Saturday, August 30, 2008


Palin [Rick Brookhiser]

I have not had a TV to watch all week, though I have had internet, so I have followed the Palin pick entirely through the medium of the Corner.

I share the initial reservations of David, and to a lesser extent, Jay. The Palin pick shows a low opinion of the vice presidency, and it shows conservatives in a bad light.

1. The Vice Presidency. Either McCain thinks the war on terror isn't serious, or he thinks the vice-presidency isn't. Since the former is obviously untrue, it must be the latter. McCain is certainly following a very old conception of the job. One nineteenth century veep was reputedly so underutilized that he kept a tavern in his home state. But that is not our conception. Vice Presidents have grown in clout and responsibility. In the last fifty years, four former vice presidents have run for president (Nixon, Mondale, elder Bush, Gore), two of them successfully, while since Carter/Mondale, veeps have been given more and more to do. McCain, bless him, intends to do everything himself. Good luck! Perhaps the Palin pick is a sly diss both of Obama/Biden and Bush/Cheney. Palin will go to funerals.

2. Conservatives. Palin will also be assigned to pacify conservatives. On the evidence of the numerous emails reprinted here, that will be easily done. Reader after reader said that the base was now energized. You would have thought the base was energized by being in a war. If not, perhaps we need a new base.

We have shown the same color-by-numbers mindset that liberals did when they rallied to Obama. Liberals love Obama because he is a Numinous Negro. Conservatives love Palin because she has a Downs baby and an M-16. For both sides, that is all on earth ye know and all ye need to know. You might call it mystical and childish.

May I be so wrong that a hundred harpies will pluck my eyeballs.


Dude said...

You guys think I've gone pinko but I can't believe any of you really think Palin was a strong choice for the ticket. In a year when a Republican candidate should have no chance of winning, I was really beginning to believe that McCain had a chance of beating Obama but I think picking this caricature for veep has basically erased all of his strengths in the upcoming general election. It reeks of desperation. He is really going to have to sweet talk the moderates to get them on his side down the stretch. Reagan taught us that the wishy-washy will side with the more charismatic candidate. I think Obama is going to widen his lead in the polls this fall. People cry when this man speaks. Plus his choice of Biden makes up for his own weaknesses and gives the Dems a well-rounded ticket heading into the general election whereas five-time cancer recipient McCain is lining up mystery milfs to solve world peace in his absence. I just don't get it.

E said...

I think the pick is precisely the kind of evil genius that drives Democrats and pundits crazy. Her lack of experience generally points to the few things that she is really strong on -- energy, reform, fiscal conservatism and "family values" -- which are the issues McCain needs to highlight and the (only) ones on which he can win.

McCain was going nowhere. The combination of rallying the base by picking a conservative, focusing the discourse on his winning issues, and making lack of experience something that everyone is now talking about, was a winning political move. And now each of us must guess whether McCain will live or die.

I like the pick. It makes the McCain candidacy relevant. He was going to lose and now might win. That is what the pick was about, and what it should have been about.

Tom said...

I didn’t take it as a desperation pick. I think it was McCain being McCain and doing his own thing. Romney would have been a safe pick. He could have held his own against Biden and shored up conservative voters. McCain just doesn’t like Romney and unlike JFK who swallowed the bitter pill, McCain said the hell with it and went his own way like always.

I think what I like most about the pick is her perspective on this environmental religion. She can make the case why we should drill and how the people most impacted geographically are most in favor.

I think we can all agree that she has weaknesses. Any of the front runners had questions, Romney the Mormon question, Thompson the grumpy old man, Huckabee the economic populist. It’s that you saw weaknesses in her moral positions and while those positions will be mocked in the media it will actually make her more popular with voters.

The biggest worry is whether she can withstand the media pressure and remain poised and articulate.

Obama is king of the coasts and a savior to his supporters, but I don't think it plays in middle America. Despite everything he still can't poll above 50% even in such a Democrat year. Zogby today has it McCain 47-45. I think the election was McCain's with any red meat conservative VP choice. Obama needs a news event between now and November that shows that he is the better man. McCain just needs to be McCain.

Dude said...

I'll admit I don't follow the political minutia as much as you fellows. I checked out the Zogby poll and was surprised to see a whopping 22% of Hillary supporters are now supporting McCain. I guess I gave too much credit to woman as independent thinkers. If it's that easy to get fems to vote Republican then I think we could have put Tricia on the ticket.

It also shows, in the four-way horserace, that twice as many GOPers (8%) are crossing the aisle than Dems (4%). In what promises to be a tight election, these numbers are meaningful.

I do think that Palin will become a folk heroine next week at the convention. There's nothing not to like about the woman and much to admire. I can see where giving her a keynote speech would have been a great way to allow her star to rise. I just hope that putting her on the ticket isn't overreaching.

Sir Saunders said...

I think Jesus would have picked Palin.

Dude said...

quick edit: I meant to say twice as many dems are voting for McCain than gops voting for Obama. It was meant as good news.

Tom said...

I didn't see the 23% of Hilary voters going to McCain until Dude's reported it. I guess since Democrats are more invested in identity politics it makes sense that a conservative minority or female candidate would have an easier time being elected than a liberal one. They would retain their ideological base and pick up a greater percentage of the people only interested in facades.

There may be some calculation among Hillary supporters too. If McCain wins he will be 76 in 2012. The Democrats will have soured on Obama and realized their mistake in not nominating Hillary. She would probably have a clear shot at the nomination and a good chance to unseat a tired old guy. If McCain doesn't win, Hillary is 69 on election day 2016 and irrelevant after 8 years of Obama.

Post a Comment