I have just one question

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?

I get the rationale for picking Palin, as laid out here by Chris Bowers and in a different way by Iowa blogger Douglas Burns.

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.

  • I'm with you

    I admit this is a high-stakes gamble by McCain that could turn out to be brilliant.  But I think the odds are in our favor.

    Repeating one of my comments on Sporer:

    “Why did McCain go with Palin? My suspicion is that McCain crapped his pants last night listening to Obama lay out his strong case against the McCain-Bush agenda and realized he needed to shake things up. The online pics I’ve seen of the Ohio event, I did not see a single McCain-Palin sign. That could indicate a last minute change.”

  • Palin and Clinton

    I do not believe Hillary supporters will flock to McCain, but this is stirring up emotions for some of us who really thought we were past the party unity question. There will be a few Hillary supporters who will vote McCain/Palin…though I belive that many of them voted for Hillary because they were against Obama to begin with. And you can be sure that the news media will absolutely jump on any they find.

    I believe that Hillary will need to get out there and reinforce the message that she is supporting Obama even more now. I hope that Obama is smart enough to use her.

  • Palin is under investigation by an independant

    investigator for her role in… (drum-role, please)… Illegal firings : )

    There couldnt be a better mirror image of President Bush if you tried for one. McCain is very desperate.

    “Governor Palin is currently under investigation by an independent investigator hired by the legislature to determine if she abused her power when firing Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. On July 11, 2008, Palin dismissed Walter Monegan as Commissioner of Public Safety and instead offered him a position as executive director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which he subsequently turned down. The Commisioner serves at the will of the governor, so her right to fire him is not in dispute; but Monegan alleged shortly after his dismissal that it may have been partly due to his reluctance to fire an Alaska State Trooper, Mike Wooten, who had been involved in a divorce and child. custody battle with Palin’s sister, Molly McCann”

    • Court of Public Opinion

      I had discounted Palin’s chances based on this scandal, but the more I read about it…the more I think it’s a non-issue.

      The trooper in question was such a total ass (and that is putting it mildly) I quote the Anchorage Daily News (links on request):

      Troopers eventually investigated 13 issues and found four in which Wooten violated policy or broke the law or both:

      Wooten used a Taser on his stepson.

      He illegally shot a moose.

      He drank beer in his patrol car on one occasion.

      He told others his father-in-law would “eat a f’ing lead bullet” if he helped his daughter get an attorney for the divorce.

      Beyond the investigation sparked by the family, trooper commanders saw cause to discipline or give written instructions to correct Wooten seven times since he joined the force, according to Grimes’ letter to Wooten.

      For all this, Trooper Wooten was suspended for 10 days–reduced to 5 days by the police union. Palin and/or her staff then (allegedly) asked the Public Safety Comissioner to fire the trooper–he refused and was sacked. The Comissioner serves at the governor’s pleasure, so can be fired in this way completely legally.

      There are some rough edges to this, some places where things get shady, but that’s the rough outline of it. The court of public opinion will fall totally in Palin’s favor on this. It’s a non-issue–and could even hurt in the long run if the McCain camp is allowed to frame it.

      We need to hit Palin on other things–this isn’t the killer issue. It could even positively reinforce her “white knight” reformer image if she is vindicated or only mildly reprimanded in the investigation.

  • polls

    The first of what I’m sure will be many polls about Palin has been done.

    One key thing they said:

    Among Democratic women – including those who may be disappointed that New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton did not win the Democratic nomination – 9% say Palin makes them more likely to support McCain, 15% less likely.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/p…

  • Birthday

    It was McCains birthday.  He is 72 years old.  He is older than Reagan.  Just to remind you in his college class he wa 894 out of a class of 899.  He is older than Reagan and as dumb as Bush

  • Definitely a risk; but he's the maverick.

    My thoughts on Palin are that it’s a really smart choice for McCain. Virtually anything anyone says about her comes back to slap Dems in the face.

    A- “She’s too inexperienced”.  Oh really?  Well, she’s our #2 on the ticket… let’s look at your #1.

    B- “She’s putting her family in the backseat to run for office.”  Oh really?  Do you mean to suggest, feminist-agenda libs, that you can’t do it all?  

    C- “She’s got a special needs child that she should take care of.”  She IS taking care of him.  She chose not to kill him.  Clearly, she’s got his best interest in mind.

    D- “What about her daughters that need her?”  What could be more inspiring and instructional than to watch their mom be all that she can be?

    E- “She’s got no foreign policy experience”.  See response to A.

    F- “She’s a backwoods redneck with a gun.”  Forget middle American votes… which is what has last the last few elections for the Dems.

    I think it’s a politically brilliant choice.  Brilliant.  For McCain.  For virtually anyone else, it doesn’t make sense.  But for the maverick McCain who has never gone with the party establishment, it’s a really smart choice.  It invigorates the base.  It unabashedly SCREAMS pro-life, which will please the majority of evangelicals.  It’s young and fresh, which will grab the middle-of-the-road Republicans who were yawning about McCain.  It’s politically brilliant.

    • we shall see

      I think this will backfire hugely as people get to know her.

      A lot of Republicans are not happy that more qualified men were passed over. They will be waiting for her to slip up.

      I am surprised that you have no problem with her traveling to Texas late in a high-risk pregnancy, then getting on a plane back to Alaska after her water broke. And in general, I thought you disapproved of women pursuing a career while they have small children at home.

      But it will be an interesting race…

  • Why would my personal convictions for my life have to do with her?

    I’m not her doctor, and I’m not her judge.  If you’re looking for people who are sitting in that latter position, visit Generation Cedar (hosted by blogspot) or Ladies Against Feminism.  Some bloggers are very put out by this choice.  I am not among them.

    It will indeed be an interesting race.

    • I agree

      It will be an interesting race. I’m still voting for Obama of course, but I’m thrilled that women’s issues will not be dropped now that Clinton is out of the race. On the contrary, I expect that both sides will continue to compete for our votes and I am thrilled about that.

      I would expect the thing for Democrats to do would be not to attack Palin at all. Rather it would be much better to focus on McCain’s failure to vote for equal pay for women, and to continue to focus on other things that are particularly important to women such as health care, etc.  

      • absolutely, Dems should ignore Palin

        Attacking her will only make her into a victim.

        Let her reveal herself to be totally unqualified for this job. Dan Quayle had way more experience than she does, and George H.W. Bush was eight years younger in 1988 than McCain is now.

        As I’ve written before, I don’t think McCain had any great options for VP. This wasn’t one of his least-bad options, though. I think he will regret this one.

    • but now I'm confused

      because I thought that in your view, people like Palin are supposed to set an example for younger Christian women.  

      • You shouldn't be confused

        Or perhaps you should be if you think my goal is to teach older women.  I try to learn all I can from older women, and teach younger women as I’ve been taught to do.  Each woman has things she does well and obeys well and areas where she’s growing.  For some women, they get to age 45 and wish they’d had more children (being fruitful and multiplying).  Others get to that age and wish they’d never denied their husband intimacy (1 Cor 7).  Others get to that age and wish they’d read more of their Bible and known God more.  Others get to that age and feel convicted about gluttony.  We all have different paths we’re on.

        I’m not accountable to God for what Palin does or doesn’t do.  I think she’s a remarkable admirable woman in the things that she DOES do.  For articles about some other evangelicals who ARE excited about Palin, check out these links:

        http://www.dougwils.com/Print….

        http://ap.google.com/article/A…

        Maybe this will clear up the confusion.  For the record, I don’t plan on posting anything about it until I know more about her.  I think almost anyone who has written much about her (particularly those over-the-top FOR, or over-the-top AGAINST) really has jumped the gun.  It’s only been 72 hours or so.  I think self-control is a virtue in situations like this, when you don’t know about someone.  This next week will be a good time for America to be introduced to Palin and even by next weekend, surely some more thoughtful articles will be written instead of the knee-jerk reaction stuff that’s been put out thus far.

        • it is probably wise to refrain from posting

          until more is known. I didn’t realize until yesterday that some circumstantial evidence suggests Palin’s fifth child, Trig, is actually her grandchild (teenage daughter Bristol’s child). That would explain a lot, such as why she flew to Texas late in a high-risk pregnancy, why she got on an airplane to Alaska supposedly after her water broke, why she was back in the office three days after giving birth, and why Palin’s 17-year-old daughter seems to be the primary caregiver for the baby. Also, the daughter missed most of the past academic year, supposedly because she had mononucleosis:

          http://www.dailykos.com/storyo…

          One of my college roommates had a younger sister who was actually her niece (older sister’s baby). I think this is done in quite a few families to avoid going public about a teenager getting pregnant.

          • I can't believe you're perpetuating this smut.

            Did you watch the video?  She was waddling.  There is much, MUCH circumstantial evidence that she was indeed pregnant.  Don’t stoop to this level, dmd.  Just cause the kos reports it definitely does NOT make it true.

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