’m not convinced that it does that.  Yes, Palin is a woman, but to suggest that Clinton’s supporters liked her simply because she was a woman is, frankly, insulting.  Hillary’s supporters were drawn to the Clinton campaign by the Senator’s years of experience, her life story, her strength, her strong support for health care reform, environmental reform, and a woman’s right to choose.  Clinton’s supporters want to see progressive judges appointed to the Supreme Court. They want to see an end to the war in Iraq.  Sarah Palin doesn’t agree with any of those positions.  Apart from her gender, she has nothing in common with Hillary Clinton, and I believe Clinton’s supporters, even those who were disinclined to support Obama before the convention, will recognize that.

3) Even veteran GOP operatives know very little about this woman.  And in fact a simple Google search of her name brings up an August 1 news story, which indicates that she’s under investigation for firing her ex-brother-in-law from Alaska’s state police force.  She could be a risky choice.

4)  Finally, unlike Tim Pawlenty, who could have made Minnesota competitive for the GOP, or former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who could have helped in Michigan, where he grew up, and New Hampshire, which borders MA, Palin can’t really help in any of the battleground states.  Alaska is solidly Republican and already leans heavily to the GOP.  Now this same argument could be made against Obama’s choice of Joe Biden, but I think Biden brings much more to the table than she does.

All of that said, I’ll be interested to see how this plays out over the next several days.  And I’d be very interested in hearing your opinions on the matter.  So please share!

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8 Responses to “Initial Thoughts on Sarah Palin”

  1. Bobby Ewing said

    You have to admit that Sarah Palin is pretty hot (remember she was in the Ms. Alaska Pageant) and MUCH BETTER on the eyes than Joe Biden. Oh and wait until you see the bikini pics!!! NOT BAD for a mother of 5.

    http://www.jlaforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=5055328

  2. davidbcoe said

    I think that Bobby’s comment it tongue-in-cheek, but still, I’d like to keep the discussion a bit more respectful. Watching her speak on CNN, it seems that she’s an intelligent, capable person. I just don’t think she’s a good Veep choice. And I think that the ticket presents a poor visual for the GOP. He looks just a bit too old and she looks a bit too young. I’m not convinced it’s going to play well.

  3. Frank said

    David- Hilary’s INTELLIGENT or REASONED supporters were “drawn to the Clinton campaign by the Senator’s years of experience, her life story, her strength, her strong support for health care reform,” etc..

    Those OTHER supporters were thinking… well who knows what they were thinking? But any people even *considering* a vote for McCain can’t have been supporting Clinton for the reasons mentioned. It wouldn’t surprise me much if they only considered the Skin color and/or reproductive organs of the candidates, in which case, this could be a coup for McCain.

    I, like you, was surprised. By both the pick, and how completely blind the Media were to the impending announcement. I gotta say, though, I LOVE this lady so far. I see her as McCain’s reclamation of his inner Maverick. The Maverick we all loved before 2003 or so, when the inner Maverick was devoured by the Shape-shifting political Hypocrite we see smiling awkwardly at us from our TV’s today.

    Anybody who has been on the opposite side of a disagreement with Don Young and Ted Stevens can’t be all bad.

    And yeah, She is a nice looking lady, but so is Dana Perino. That doesn’t stop me from arching my back and hissing whenever she shows her photogenic face on TV.

  4. davidbcoe said

    You LOVE this lady?! This is a return to the Maverick?! Hmmmm. Sorry, but I can’t agree. She’s a creationist, a lifelong NRA member, she wants to drill in ANWR, she claims to be a reformer but may well be guilty of gross abuse of power and a cover-up of the events in question. The fact that she has almost no relevant experience is beside the point. And this wasn’t McCain being a maverick. This was McCain being desperate and showing an unbelievable shallowness in his political thinking with respect to women.

  5. Brian said

    It seems like a desperate move to me. I have to assume he and his campaign people are aware of her lack of experience and that by choosing her as a running mate they are essentially reversing their position on Obama’s lack of experience. I think they are trying to wrangle some of the younger voters with a token “progressive” VP candidate, as if the fact that she is a woman will out shine the black hole of Republican politics.

    I have heard others say that this is a brilliant move by McCain. I admit that it initially struck me as a clever strategy, but the more I think about it, the more I see McCain struggling and failing to overcome his “old man” image. And anyone with internet access can find out how much Palin supports the standard Republican policies, so essentially she is a decoy- McCain or Bush in disguise.

  6. davidbcoe said

    I agree, Brian. It seems desperate, and with each day that passes, it seems like more and more of a mistake. I wonder what his internal polling must have looked like after the Democratic convention. Must have been pretty ugly from his perspective.

  7. Frank said

    Hey, the key phrase in my last comment was “So Far”.

    I, like everyone else (including John McCain, it seems), knew pretty much nothing about this woman when I wrote that. My, how the times they change. A mere 72 hours later, I know WAY too much. There is very serious chatter about her having to pull a Harriet Miers (or a Thomas Eagleton) and withdraw her candidacy.

    The “rollout” of the Veep choice, on the heels of the DNC and before the distraction of the hurricane-ridden holiday weekend, went amazingly well for them. They drew a very good picture of this woman when they first revealed the pick. Too bad the picture wasn’t based on reality. The last time something was this universally panned, it was “The Love Guru”.

    I am referring to her henceforth as “Danielle Quayle” or “Sarah Quaylin”

  8. davidbcoe said

    I’ve been hearing that talk about pulling the plug on her candidacy as well. I’m not convinced it’ll happen, though. If she sticks it out, there’s a chance she and the campaign can recover. If she withdraws McCain loses the election. No way around it. The “judgment vs. experience” question would be settled once and for all, with Obama coming out on top. And that’s the ballgame.

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