Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Catching up on old news...

Welcome back from the long weekend, everyone:-) There is much to discuss since I have conveniently neglected to blog since...oh...Friday? The Boy and the rest of the crew showed up on Friday and I was pretty busy all weekend (by "busy", I mean "socializing"). Pretty big crowd in the end...the house was just about full. It will take me a couple of days to get through all of the blog materials...

First up, Sarah Palin. I have to admit to still not having a firm opinion on her.

There are things I like: I am impressed that she is almost kinda hot:-P. And she is clearly very tough and very independent...she has basically dismantled the Alaska Republican Party by rooting out all of the old crooked guys, and she seems to fit into McCain's image as "maverick." She also shut down one of the worst Federal pork barrel projects in the country, which fits right into another of McCain's causes. Her family story (even with the knocked up daughter) is tremendous, right down to her husband being a steel-working snowmobile racer.

There are things that I don't personally like, but that many people will: Socially, she is SUPER conservative. Totally non-negotiable pro-guns and pro-life.

And then there is her relative inexperience. Be careful, Democrats...THIS IS A TRAP!!! She is younger than Obama, and has very, very little foreign policy experience (I wouldn't say that she has absolutely none, though...she governs a border state.) However, she has more executive experience and a more concrete record as a reformer than Obama does. What's the upshot? That her experience level is pretty comparable to Obama's: which is to say "Not much".

Here is where that is a problem for Democrats. For all the publicity it gets, virtually no one votes for a President because of the VP. So, any criticism of Palin for being inexperienced is going to stick to Obama much more than it sticks to McCain through her.

Fabulous quote of the day goes to Chuck Schumer, senator from New York "Certainly the choice of Palin puts to rest any argument about inexperience on the Democratic team and while Palin is a fine person, her lack of experience makes the thought of her assuming the presidency troubling." So, which is it, Chuck...are we taking that argument off the table, or are we putting it right back on the table? Obama actually distanced himself from this comment in particular very quickly.

The one thing that has surprised me is the seemingly negative reaction by women. You can dislike her, but to be "offended" is patently ridiculous. And further, anyone who thinks this was intended to court disaffected Hillary Clinton voters is off of his/her rocker. No one who supported Hillary Clinton is going to vote for John McCain because he picked a vehemently Pro-Life female running mate. This move was aimed almost entirely at the base of his own party: evangelical Southern, Western and Midwestern Christians that are somewhat suspicious of McCain.

And while her gender was certainly a factor in her selection, who was the obviously better male candidate that he passed over? Tom Ridge? Mitt Romney? Tim Pawlenty? All have some attraction, but they are all far from perfect, and none speak to the party's base. Bobby Jindal? He would have taken the same exact criticism, only it would have been that McCain picked him just because he is a minority. Joe Liberman? The campaign would have been over before the convention even finished. I don't feel like he really reached on this one...she is an extraordinarily popular governor with an independent streak that appeals to his core voting block. Being a woman certainly helped, but to claim that she was picked solely for that reason is unfair to her, unfair to McCain, and unfair to women politicians.

I don't think that the teenage pregnancy is going to be an issue...she seems to have deflected that, and Troopergate isn't gonna stick, either ("Are we really taking a governor to task for wanting to fire a state trooper that tasered an 11 year old boy to get back at his ex-wife?").

She does, however, have a certain legitimacy bar to hurdle over. She has to prove that she "belongs" on this stage. Obama has no resume either, but he has passed that legitimacy hurdle by looking and sounding the part, and she needs to do the same. It will be harder for her: he has had an 18 month campaign to get used to this...she has to jump right in...but if she passes that threshold, it will be an outstanding pick. If not...Dan Quayle (although, we should note that George HW Bush won that race easily anyway.)

Along with that is the national press. She has yet to be vetted by the nationals, and that could very well turn up some things we haven't heard about. I say that Troopergate will be a non-factor...but that goes out the window if there is more to it than we know now.

So...I am taking a "wait and see". I don't particularly like her social politics, but I think I like her, and I really want to like her. What I am waiting on is to just see if she looks out of place on this stage. She will speak this week, and probably do a lot more press in the next week and a half that will answer that question for us.

Regardless...McCain has managed to spice the race up a bit, which is really about the most you can hope for from a Vice President.


brandy said...

I guess I'm off my rocker. I believe that part of her appeal to McCain was her gender. It's already showing up in the support she has garnered from Hillary supporters. A head PUMA was on CNN saying that they want a women in office. Period. I obviously don't think that's the way to use your vote, and I do think logical people should be able to see the clear distinctions between Clinton and Palin, but there is some women out there will will vote for her only because she is a woman.

Also, you can tell that their goal is to reach Hillary Clinton voters. Listen to Palin speak the high praises of Hillary- she continually makes references to her and invites comparison. Doing so is just one more way to get the die hard, hold out Hillary voters.

Accidentally Me said...

Brandy - Her gender is definitely part of the decision...but she is not going to swing any Hillary voters. We always have to be careful about what people tell pollsters after an emotional event and what they actually do on election day. By the time the election rolls around, I would be shocked if there were any substantial number of die-hard Hillary supporters that actually showed up to vote for McCain.

Ally said...

I pretty much agree with everything you wrote:) And a CNN anchor was being so ridiculously bias last night that I could feel my blood pressure rising. Among other comments, she suggested that Palin was an awful mother for subjecting her pregnant teen to the scrutiny of a campaign. Please.

Still just me said...

I live around a lot of conservative men, all voters. What they are seeing is a woman who has a baby with down's syndrome, (I think), and a pregnant, unwed, teenage daughter. Although I don't agree with the statements I hear, most are wondering where her real commitments are, and that they should be with her family. They feel she has enough on her hands at home and shouldn't have accepted the possiblity of VP.