Saturday, August 30, 2008
Sarah Palin is an interesting, audacious choice, by John McCain. I strongly suspect that before yesterday, most people did not know who Governor Sarah Palin was.
John McCain recognized that he is running against an historic opponent. Running against history is a difficult proposition, to be sure. Ask those who ran against Hillary and Obama. McCain, by choosing Sarah Palin, made his ticket historic. No matter who wins, this will be a first. He now brings this to the table.
This also gives John McCain a crack at the PUMA voters. Many of those who voted for Hillary Clinton, who loved Hillary Clinton, who voted for HER, will NOT vote for Obama. McCain is trying to make his candidacy more attractive and his hope is that they will vote for him instead of staying home or choosing a third party candidate.
Bigger than this, and seemingly lost on the press, is that Sarah Palin puts cultural conservatism back on the table. This is a very clear attempt to place someone on the ballot who can motive the Religious Right to come out and vote for him. Frankly, they have had great success running against gay marriage and abortion, and she helps them with this. McCain had no real issue to run on before Sarah Palin’s choice. The Bush legacy, something that the Obama campaign is going to tie to him, is not something that McCain wants to run on.
Governor Palin, for her part, seems to be an intelligent, very capable woman. Her speech in Dayton was fine. She showed great poise and was younger, more energetic voice than McCain.
She does bring down sides to this, however.
First, Sarah Palin is not Hillary Clinton and many women are going to be enraged by this as being perceived as being shallow and stupid. I have heard many women express disgust at this because they are seen as supporting Hillary because of gender as opposed to agenda. Her gender and her agenda made her an incredibly attractive candidate. Palin only brings gender to the table. Her agenda and Hillary’s agenda are pretty much mirror opposites.
Secondly, she is from Alaska and is very reflective of that state. She grew up there and is very acculturated to Alaskan culture which is not exactly the same as the mainland. Her husband is a commercial fishermen, they are both avid hunters, and her favorite meat is moose meat. They are part of a very unique culture filled with great people and great charm. It is also a different world and she might experience some major culture shock. The photograph of her in her office, dead bear and king crab is very much her, and very unique to that region. Alaska has a smaller population than the Louisville Metro area. It will be interesting to see how she plays in the rest of the country. She will be a novel candidate----but is novelty enough?
Then there is the ‘she doesn’t believe that global warming is being impacted by humans.’ Duh. Just great. We need another leader who doesn’t believe in science.
The question is going to be if Sarah Palin is a good choice. I would be very, very cautious if I were the Obama campaign to not underestimate this person and this ticket. Sarah Palin is a smart woman, very personable and poised, and brings cultural conservativism back on the table in a big way. People are asking if she’s the ‘next Dan Quayle.’ Dan Quayle won.