Has He Lost His Marbles?

Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska is your Republican candidate for VP.  You can quickly dig up stories on here so I won’t rehash but quite frankly, I can’t see how anyone would honestly call this a good move for McCain’s campaign.

Short-term, it will move the DNC convention to the background as the media try to figure out who this Palin character is.  I remember reading a front-page WSJ story on her last month, which pretty much disqualified her from my calculus so this kind of left-field pick will occupy air-time for the next week and a half.

Long-term, McCain has seriously miscalculated and frankly, I see many more ways this blows up in his face than helps him.  I think the McCain campaign have bought too much into the “disaffected Hillary voter”/PUMA hype and even there, it’s hard to see how Palin will bring those voters over.  Hillary’s voters were probably not social conservatives and Palin’s pro-life position and conservative stance in general will make biology the only thing she’ll have in common with this over-hyped subset of Hillary supporters.

I’m watching her walk onstage for the first time now and all I can say is, wow.  She looks really green, her smile still too plastered and unnatural, her voice doesn’t project so she sounds small — wow.  Her speech is now going more into Obama territory than he has — saying that risk sometimes is necessary and serving the common good — she’s making his case.  Incredible.   She is now presenting John McCain as a change of the status quo in Washington but against Obama & Biden’s attacks of 90% agreement with Bush, I can’t see Palin gaining traction here.  My point is being made as Palin tries to get the rub from Hillary and the crowd is completely flat because they HATE HILLARY CLINTON — how is she going to win over Hillary voters in large numbers?  Wow, after watching Biden’s introduction last weekend, Palin makes McCain and the Republicans look completely minor league — the live crowd reception was lukewarm, at best.

Campaigning in a presidential election in battleground stakes is a universe away from Alaska.  Palin, as of today, will be virtually useless in the swing states on her own; she will have to vastly improve and quickly.

From a partisan perspective, I have to admit that I am relieved.  Pawlenty was a very worrisome pick as he could have delivered Minnesota.  There was a chance Romney could have delivered Michigan.  Heck, if you just needed a pair of mammaries to make a play for disaffected Clintonites, Kay Bailey Hutchinson was an experienced senator, who while I think she’s an idiot, has the credentials that look good on face value and would require sustained attack to chip away at her.   Even Carly Fiorina had more oomph, despite the obvious vulnerability on her failure at H-P.

Short-term, this will accomplish the campaign’s objective of moving Obama and the DNC convention off the front page but even within the week, McCain’s campaign just created a lot of challenges for itself:

  1. As the live crowd reception today revealed, the campaign is going to have to work hard to build Palin up as presidential.  I’m listening to Tucker Bounds, national press secretary of the McCain campaign, mispronouncing Palin’s last name! With only 2 years of experience (2 years!), their job is cut out for them to be sure.  She is also under investigation by her own party in her home state and with the dirt-diggers out for her now in full force, these are dangerous waters.
  2. Perhaps more importantly and I really can’t believe they would shoot themselves in the foot to such a degree, THE MCCAIN CAMPAIGN HAS EFFECTIVELY OPENED UP THE AGE ISSUE FOR THE DEMOCRATS TO SAFELY BRING IT UP AGAIN AND AGAIN. McCain is 72 years old with a history of skin cancer.  She has to be vetted for POTUSA and there is no way that case can be made to anyone’s satisfaction once partisan considerations are put aside.
  3. The energy issue, as she is governor of Alaska, will be neutralized over the next few weeks by the Democrats back the Gang of 10 energy compromise and throw it back onto McCain to oppose it based on the big oil tax rollbacks.  So one of her main strengths is probably going to be a non-issue.
  4. They are pitching Hillary supporters but on the worst possible terms.  Many Hillary supporters opposed Barack Obama based on the idea that his experience was thin compared to the much more qualified female candidate, which is the story of many women’s lives — losing out to the “less-qualified” male.  McCain is now asking them to support a woman who has even less experience than Obama and to top it off, disagress with Hillary Clinton on almost every issue.  How are these Hillary holdouts supposed to vote for the Republicans without admitting that they only care about gender and nothing else?
  5. The McCain ticket has ZERO cachet on the economy now in an election where the economy is the biggest issue.  Wow.
  6. Joe Biden will serve as the attack dog for the Obama campaign but Palin is in a really weak position to attack Obama on his supposed weak points — foreign policy and experience.  Amazing.
  7. The media are trying to build up Palin for dramatic effect but anyone watching from TV got the impression that the crowd in Ohio were much more excited about McCain than Palin.  No one knows who she is and outside her conservative positions and gender, she brings zero star power to the ticket.

There are so many ways for this move to blow up in McCain’s face and handicap him for the election.  The fact that he felt compelled to take such a gamble (I would say the worse odds than drawing to an inside straight) suggests that McCain felt he could not win the election without a Hail Mary play, despite what the polls and spin are saying.

I’ve got to say that as a reflection of the decisions a prospective President McCain would make, I have no confidence in McCain as executive-in-chief.

P.S. — Saturday Night Live should have a field day as Palin bears some resemblance to Tina Fey, who incredibly enough, may or may not be older than Palin but it’s close.

P.P.S. — Talking heads are out in full force that Joe Biden has to pull his punches because ahem, she’s a girl.  And maybe he will.  But if the Obama campaign sicks Hillary Clinton on Palin, I almost feel sorry for the poor governor.

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One Response to “Has He Lost His Marbles?”

  1. The Enlightened American » Battling for Investment Survival Part 2: Tactics Says:

    [...] junkie, though I have managed to refrain from blogging about the election for some time (though this post, liveblogging Palin’s introduction, seems mostly prescient). But in danger of having my portfolio blow up in the same manner as McCain’s campaign, I [...]

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