August 29th, 2008

McCain/Palin: young at heart

John McCain has announced the stunning choice of Sarah Palin for Vice President.

It’s stunning not only because she’s gorgeous. It’s stunning because it shows that John McCain isn’t quite as predictable and stuck in an old-white-guy rut as the opposition might want to paint him.

It’s hard to imagine George Bush, for example, making the same choice if he were in the same position. It supports McCain’s “maverick” status, his ability to think outside the box. This choice conveys a certain youthfulness of spirit/mind in McCain in addition to Palin’s actual youth, whereas Obama’s choice of Biden telegraphs a desire to play it safe and was a (dare I say it?) conservative pick (with a small “c”).

Palin is not the safe pick for McCain, because she’s open to (valid, I believe) criticism that she hardly has more experience than Obama. However, it’s also true that her experience in government is at least executive and managerial experience, which none of the other candidates have (Biden, for example, has been a Senator most of his adult life).

One oddity is that this is the race in which Alaska and Hawaii came of age. There’s never been a candidate—or even a serious contender—from either state. But now there’s one from each.

Neither VP pick had the conventional advantage of balancing the ticket in terms of geography. Delaware was already firmly in the Democratic camp, and Alaska was already leaning red. The balance involved is of a different sort: age/youth, experience/novice. The good news for the Republicans is that their slate has the person with the experience in the proper position: running for President.

Plus—although this is hardly important—it proves the McCain camp can keep a secret an awful lot better than Obama’s can.

11 Responses to “McCain/Palin: young at heart”

  1. driver Says:

    Actually, I think the demonstrated ability to keep a secret is very important for a team that will be in charge of national security. I share your enthusiasm.

  2. Bugs Says:

    If her background and career are relatively free of controversy, she might actually have a better chance at the Presidency than Hillary Clinton ever did. No matter how hard she tries, Hillary always comes off as a bit of a loony and not entirely “real.” I would laugh my ass off if those two ended up running against each other in 2012. I think Hillary and the media would turn it into an embarrassing cat fight and Palin would win in the end.

  3. cSimon Says:

    Interesting points: first about now having candidates from both Hawaii and Alaska, tho’ full-fledged states, still somewhat regarded by the mainland as “step-children.”

    Also, in the case of Palin from Alaska, might mitigate some of the damage GOP has already felt through the indictment of Ted Stevens (R. Alaska) & Young. Not good; not timely.

    And as for Bugs comment above, I sure would have loved to see Hillary’s face upon hearing the news. I’ll bet never in her life did she expect another woman to be thrown into the mix (despite rumors of Carly Fiorina on Republican side, and Kathleen Sebelius, on Demo’s side up for serious consideration). I think she believes she owns that constituency of women. Not only will the main event (Presidential election) be interesting, but the sideshow may be entertaining as well.

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    cSimon: Hillary’s face on hearing the news? She might be smiling, if she thinks this will help defeat Obama.

    On the other hand, she might be frowning if she thinks Palin could be impressive enough to mount her own run in 2012 or 2016.

  5. colagirl Says:

    With driver: I also consider the ability to keep a secret a noteworthy plus for a team in charge of national security.

  6. Terrye Says:

    I hoestly did not think this would happen. I think it is a good idea. I would prefer more experience, but if Obama can be president, Palin can be vice president.

  7. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    [about a 2012 Palin v. Hillary race]
    I think Hillary and the media would turn it into an embarrassing cat fight and Palin would win in the end.

    I sense a jello post coming…what? just saying!

  8. njcommuter Says:

    It has several virtues beyond the obvious. It does not remove one of the precious few Republican senators. It does not take a governor away from a state with more electoral votes, nor put such a state in gubenatorial jeopardy. And it means that the Veep will be a good age to run for president herself in eight years (or four, if that is necessary).

  9. TmjUtah Says:

    I think that Hillary very probably went high and right, then regained her composure and had one of her staff hunt down her husband to talk over the political implications inherent in a McCain victory with Palin on the ticket.

    We may see the Clintons heavily invested in an Obama victory all of a sudden. Which was not at all the case this last week in Denver

  10. Bugs Says:


  11. strcpy Says:

    TmjUtah, that would be exactly the same thought I had about it further.

    Further I also think that Bill would have handled it in such a way that he would be going onto his fifth term and Hillary will bust it.

    Like him or not (and I most definitely fall into the latter) he is one of the best politicians we have ever seen. Hillary just comes off as calculating and cold (which she is).

    Palin is still too much of an unknown to me for me to form much of an opinion for the most part. However the howls given by the left and a number of the Bios give me quite a bit of hope on that front. She is more “libertarian” than “right”, but then most conservatives are really more libertarian than “right” too.

    I’ve always felt I would take someone of principle who I don’t always agree with over someone who has little/no principle that I almost always do. McCain has run the gamut on principled and not and agreed with and not – Palin, from what I have read since the announcement, seems to be quite a bit better in that department (that is consistent). IMO as a VP she is a good choice – given McCain’s age she (at this point) seems too bring a great mix of knowledge, integrity, and ability to think on her own to the party. The thing she lacks (experience) should be acquired where she isn’t going to hurt anyone yet can get said experience (VP).

    I’ve said since the beginning that Obama can not win this, McCain can only loose it – from what is out there right now McCain took a good step towards not loosing with this choice. I really expected a more conventional choice if for nothing else than republicans can never seem to make good choices.

    I’ve also thought (and said in a few places) that if Obama had waited another 8-12 years then he would have the experience to be nearly unstoppable. I’ll amend that to say that 8 (and maybe 4) years of Obama being VP would do the same. Palin is the same boat and, as such, if she is what we see in her bio a really great choice both in the short term election and long term health of the country. Obama would have made a *wonderful* VP for a democrats for the same reasons (even though I still would greatly dislike his politics I would have to say that).

    Like many other conservatives I’m quite excited by this and hope that she mostly lives the bio’s about her. Even if she only makes 50% of what we are saying (and that is quite doable) then I will be a happy camper. I’m still in a “wait and see” mode, however I’ve moved from the semi-depressed to neutral to looking forward to what is going to happen with the Republicans. Maybe we can not only get another Contract with America thing going in the next four years but this time *actually* do the damn thing.

    Heh – I wonder what the leftist and identity politics crowd would do if she does well and we had a Palin/Rice(R) ticket next? Now, off to bed assuming I can quit giggling over that thought :)

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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