Whether John McCain is aware of it or not, he has painted himself and the RNC into a corner with his choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
On the face of it, the choice in and of itself makes no political sense beyond “get the women voters.” But Hillary Clinton supporters who may have swung McCain (other than those who were Republican to begin with) will likely find little in common between Clinton and Palin other than their gender. Obama will not be afraid to use Hillary to point that out. Nor will they take much convincing, if this morning’s USA Today poll is anything to go by.
John McCain is 72 years old. This is a concern, and one that the RNC has worked hard to keep voters from focusing on too hard. Do Republicans really want the “one heart beat away” person to be a 44 year old beauty queen whose experience consists of two years of governing a low population state with next to no foreign policy experience? After making such a case about Obama’s lack of the same?
It smacks of pandering and gimmicky politics. The Republicans are trying to win this race on substance, saying that Obama is nothing more than flash. How can they possibly spin the Sarah Palin choice as anything but all style no substance?
It was a rush choice to counteract Biden. Sen. McCain’s “vetting process” consisted of a phone call last Sunday afternoon and a two hour interview with Palin in person on Thursday, then announcing on Friday morning. He knows little more about her than we do. He obviously wasn’t aware of “Troopergate”, as it’s now being called (and for the love of all that’s holy….can we PLEASE drop the “gate” off every scandal that comes along? It originated because it was the second half of a hotel name, not a ‘gate’ to a scandal!), because if he did, I’m not sure he would’ve made the choice he did make. It seems as though it was a rush to get SOMEONE on the ticket before the RNC and to counteract the big noise made by Joe Biden.
If all of these points lead the RNC to reject Sarah Palin as a viable candidate for VP…McCain will be forced to recant his nom and choose someone more appropriate. This will hurt both the party and his electability. John McCain has taken a huge gamble on his VP pick.
Say what you will about John McCain’s splashy VP choice; she’s not the “safe” pick. While pundits and insiders were whispering names like Romney, Huckabee and Ridge, no one expected the little known, still wet behind the ears governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.
There are those among the punditry who are saying that it’s an effort to reach disenfranchised Hillary supporters. They’re right. Where they’re wrong is assuming it will work. Here’s why:
While I respect John McCain’s willingness to go for the unknown quantity in his pick, I have to wonder at his reasoning. His campaign has been hammering at Obama’s “lack of experience” since day one. So his choice of running mate surprised me, to say the least. Considering he’s 72 years old as of today, Sarah Palin taking over as president because of McCain’s death is a very real possibility, should they get elected. Does experience only matter if you’re elected POTUS, as opposed to inheriting the job?
Although she shows a very strong ethical track record (and I DO applaud that), she has had precisely 2 years experience as governor of a remote state with a population of 670,000 (smaller than some US cities) whose chief economic concern is….you guessed it! OIL! Add to this the lowest conviction rate and highest per capita rate of rapes of any US state, no foreign policy dealings, the fact that Sarah is firmly anti-choice, and her own rather shady history (see article), I have to wonder…. Does John McCain really believe that Hillary’s base is so stupid? That they’ll be taken in that easily? That any strong woman with a loud voice will do? If so, then Sen. Obama was precisely right last night. John McCain just doesn’t get it.
Women who voted for Hillary did so not just because she’s a woman (although I won’t lie; for a lot of women it did factor in). Women who voted for Hill did so because Hillary shares their values. John McCain seems to be under the impression that any pair of x chromosomes in high heels fits that bill. Frankly, I’m insulted. And I encouraged the League of Women voters in an email to express to Mr. McCain just how condescending and out of touch his attitude toward women really is. The days of dangling something shiny in front of a woman to get her favor are long past. Mr. McCain, I’m embarrassed on your behalf.