Governor Palin’s debut

Sarah Palin’s speech last night was pretty much made to order: she scrupulously avoided all (well, most) of the really controversial stuff, and instead beat the drumbeat of family values and small town Americana. The questions that swirl around her will only intensify across the next few days, though, with the really big wild-card being whether there any other surprises in her past that the McCain campaign failed to discover.

And there may well be. But nothing that’s surfaced so far is likely to be damaging, despite the growing speculation. In fact, a lot of those “issues” in Palin’s past are likely to redound to the GOP’s favor. The “Troopergate” question, for example: Palin may have crossed the line, but the cop she was targeting was clearly completely out of control, and the details of the incident are unlikely to win her anything but electoral sympathy, regardless of what the law says. And as to the speculation on her/her daughter’s baby: do the Democrats really believe there’s serious upside to pursuing this? Based on what we know now, nothing that’s occurred in the Palin household is likely to disturb the voters of Red State America. If anything, they’ll rally around her more fervently.

And that’s likely to be the crux of the matter. Palin has virtually no chance of pulling any but the most diehard/confused of Hilary Clinton’s followers into her orbit. But she has energized the Republican base in a way that I suspect the mainstream media (and certainly the left) has yet to fully understand. There are many reasons why we’ve had only two Democratic presidents since Richard Nixon took over. One of them is the Dems’ perennial tendency to underestimate their opponents. In focusing on the Alaska governor’s experience, they run the risk of falling into the same trap.  McCain is betting that Palin will ignite the NASCAR circuits this fall, ensuring that the GOP base is mobilized and in the voting booths this November. From what I’ve seen so far, he’s probably right.  Whether this can be done without diminishing McCain’s chances of clawing enough centrist votes to win:  that’s the big question.

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4 Responses to “Governor Palin’s debut”

  1. Brian Says:

    A couple of problems with the above:

    -She didn’t avoid the “really controversial stuff” since she’s failed to make a case why she’s even qualified to sit on my HOA board–let alone VP of US. This is the real controversy and bastard babies and underaged teens getting knocked up is not.

    -The dirt might be in her background, but the shit is right under our nose. No foreign policy experience, no significant budget or macroeconomic experience and very little time on the job as a Governor.

    -She has *not* accomplished a unification or solidification of the Right. It’s widely reported in even the most conservative outlets just how difficult it is to digest and accept this selection at this time. Not to say she can’t pull it off, but I see this being nothing more than a convenient, but failed attempt by McCain to draw the spotlight off him for a bit (old people need rest) and a joke of a pander to the female vote that did not work and, in fact, appears to have fractured the base McCain desperately needs to shore up a failing campaign for presidency.

    Finally, it’s far too unfair of the McCain camp to pull this bullshit “you’re being mean and discounting the greatness of the first female VP pick in the Republican party” line of crap. A) welcome to the fucking party. Dems did this long ago. Being second is never really much of a story. B) If you stick an unknown on the national scene for the 2nd most important job in the nation, aren’t a few fucking questions reasonable? You know, like “who the fuck are you and why do you think you can do this job?” Oh no! How horrible. Just goes to show how scared McCain’s camp is that someone in the media will find out more than they have about this PTA, er, hockey mom first.

    And for sure finally, Sarah Palin is, in my opinion, no better than John Edwards. In running for a position for which there exists decisions to be made that will impact the future of the free world and the stability of Earth, you have to reconcile your honest ability to meet the measure of the job. At this point Palin’s probably just about completed the indoctrination phase of her biggest job in her career–and now she’s qualified to be VP of the nation? This is no different than knowingly running for President with an affair in your back pocket. Both are reckless, egotistical and make a mockery of our democracy. Both should be ashamed of themselves and head back to the holes from which they came.

  2. David Williams Says:

    Point by point at ya:

    –totally agree that she’s failed to make the case. And the case is pretty much impossible to make, so why try. Far easier to just sling red meat at the convention.
    –totally agree that she’s underqualified. sorry if I didn’t make that clear.
    –any pundit on the Right who hasn’t completely lost all objectivity is going to be worried, absolutely. They can see the downside of McCain’s gamble far better than the Republican rank and file. But I think despite the risks, the gamble will pay off–it increases McCain’s chances of winning the election for reasons that have a lot to do with the structure of the American electorate and the nature of presidential campaigns. That’s my essential contention.
    –totally agree that the McCain camp’s attempt to shield Palin is bullshit.
    –and I don’t blame Palin for running–I wouldn’t quite put this on the same level as Edwards. It’d be unreasonable to expect someone to turn a VP nod down. I blame McCain for optimizing his campaign at the expense of his legacy.

  3. Ben Says:

    Holly Molly, you guys are w/o a clue! If Palin doesn’t qualify for a VP, then Saint Obama sure as heck doesn’t qualify for President. If you’d got the earplugs out of your ears you, you would have heard all you needed to hear about her qualifications (as compared to Obama):
    1. She’s run a business, not one but two. Obama – nothing.
    2. She’s run a town. A small one, admittedly. Obama – nothing.
    3. She’s currently very successfully running a huge state. Obama – nothing.
    Look, if this was a job in the Legislative branch, I’d agree, Obama being a lawyer is more qualified. But this is an EXECUTIVE postion, and Palin has over a decade of Executive experience. Obama has 0.

    What more is there to say?

    And as for foreign policy experience, a few months of running around the world does not an experienced diplomat make. And picking Biden, who’s in the pocket of the Mullah-connected British billionaire of Iranian extraction, makes the O-B ticket worse off then if Obama had picked his favorite Chicago Democratic Boss du jour.

    But you won’t listen, will you? You’re stuck in your partisan little universe, and no amount of actual facts will help you to see the truth of the situation. Oh well.

  4. Brian Says:

    Not being the owner of this site, I hope I don’t cross the line in response here.

    Ben, partisan seems to describe your post nicely. Honestly, is Palin the best the Republicans can put up at this point? My analysis is that she’s ready to be shaped into whatever distraction the McCain campaign requires at this moment, and that’s the extent of her real qualifications.

    To wit, your suggestion that it’s somehow we have an Obama-Palin matchup. It’s not. And McCain’s attempt to distract from the fact that you have in John McCain a vote for a continuation of the Bush clusterfuck for the next 4 years is completely obvious.

    Call it a Hail Mary pass, a half-court shot at the buzzer or just outright desperation, but at this point the Republican party owes it to itself to do a little self-reflection. It’s obvious the party is raising a big middle finger to the party constituents and the nation as a whole by making a mockery of this election and continuing an attempt to finish off what’s left of this great country.

    McCain brings nothing new to the game (and Palin nothing more than a “Look a spider!” distraction from the real issues on the table). This in the face of national poll after national poll that shows over 2/3s of the country believes the country’s been run off the rails by the Bush Administration. How can you defend this? I almost wonder if you’re just winding us up as some sort of troll.

    If you’d like, I’ll indulge 1-3 above even though it’s moot.

    1- A car wash? Are you kidding me? She didn’t even file the right paperwork and fees and then went on to send herself an involuntary dissolution letter. SNL couldn’t write this shit.

    2- Sorry. You’re kidding me right? First, she RAN it and secondly, I think the city hall is in the same building as the general store where you turn in your gold nuggets. Give me a break. 7,000 rednecks-on-ice isn’t managing a nation and it’s not worthy of putting on a resume for VP of the nation.

    3- Obama nothing? Not sure I follow. You do know what senators do, don’t you? Seems a bit more responsibility than making sure Cabelas re-signs as the title sponsor for the I-Killed-A-Dog Race.

    No offense to Alaskans. I gather they are hard working people that seem to find peace in a small part of a big world way up north. And that’s fine. By definition a simpler life.

    I’ve said it many times, Palin and Alaska are a long way from Washington DC. Let me ask you this–and this will require *you* to take off your partisan hat–given a blank sheet of paper, is this the candidate qualification you would have specified? If so, you’re different than McCain who very clearly suggested a much more qualified candidate in the offing. As did Rove.

    I come with little bias as I could have been persuaded, given the right platform and the right candidates to vote Republican this election. But the lies and the manipulation and distortion are really unbecoming of your party. It’s fucked up the nation, and in many ways the world and, at the very least, they owe this election a fair presentation–if not an outright apology.