by Unknown | 8/29/2008 02:03:00 PM
(Cross-posted at The Wild, Wild Left.)

I promise I'll stop soon with the straight-up political posts. But for now, let's talk about McCain's VP choice of Sarah Palin:

The Good (for McCain):

- Palin is a savvy, intelligent politician who actually knows how to win elections -- unlike Pawlenty (who won reelection by a single point against a subpar opponent), Romney (who retired in 2006 rather than face certain defeat), or Lieberman (who couldn't even win his own party's primary).

- Palin will lock down Alaska, which surprisingly actually matters.

- Palin is viewed by libertarians as a compatriot and will blunt Barr's impact on the race in every state but Georgia.

- Palin effectively neutralizes Biden's attack-dog abilities in the VP debate, because, right or wrong, the voters won't allow him to verbally bludgeon a woman. (A Republican woman, that is. As the Clinton campaign showed, the voters have no qualms about attacking a Democratic woman.) Basically, McCain has outdrawn Obama in terms of the VP debate. Biden will now have to tread very, very carefully.

The Bad (for McCain):

- The Palin scandal. This is a huge, huge deal, and should be hammered home by the campaign. Unfortunately, Obama can't do it because of his post-partisan image, and Biden can't do it for reasons discussed above. That means it's up to the 527s and, yes, the bloggers, to harp on this one until someone in the media finally takes notice.

- The PUMAs. Fresh off being right about Biden (and about Schweitzer), Markos is wrong again when he says the Palin pick is a pick for the base. The "base" would have been thrilled with Pawlenty and happy with Romney -- McCain didn't need to go outside the box to woo them. Instead, the Palin pick is clearly a further salvo in McCain's attempt to win over disgruntled Hillary supporters. Apparently, he's decided that the PUMAs are the key swing voters in this election -- you know, all 600 or so of them. It's poetic justice that Hillary's most ardent supporters might just hand this election to Obama, by so convincing McCain of their own self-importance that he panders to them with his VP choice.

So, that's what I've got. What do you think?




Anonymous Anonymous on 8/29/2008 3:10 PM:

Good analysis. Palin was a smart pick and Biden was a dumb one. Biden only serves to undermine Obama's claim to be a "change election." It would have made more sense for Obama to have picked an independent minded westerner, like Schweitzer.

This may seal the election for McCain. It was Obama's to lose, and he probably has lost it by picking Biden.


Blogger Unknown on 8/29/2008 3:29 PM:

Anonymous, I'm not as pessimistic as you are. I honestly believe that it will be almost impossible for Obama to lose this election, and his rhetoric just keeps getting better. I think it'll be close, but I think Obama'll pull it out.


Anonymous Anonymous on 8/29/2008 3:56 PM:

I made a big bet several months ago that Obama will win but now I fear I will lose that bet.

First, as I mentioned, there was the mistake of the Biden pick. Biden positively reeks of insider/status quo politics. Those who tout his "experience" forget this major liablity for an alleged "change agent."

Moreover, Biden, like McCain, is a longtime member of the war party. He took a leadership role to push the Iraq war (as chair of foreign relations) and only turned it against it when it became unpopular. He is also a loyal backer of the drug war and thus no friend of civil liberties. A bad choice all around. It sends s disturbing message about Obama's priorities.

This is only one more sign of how Obama has increasingly abandoned his antiwar base He is an echo more than a choice compared to McCain on expansion of the military (he's for it), playing chicken with Russia in Georgia (he's for it), confrontation with China (he's for it). He's even for saber rattling with Iran though on this he is marginally better than McCain.

A "me too" approach in foreign policy doesn't win elections.


Blogger T. Greer on 8/29/2008 11:41 PM:

@Peter: I don't think Palin is half as bad for McCain's base as you make her out to be. To be truthful, I don't think the target demographic for Palin was the PUMAS- I think it was the pro-life, working class moms who will connect with Palin. And true, there are more guys than gals in the Republican Party, but if the conservative gals can be galvanized into voting- well, let us just say they are not a small demographic.

~T. Greer


Blogger Unknown on 8/30/2008 1:42 AM:

Who's Peter?


Blogger Gordon Taylor on 8/30/2008 1:55 AM:

OK, everybody, stop, take a deep breath, and count to ten. Now relax. Very little of this matters. In the end, it's money, hard work, and the presidential candidate himself that will win the race. I can't see that the choice of a big-haired inexperienced creationist anti-abortion extremist gun nut in skirts is going to be a huge help to John McCain. And Joe Biden is no detriment to Obama, at least not as perceived by anyone outside the liberal politically-addicted blogosphere.

So it's a wash at worst. Above all, Palin is not untouchable in debate. I mean, she thinks it's an achievement to kill and eat a moose, ferchrissakes, an animal that Bill Bryson once called "the most improbable, endearingly hopeless creature ever to live in the wilds." As Bryson wrote, "You might as well hunt cows." If she's such a mighty hunter and gun lover, I see nothing that should make her immune from attack by Biden or anyone else. Dip the knife in hemlock and go to it.


Blogger T. Greer on 8/30/2008 8:25 AM:

Oops. I meant to say "Jeremy." I believe the mistake came because I wrote a comment on the blog, "Duck of Minerva" shortly before writing here, and it seems I mixed up the bloggers names!

At least I can use the excuse that I wrote the comment circa 12:00.

~T. Greer, lucid at 8:24.


Blogger Unknown on 8/30/2008 8:55 AM:

Heh. Anyhow, I didn't mean to imply that Palin was bad for McCain's base, only that they would have been satisfied with any of his choices not named Lieberman or Ridge (and equally thrilled with Pawlenty). As for pro-life working-class moms, how many of those do you really think there are? There are a lot more pro-choice women than pro-life women, moms included.


Blogger idiosynchronic on 8/30/2008 7:17 PM:

Aww, thanks for linking. As you allude, Jeremy, I'm trying not to flood the history site with nothing but political observations - which is about where my head has been all summer.


Blogger Unknown on 8/30/2008 9:24 PM:

Well, it doesn't bother me, but it seems to be making some folks grumpy. So I'll try to cut back.


Blogger Real_PHV_Mentarch on 8/31/2008 4:05 PM:

Sound analysis JY - and I agree with you.


Anonymous Anonymous on 9/06/2008 12:27 AM:

I disagree on two points. (1) Palin as a savvy politician is a dubious claim concerning the Alaskan Republican machine mentored her after she became mayor of Wasilla. I am a public servant in a similarly sized town. It doesn't need or take a Machiavelli to gain your neighbor's trust. She ran against a demonstrably corrupt Governor (Murkowski) who stepped over the line with Alaskans by appointing his daughter to the Senate.

(2) People who feel that a man can't sincerely argue with a woman are people who have problems arguing with women. Biden should treat her as an equal and not be condescending by being too nice. Besides she has shown the country she can dish it out we deserve to see that she can take it. Besides the accusations (in some instances) that HRC was the victim of sexism were legit. The cries that went up from HRC's camp and the left had legitimacy. The right wing trying to entrap with false sexism charges rings hollow coming from the party that has done everything it can to undermine the women's movement and its achievements over the past 40 years. The only people who are invested in sincere activism against sexism are for the most part voting for Obama. By the way all we need is a 527 to run Palin's comments about HRC "whining" about sexism during her campaign.