Friday, August 29, 2008

Welcome to the Palindrome

I'll have more on this tonight, but clearly I'm pleased with the pick of Sarah Palin. It completely sucks the air out of Obama's big moment and introduces an exciting newcomer with true reformer credentials onto the national scene. Very well played, Sen. McCain.


Gino said...

a home run.

Anonymous said...

Props on the call. You were out in front of that by 3 weeks. I am not so sure Palin was his best choice, but she isn't a bad one. Romney certainly would have been worse. Personally, I thought if he was going to play the woman card, Maverick would have picked Hutchison. I am not sure that just any female is going to sway Hillary supporters, and on the surface, Palin looks like much more of a token pick than Hutchinson. As Ramesh Ponnuru just noted: "Can anyone say with a straight face that Palin would have gotten picked if she were a man?" Also, Palin negates McCain's most effective charge against Obama; That he lacks experience. Henceforth, it will be easy to dismiss McCain as being disingenuous when he argues that Obama is too inexperienced for the office. And this is really brought home by the fact that McCain's is 73 and has had cancer 3 or 4 times. Objectively, I simply don't get the pick.


Mark Heuring said...

I'll try to explain it tonight, Rich. It's very sly on a number of levels.

Anonymous said...

More if not most importantly Rich, it (the choice of Palin and the timing of the announcement)deflates the Hot Air Balloon that Obama blew up in Denver last night. Any sizzle from anything that happened is gone, or at the very least greatly diminished. Now we get the Republican Convention and attempts by Democrats to smear....Momentum plays an important factor, and McCain has swiped it from Obama in a way a pick of "Good and Pawlenty" or Romney never could have.

Take off the training wheels kiddies, it's going to be a long ride to November.

By the way Rich, one more question, Do you really think that someone of Obama's experience level would have vaulted to the spotlight so quickly if he wasn't an African American ? An honest question!

Anonymous said...

Wonder who Goose is going to vote for? :)

Mark Heuring said...


Will try to post on this tonight, but here's a few quick thoughts.

1. Hutchison wasn't a factor. She's not that impressive and not quick on her feet. McCain has to know that.

2. Re Ponnuru: hard to say. She had a male political doppelganger, Bobby Jindal. McCain thought Palin had more upside, I guess.

3. Re experience: Palin has more executive level experience than Obama, or Biden or even McCain for that matter. Obama can't really play that one. I don't think McCain is Paul Tsongas, healthwise. He'll be able to answer the bell.

There's a lot more that Palin does, especially in re shoring up support among the base. Pro-life, pro-military, pro-drilling, life NRA, hunter. She brings a lot of red meat that way.

Anonymous said...

Um - seriously? Grandpa Cancerman picks an utterly unqualified candidate in a transparent ploy to appeal to disgruntled ex-Hillary voters who are supposed to be too stupid figure that out - and this is a good pick? What would a bad pick have been?

The poster formerly known as SA.

Hammerswing75 said...

Pro-life, pro-drilling, exuberantly pro-American, hunter, athlete, etc... There will be some who will say that she was picked because she is a woman. Certainly that carries some upside. But conservatives would not be thrilled about this on the basis of her gender. They are thrilled because she is one of us. She "gets it" when so many pols simply don't. Now that is my impression and there's a lot that I don't know about her. But everything that I do know suggests, "WIN!"

Mark Heuring said...

Grandpa Cancerman? You can do better than that sub Huffington Post level name calling, good sir. And you'd better be careful with the "utterly unqualified" stuff when the top of your ticket is a guy who has zero executive experience and who has only been stopping by his day job for the last two years to pick up his mail.

The starboard side is happy, the portside is grumpy. Draw your own conclusions.

Right Hook said...

Uncle Rush does a nice compare and contrast of Palin vs Obama with respect to qualifications and Obama comes out on the short end.

He also threw out the question of what could Obama learn from Palin as opposed to what Palin could learn from Obama...

Mark is right with regard to BHO supporters needing to be careful about suggesting that someone else is unqualified when their guy has such a thin resume, especially considering that Obama with his inferior qualifications is running at the top of his ticket and Palin is content with the #2 position on hers.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure what you are basing your opinion on regarding the grumpiness of the left. Every Dem I know is giving each other high fives over the Palin pick. And we were doing that before this Rasmussen poll came out this evening:

(Rasmussen Poll Findings:
On the critical question, "With Palin As Vice-Presidential Nominee, Are You More Or Less Likely To Vote For McCain," there's a striking result. Among those already for McCain, 68 percent say it makes them more likely to vote for him; only 6 percent say less; and 23 percent said no impact. Among those already for Obama, Palin made only 9 percent of them more likely to switch to McCain, 59 percent less likely, and 30 percent said it would make no difference.

But among the critical undecideds, the Palin pick made only 6 percent more likely to vote for McCain; and it made 31 percent less likely to vote for him. 49 percent said it would have no impact, and 15 percent remained unsure. More to the point: among undecideds, 59 percent said Palin was unready to be president. Only 6 percent said she was. If the first criterion for any job is whether you're ready for it, this is a pretty major indictment of the first act of McCain's presidential leadership.

One other striking finding. If McCain thought he could present Palin as a moderate, he was wrong. A whopping 69 percent view her as conservative (37 percent as very conservative), and only 13 percent see her as moderate.

From this first snap-shot (and unsettled) impression, Palin has helped McCain among Republicans, left Democrats unfazed, but moved the undecideds against him quite sharply. I totally understand why.)

If McCain's sole objective was energizing the base, then this works. Personally, I think he screwed the pooch in a big way.
And just think, the Palin/Troopergate story, her hiring of a sexual harasser to replace the highly respected civil servant that refused to fire her ex-brother-in-law, her endorsement of the Obama energy plan, Her recent taped interview in which she called Hillary a whiner, and her recent retraction of a blatant lie she told to try to cover up Troopergate haven't even reached the vox populi yet.

This pick was such a cynical and obvious play on gender politics that it was too clever by half. And if you think I am wrong, ask the people in the GOP crowd in Pennsylvania today why they were booing Palin when she trotted out the Ferraro/HRC encomia. (They must have forgotten to give the crowd the daily talking points.)

As for the experience issue, Obama doesn't have to beat anyone over the head with it. But he can point out McCain's hypocrisy on the issue when and if McCain is dumb enough to use it from this point going forward.

This is not spin: I am anything but grumpy about this pick.


Anonymous said...

I almost forgot about your question about whether someone of Obama's experience level could have vaulted to his current position so quickly if he wasn't an African American.
Given the career trajectories of Abe Lincoln, Jack Kennedy and George W. Bush, I would have to answer yes, I do. All of these men achieved similar rapid climbs up the American Cursus Honorum, and they all did so without identity politics playing a part in their rise. Admittedly, other factors, both historical and personal, played a role in their rapid rise, but that would be true of virtually anyone who has risen to the highest level of elective office. We could do this all day. Would John McCain be where he is if he hadn't married Cindy Hemsley? That, too, is a fair question. But I really think your original question was off base, because you are comparing apples and oranges. You cannot seriously compare Obama's nomination to Palin's appointment. Obama just did what the entire GOP failed to do for the last 16 years: He took down one of the largest, best financed, most seasoned and most influential political machines in the history of this country. And he wasn't appointed by one person. He was nominated by millions. Did his race play a part in that? Yes, of course. But it was only one factor, and a double-edged one at that. In much the same way as the Bush name was for W, or the Kennedy money and name were for JFK. And I am not trying to diminish Palin's accomplishments in Alaska. Her rise to the governorship has been impressive, but her appointment by John McCain has about as much to do with her ability to lead the country as Milli Vanilli's Emmy had to do with their singing ability. My goodness, it now appears that she wasn't even properly vetted.


Mark Heuring said...


I didn't ask you the question about Obama and race. Another commenter did.

I was basing my argument on the stuff I read yesterday in the blogosphere. Most of the criticisms of Palin were the type that I suspect will backfire. You are obviously reading different things than I am. Time will tell.

I wouldn't put too much stock in a Rasmussen poll that comes out only 24 hours after the selection. The numbers will change after the Republicans have their convention, just as Obama got a bounce from his convention. Independents are, by their nature, independent and it's not wise to generalize too much about what they believe because they tend to land all over the political spectrum.

I was at the State Fair today and met several Minnesota blogger colleagues (a local radio station has a show that features prominent Minnesota bloggers and they were broadcasting live at the Fair) and I can tell you this - people were still ecstatic over the pick.

Also, the business about McCain selling Palin as a moderate is a straw man. There's no reason to believe that was his intent. She is a conservative with libertarian leanings on a few issues and among Republicans that's well known. The pick was for the base first, but she could help some in other areas. She won't get hard-core feminists, but the narrative of her life will resonate with a lot of suburban women. If McCain wins half of the suburban female vote, Obama is toast.

Bottom line, and I'm sure you'll agree about this, is that the election isn't Obama vs. Palin. It's Obama vs. McCain. You can have a person with light experience in a subordinate role. The Democrats are proposing having someone with light experience in the top role. We'll see how it plays out, but that should be clear.

As for the scandal mongering in Alaska, McCain had her vetted. She's made political enemies up in Alaska because she's a reformer. From what I understand, some of this is the Empire striking back on her. If there were really anything to this, McCain would have gone with T-Paw (who it emerges was his second choice). In the end, I'm guessing that dog won't hunt. But again, time will tell.