Tuesday, September 2, 2008

On Sarah Palin

Having taken the weekend off, we fear we have nothing original to add to the conversation surrounding John McCain selecting Sarah Palin.

So, please indulge us while we make a couple of surely unoriginal points that others have surely already made, and surely better – but ones that strike us in Palin as McCain’s running mate.

First, there was no question that selecting Palin would loose the hounds of the angry and hateful Left. It was our first thought when reading about the pick. And it is not pretty. And it is not commendable. And it is not beneficial to the Obama campaign. Exposing the malignancy of the angry and hateful Left may have been reason 1,238 for selecting Palin. But in the end, if she proves a credible campaigner and her experience and biography and judgment and temperament as displayed in her time in public service prove acceptable to voters, it may be a much more important reason for a McCain-Palin win than it was for McCain having selected her to begin with.

Palin has a hurdle to clear here, simply because she is unknown. But if that hurdle is cleared, the Democrats will end up greatly regretting the treatment Palin has received from those on the Left, including bloggers, people in the media and even other Democratic politicians. You don’t go after candidates’ families and expect voters to respect or support your party for long.

Second, when Joe Biden was announced as Obama’s running mate, one clear role that was planned for him was to be the attack dog, going after McCain. Which is a smart strategy if it can be pulled off. Because if the presidential nominee on one ticket has to spend time responding to and engaging the vice presidential nominee of the other ticket, it takes him down a notch. If McCain has to spend time fending off Joe Biden (why does it just feel more natural to include both his first and last name? We really don’t know) he looks more like VP material to some extent.

Interestingly, the Palin pick creates the same dynamic for Palin-Obama discussion and comparison. Many people seemed to think that having Palin on the ticket would take the experience card away from the McCain campaign. We disagree; it makes it a very necessary discussion to have. Because “experience” is something that really is a legitimate issue to be addressed by both Palin and Obama, Obama has to answer questions comparing their experience. It takes him down a notch. How much? Maybe not that much, but if it continues over a long period of time, it could have an effect.

In the end, the two tickets are inversions of each other. The long-serving Senator with foreign policy gravitas is presidential nominee on the one and the vice presidential nominee on the other. The new-to-the-scene fresh face is the presidential nominee on the one and the vice presidential nominee on the other. Whatever arguments that are raised about experience will highlight which ticket values experience in the top of the ticket.

But that’s enough. Again, others will have written more important things about Palin and how her election affects the race.

As for us? Our mind is reeling from the one-liners and photoshop possibilities that having Palin in the race creates. Time to buckle down and get back to what we do best.

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