Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sarah Who?

I know that it's kind of old news at this point, but I'm just now getting my mind wrapped around John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin to be his running mate. Talk about a surprise pick. Before Friday morning I don't think I'd even heard her name in any context, let alone as a potential vice president. Talk about a startling and stunning choice.

On the one hand, I can see why McCain picked her. She is unapologetically conservative and has a reformer image that certainly would appeal to McCain. She's young and energetic and apparently is an excellent public speaker. After that, it gets a little hazy.

For a campaign that has largely based itself around the idea of experience and readiness to lead, the Palin pick seems like a hugely counterproductive move. It seems tremendously disingenuous to say that Palin has the foreign policy experience (from her time as Mayor of Wasilla?) that Obama lacks. As we learned on CNN yesterday, attempts to paint that picture end up looking pretty foolish.

Whereas Obama's choice of Biden prompted everyone to say, "Okay, good solid pick," McCain's choice prompted "WHO? No really, who is she?" As usual, Talking Points Memo is doing a great job breaking down the issues and doing the investigating on the new pick and so far the picture isn't exactly rosy. There seems to be plenty of fodder to undermine whatever upside Palin brings to the ticket.

When I first heard who McCain had chosen, I thought it was a transparent attempt to woo former Hillary supporters by putting a woman on the ticket. Now, I'm less convinced. As I hear and read more about this it seems more and more like an ill-thought out gut reaction. It hardly fills me with confidence in a potential President McCain.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's curious that Palin's role as Governor of Alaska goes unmentioned here. While neither being a mayor or being a governor in particular qualifies as "national security experience," it's odd that her experience as mayor from 1996-2002 is chosen to make the point.

Should the intervening six years be ignored? Ignore the same intervening years for Senator Obama gives us a state senator for roughly the same time period (1997-2004), but using that as his resume would make it seem thin (and dishonestly so). Which maybe is the goal with Governor Palin; if that's the case, the tactic is dishonest, but obviously to be expected.

Senator McCain's pick of Governor Palin seems to have generated a lot of excitement, worry, and negativity, depending on who is asked. Obviously there are positives and negatives. As you mentioned, she's "young and energetic" and was a daring choice. But there were quite a few disclosures about her over the weekend that may give some voters pause (or may even shore up some votes).

This is equally true of Senator Biden. Much of the reaction to him was positive without being excited (lots of political experience, good foreign policy perspective, etc.). But it was also odd to choose a 35-year Senate veteran for a campaign that wants to bring change to Washington.

This comment became a little long; I apologize. Just looking to provide a moderate viewpoint on some of the points in the post. Have a good day.