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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Veep 2: Sarah Palin

Update: Yes, I wondered what sort of qualifications as president Gov. Palin has, but it didn't quite bother me too strongly in a "you cynical bastard" (first comment) sort of way. Maybe, this is a bit telling, but over time, I and others will wonder about that, and strongly at times too. As to her being against the bridge, well she said it, but better to not trust what some say at face value.

I haven't really been keep too close track of the McCain veep sweepstakes, but his pick today surely did surprise. A woman with less experience (even in years) than Obama from a firmly red state, though recent scandals made congressional races much more competitive. Sure, there is some hope she might appeal to the conservative leaning Hillary vote, but Gov. Palin (no relation to Michael, I assume) is rather conservative. As in anti-abortion, pro-drilling, pro-intelligent design, and so forth.

So, no wonder some thinks the choice is dumb -- it robs the one knock they have on Obama with some juice (experience) and to what effect? It is a cliche, see Letterman jokes, but many do worry about McCain's age. This is his back-up? Likewise, though she has some good government (including McCain-esque fiscal conservative ones ... she was against the "bridge to nowhere") bona fides, there is also that ongoing scandal, even if some suggest the guy involved is an asshole.

[As to the experience thing, apparently, he determined there was not enough traction there, so took a page from the new and different playbook of his opponent. This makes sense, but still doesn't mean it hurts a core talking point.]

It might not really have enough bite, especially since she is likable enough (came off well in her acceptance appearance), and even those who are firmly opposed to her loyal to the base conservative bona fides argue she has been a "decent governor." Thus, one Nation commentator argues it was a pretty good choice, while others as a whole appreciate having a new face who actually is pretty good at her job been put forth as a positive. The fact the choice boils down not to "this is gosh awful" but "she's isn't good for this job, and her views don't work" (admittedly, some are gosh awful), is worthy of some thanks. If we are stuck with too conservative politicians, ones like her will do best.

One comment to the latter piece summarizes her positives pretty well:
[Gov. Palin] going to be a very humanizing and appealing figure to associate with McCain in some very deep or instinct-based ways. People in the broad public are going to respond very, very positively to a younger, attractive, family-friendly woman in a now-wifelike VP position next to McCain. All that anyone seems to be able to complain about with her is that she is a former small-town beauty queen from Alaska who made it to Mayor and then Governor. Oh, and she likes fishing and dancing at the inaugural ball, too. Palin just replaced Mrs. McCain in the broad public's mind as a possible First Lady and, like that or not, this is going to be a very big factor in the election. A highly successful and appealing super-mom resonates with the middle class in a big way and we are going to see that show up in stronger polling for McCain, who has otherwise had a real asshole image in need of softening.

On the whole, it is not as bad as some suggest, but the experience thing hurts (at the end of the day, it is why many like the guy, and this only emphasizes his age too), while some will also point to some of her more rather conservative positions to underline there are real policy differences here. So, a nod of respect, but on the whole, probably a good thing for Obama.

[I'd add we also have, if not her, who, question here too. Romney? Lots of negatives there. Tom Ridge? Maybe, but he just might be too 'liberal' for the party's base, and he needs all his party's support he can get. And, they have stronger loyalty oath moves over there. And, he needed someone younger etc. to freshen up the ticket. Another stolid white guy would be hard-pressed to do so. To the limited degree veeps matter, I'm not sure on balance another pick would have helped him much more.]