Friday, August 29, 2008

Palin: A Patently Pandering (and losing) Pick

Sarah Palin is the person most qualified to step into the presidency should the aging McCain need to step down?

Yes, I'm impressed that Palin has, in oil-centric Alaska remained independent of the oil companies, indeed rooted out oil-related corruption in her own party. She was brave enough to endure the opprobrium of conservatives because she wanted to support domestic partner benefits for gays. And I respect Palin deciding to go back to work three days after having her child. Great role model.

But Palin has no foreign policy experience and not much experience at all--mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (pop. 5,500 when she was its mayor) and less than two years as the governor of our least populous state...unless you want to count her experience as runner-up and Miss Congeniality in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant.

Sure, you could say that Obama hasn't much more experience than Palin, but as Lloyd Bentsen said about Dan Quayle in another vice-presidential debate, Palin is no Obama. For example, she attended three colleges before getting her BA in journalism from the University of Idaho; he has a law degree from Harvard, where he held its most prestigious student position: editor of the law review. Obama has virtually no equal as a speaker nor charismatic character. And he's black--the vast majority of the public is eager to show they're not racist.

On Oct. 2, Palin debates Joe Biden, a long-time, respected senator, top debater, and foreign policy expert. It will be a bloodbath.

More important, McCain's choosing Palin will ever more clearly be seen, correctly, as mere pandering to the youth and woman vote. Ironically, I suspect that most women will support the pro-choice Obama-Biden ticket than the firmly anti-choice McCain and Palin. (Palin would outlaw abortion even in the case of rape!)

I agree with McCain's impulse to make a bold choice--this is Hail Mary time for him. But such a lightweight? Puhleeze. In today's society in which being celebratory of diversity is deified, if his goal is to win rather than necessarily choose the most qualified person, McCain should have limited his search to credible women or minorities, for example, Hillary, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Olympia Snowe, or even deposed HP CEO Carly Fiorina. Even Oprah or Bill Cosby would be more credible than Palin--and would garner a helluva lot of votes.

I'm guessing the reason McCain settled on Palin is that he couldn't convince anyone better to run. I'd imagine, for example, that Tim Pawlenty knows that a McCain/Pawlenty ticket wouldn't stand a chance against Obama/Biden. Pawlenty would devote tremendous effort and spend credibility capital and all he'd get was to have been associated with a loser.

It's Obama-Biden. I'm taking bets.


Anonymous said...

That will interesting to see. That day, substance and skill might count for something.

But it might not. When was the last time experience, substance and skill mattered in this election?

Anonymous said...

We'll see.

It is what they are actually going to DO in office, after all.

Obama's speech...throw money at schools, GM, and everything else without raising taxes (he'll find it between the lines of the budget! Good one.) rings hollow.

Obama/Biden is a liberal dream team, McCain/Palin a conserative one.

I do believe that Obama is sharp and if elected will test spending/taxes and find that it doesn't work and will then move on. McCain knows spending won't work.

Anonymous said...

Marty, with your posts this past week I'm seriously doubting your judgment. Choosing Palin was a brilliant move, and McCain just clinched himself the election.

Yes, Biden has superior foreign policy experience, but the Democrats won't dare highlight her lack of overall experience because it will undermine their entire campaign. Obama needed a woman, and he slapped them all in the face when he didn't choose Hillary (and I agree he shouldn't have chosen her). The decision to not put a woman on his ticket will ultimately be his downfall.

No one will suggest Biden doesn't have the edge over Palin in a debate on foreign policy, but it won't matter. You're an expert in what you do, but you don't seem to understand polls and politics.

If experience mattered as much as you think, then this entire election would've been a knockout in round one from the moment McCain and Obama were known to be the two nominees. But it didn't matter then, and it won't matter now with Palin. McCain sealed the deal today.

Marty Nemko said...

If the deal is so sealed, why is the betting odds (on 58 to 42 in favor of Obama?

I do think that it was wise for him to make a bold choice, and being a woman is a plus. But I believe that choosing a woman with so little experience (And who isn't like, Obama, a Harvard Law School Law Review editor), will be viewed as what it is--pandering to women.

John said...

Marty, as far as I know, Alaska is not "the smallest state." I agree with you on the silliness of the pick though.

You should consider, though, how Biden will fare against Palin in the debates. He can't hit her too hard. The public will get angry.

Anonymous said...

At my office, when people heard the news, people seemed impressed and said what I'd guess many people are saying: that no matter who is voted into office, history will be made.

And that's what matters most to people, isn't it? The novelty of either the first woman vice president or the first black president, not the best people for two of the most important jobs in the world.

Marty Nemko said...

Sad, isn't it.

That's what worries me about a guy like Obama. He occasionally talks about trying to get past race and gender, but most of what he says is extremely race and gender conscious.

I believe one of the unintended side effects of his presidency will be to increase people's identity with their race and gender, thereby encouraging them to, often falsely, claim victimhood, and thereby actually reduce their efficacy in the world.

And whites, especially white males, will come under ever greater attack, unfairly, yet will be forced to remain silent lest they lose their job or be excoriated by peers who have drunk the Obama race/gender-centric Kool-Aid.

Anonymous said...

I'll take your bet, Marty.

I wonder if those absurd odds you quoted from Intrade ever gave McCain a chance to win the primaries.

Anonymous said...

I am a hillary supporter and Mccain will get NO Hillary votes with this pick if that is what he was attempting (and I believe it was). Hard right inexperienced Palin brings nothing to the McCain ticket that he didn't already have. This is actually one of the worst decisions I have ever seen McCain make.


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