If today is John McCain’s birthday, why did he give us a present?
I strongly disagree with the idea that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is a game-changer for the Republicans.
Hillary Clinton gave a strong endorsement of Barack Obama on Tuesday and will be out campaigning for him this fall. I’m supposed to believe that women who preferred Hillary in the Democratic primaries will flock to McCain, with his horrible record on women’s issues, because a conservative woman is his running mate?
But McCain is staking his campaign on persuading Americans that Obama is “not ready to lead.” I cannot see how it helps McCain to choose a running mate who is younger and less experienced than Obama. Palin has served less than two years as governor and before that was mayor of a town with fewer than 10,000 residents.
At 72 years old, McCain would be the oldest president ever elected. He is also a cancer survivor. Can the Republicans make the case that Palin is ready to lead this country should the need arise?
Supposedly the GOP base will be thrilled to see the anti-choice Palin on the ticket. I read some “mommy blogs” written by religious conservatives and will be checking them in the next few days to see how they react to this pick. (These bloggers tended to favor either Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul.)
I assume they will be relieved that McCain did not choose the detested Mitt Romney. However, I am not convinced these rank and file members of the religious right will celebrate Palin’s selection. They believe women should be homemakers who homeschool their children, and they think feminism and the trend toward working outside the home is undermining “Biblical womanhood.”
No matter how enthusiastically the Republican pundits welcome Palin, I suspect that many social conservatives will feel she should be at home, taking care of her special-needs infant and schooling her older children.
The business wing of the Republican base tended to support Romney in the primaries. Mitt himself is reportedly furious at the way McCain strung him along. Look for the knives to come out if anything goes wrong with Palin–for instance, if she gets tainted by the trial of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens.
I’m skeptical that Palin will neutralize Joe Biden (supposedly because he can’t afford to be seen as a bully). Biden has two jobs: to alleviate concerns about Obama’s lack of experience, and to be an attack dog. The first task will be easier with Palin as his counterpart. As for the second, Biden can ignore Palin most of the time and focus his fire on McCain during the only vice-presidential debate.
Choosing Palin looks like a Hail Mary pass from a candidate who knows he will lose unless he shakes things up in a big way. I’m feeling much more optimistic about Obama’s chances than I did five days ago.