Saturday, August 30, 2008

McCain Makes Weird Choice For Veep

McCain has finally made his choice of who he wants as a running mate, and I think he surprised everyone -- especially the news media. As late as last night, I heard media talking heads saying he had chosen Tim Pawlenty (the Republican governor of Minnesota). But McCain threw everyone a curve today and chose the governor of Alaska -- Sarah Palin. I don't think the media even realized she was being vetted for the position.

There are two reasons why Palin might be a good pick for McCain, and two reasons why she is a very surprising and possibly weak pick. McCain has still not excited the Republican right-wing evangelical base. Palin might actually help him to get out this base. They would not have voted Democratic, but they might have stayed home on election day.

But Palin is an anti-choice, anti-gay marriage, very right-wing, evangelical, social conservative in the mold of George Bush. Her choice will probably make the socially-conservative base and the party's large contributors very happy, especially the big oil companies since she is in favor of opening the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

It looks like McCain also thinks picking Palin may help him to get some disillusioned Hillary Clinton voters -- those who voted for her because she was a woman and didn't care what she stood for or believed in (the PUMAs).

He looks at Hillary's 18 million votes and thinks the PUMAs are a large group. They are not. There may be a few thousand, but that is a negligible number when you consider the total number of voters. The overwhelming majority of Clinton's voters will do as she has asked and vote Democratic.

One reason this pick surprised me was the fact that McCain has been pounding Obama on the issue of whether he has enough experience to be president, and then he picks a running mate with far less experience than Obama -- and with McCain's age and health problems, Palin may actually have to finish his term if he is elected.

Palin has absolutely no experience with national or world problems, and only two years of experience with government on the state level (and even that is in a state with a very small population). By making this pick, McCain has made his own prior pronouncements about experience look foolish.

The other reason this pick is surprising is because of Governor Palin's ethics issues. She currently is being investigated by the Alaskan Legislature for possible misuse of her official powers. She has been accused of firing the Public Safety Commissioner because he would not fire a state trooper (her brother-in-law) who her family was unhappy with. It is strange that McCain would pick Palin while this investigation is continuing.

Was this a good pick? Only the November election will answer that question.


  1. This is the most bizarre choice ever. With McCain's track record of dumping wives for younger women, I'd be concerned if I was Cindy. What a great debate it will be between Palin and Biden. My only concern is that Biden may come across as too mean. I loved when someone listed one of her accomplishments as PTA president. That's a good qualification for a VP. As far as Hillary's supporters, I met many and absolutely no one I met said they were supporting her just because she was a woman. That is ridiculous.

  2. My take is that it was a brilliant move by a desperate McCain.

    I'm a bit worried about PUMA's, but I assume most are smart enough to be insulted at the thought that women are interchangeable with no other consideration than the fact that they are female. Ignore all the differences in ideology? Are they kidding me?

    What worries me more is that his choice is a poster child for conservative politics. Add to that, she's pushing to have drilling in Alaska. She made the pitch last night on Beck.

    I now live in the heartland and I'm telling you that the price at the pumps is heavy on the minds of farmers and rural America in general. People who don't have the time or the inclination to research the possible answers to this pressing problem are getting very believable soundbites from the Republicans and Palin will be a rabid advocate for the idea that we can drill our way out of this mess.

    This election will be about the economy with the price at the pumps leading the charge.

    Yes, in certain portions of our population race is still a driving issue. My feeling is that anyone voting from a standpoint of racial bigotry will be just as likely to reject a female candidate, so in an odd way, McCain's choice of VP helps cancel out the bigots.

    However, for a portion of the Republican party that had virtually no hope, Palin is someone to rally around. Conservative talking heads are actually smiling now. It looks like the desperate smile of a soon to be hanged man but the Democrats underestimate Palin at their peril.


  3. "Experience is really not as important as the media would have you think. America has shown many times in the past that they will vote for lesser experience if they like a candidate."

    jobsanger - 08/19/08

    "Palin has absolutely no experience with national or world problems, and only two years of experience with government on the state level (and even that is in a state with a very small population)."

    jobsanger - 08/30/08

    So let me see if I've got this right: Experience for the office of President is not all that important, but it is for the office of vice president?

    To paraphrase you from an earlier thread: As a left-wing Democrat, it doesn't surprise me that you would be quick to propose and defend all kinds of weak excuses for sexists to not vote for Palin. :)

  4. Are you really that dense, CT?

    I stand by my statement of 8/19/08, and you pulled the second statement out of context.

    You know quite well (or should) that I was referring to the fact that JOHN SIDNEY MCCAIN was making a big deal of experience, and then picked the most inexperienced running mate possible. I was pointing out his own hypocrisy.

  5. Menopausal Mick,
    If I read you correctly (and apparently I haven't been doing a very good job of that lately with jobsanger), I believe your analysis is correct. Putting Palin on the ticket will energize the conservative base much more than it will draw in the PUMA's. Palin's political orientation is so diametrically opposed to Hillary's that only those PUMA's who were drawn to Senator Clinton because of her gender are more likely now to vote for McCain. And many of them had already made that decision even before Palin was chosen as the VP candidate.

    My brother (a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat from upstate New York), sent me an email last night with the subject line "Sarah Palin?" and one question in the body of the email: "What do you think?" Two hours later, I finally hit the send button. I won't bore you with all the details, but I ended up by opining that McCain's choice made this race a lot more interesting than if he had picked some boring white guy.

    Mark your calendars for October 2; that's when the vice presidential debate is scheduled to take place. Even though it may have little affect on the outcome of the election (VP debates seldom do; remember Bentson-Quayle in 1988?), I think the dynamics of this one will be much more interesting than the last male-female match-up (Bush-Ferraro in '84).

    As far as the experience issue, I'd much rather have a seasoned veteran as the first-stringer with a comparative rookie on the bench than the other way around. We already tried that with Bush/Cheney. How's that workin' for you?

  6. Palin really was the perfect choice for John McBush’s running mate, but not for any of the reasons I’ve seen mentioned. She has experience dealing with an infant with Down’s Syndrome and THAT’S what makes her perfect, because the GOP apparently thinks that’s what the American voting public consists of. At least, that’s how they’re treating us.

    Just how mentally challenged does McBush think we are?

    Does he really think that putting a woman on his ticket will make women forget his record of voting against women’s rights?

    Does he really think that adjusting the schedule of the GOP convention will make people forget that his party’s president couldn’t be bothered to end his vacation early during Katrina and was partly responsible for killing over 1000 people?

    Does he really think that all of a sudden calling for alternative energy and energy independence will make people forget his record of voting against increased mileage standards and funding alternative energy technology for 26 years?

    I hate being treated like an infant.

  7. CT,

    I'm fine with Obama's experience. In fact, I'm more than fine with him as my candidate.

    As for Palin... I just got off the phone with my relative who has been living in Wasilla for most of her adult life. (Apparently, she's been taking bets on how long it would take me to call her and I held out as long as I could stand it!) I've been to Wasilla to visit and I knew if anyone knew Palin personally it would be my half-sister Fran. Wasilla is too small a community for it to be otherwise. That area of Alaska is breath-taking, btw.

    Fran and her husband do, indeed, know Palin and have been involved with some sort of Alaskan race that Palin's husband runs. Snow machines or something. They aren't close friends of the family or anything like that but they "know" each other in the way that most very small town people know their neighbors.

    Palin's husband works for British Petroleum in a blue collar well site manager position. According to Fran, who has always been an independent voter, Palin is pretty much... what you see is what you get. She is beloved by a great many Alaskans from all walks. As far as Fran is concerned, Palin has actually been the reformer she claims to be. Fran says that Alaska NEEDS tons of reforming because politics in Alaska is always a strange critter and usually a total mess.

    I'm glad there is a Republican reformer who attempts to actually reform rather than merely talk about it. It would be nice if our federal deficit wasn't the astounding mammoth it has grown to be under Bush. So, I have to give her due kudos in that area. I'm gonna have to disagree with her in every other political aspect of her candidacy.

    I don't want her to be one heartbeat from the presidency and not because she's inexperienced but rather because she brings to the table all the neocons who have done so much damage to our country over the last decade.

    We dems have to stay focused and get busy.


  8. Anonymous:

    She has experience dealing with an infant with Down’s Syndrome and THAT’S what makes her perfect, because the GOP apparently thinks that’s what the American voting public consists of.

    I can't believe how incredibly insensitive that statement is. Have you ever known anyone with Down's Syndrome or anyone who's raised a child with Down's? The fact that Sarah Palin chose not to abort her son Trig, knowing he would have Down's, says two things about her: 1) unlike the stereotypical beauty queen, she isn't overly obsessed with having a perfect Ken-and-Barbie family; and 2) she's a pro-life woman who doesn't just talk the talk; she walks the walk. You can argue whether that qualifies her to be vice president of the United States, but it speaks volumes about her character.

    While typing this, I just heard a caller on talk radio say she didn't worry about Sarah Palin, because she'd bring out the worst in Democrats. Thank you for proving her right.

    Just how mentally challenged does McBush think we are?

    Just how mentally challenged do you think I am, believing that using buzz words like "McBush" (or for that matter "McShame," "McSame" or "Rethug") will somehow add credibility to your argument?

    Does he really think that putting a woman on his ticket will make women forget his record of voting against women’s rights?


    Does he really think that adjusting the schedule of the GOP convention will make people forget that his party’s president couldn’t be bothered to end his vacation early during Katrina and was partly responsible for killing over 1000 people?

    Do you really think that if the RNC went ahead as scheduled, the networks wouldn't show split screen images of the convention festivities and the carnage of Hurricane Gustav?

    I hate being treated like an infant.

    Then stop acting like one. Or at least use a screen name instead of hiding behind your anonymity.

  9. Mick,
    Thanks for the inside info about Governor Palin.

    Believe it or not, we conservatives are as fed up with corruption in the Republican Party as you Democrats are. This was at least part of the reason that the GOP lost control of Congress in '06.

    Whether Palin is up for the job as VP still remains to be seen, but her willingness to take on Republican corruption in Alaska is greatly appreciated. As to whether she's a formidable campaigner, ask Frank Murkowski and Tony Knowles. If Democrats underestimate her political skills, they do so at their own peril.

  10. Aha- after the rumors that the 5 month old Downs syndrome baby was really Palin's daughters, not hers (read the bizarre circumstances of Sarah's pregnancy- google it if you haven't already), now we find out that the daughter is actually several months pregnant! It seems like she should be practicing family values and spend more time w/ her children. Or is it "do as I say, not as I do"? Her family sets a poor example- thankfully women in America still have a choice- why you would want to burden a 16 year old (who already shows poor judgement) with the care of an infant is beyond me. Also, shouldn't Sarah really be spending more time with "her own" infant who really needs her instaed of trying to fill some dream. Perhaps she still tastes defeat from the Miss Alaska pageant. What a fine example she is.

  11. why you would want to burden a 16 year old (who already shows poor judgement) with the care of an infant is beyond me.

    Actually, Bristol Palin is 17. Does that make a difference?

    How about an unmarried college freshman about the same age? Let's say the father is 23 or 24 and comes from a foreign country, where he already has a wife, a child, and a second child on the way? Would it be too great a burden for this young woman to care for an infant? Would you encourage her to terminate the pregnancy?

    Congratulations! You just aborted the 2008 Democratic candidate for President of the United States.

  12. At least women still have a choice! Sarah should rethink her opposition on sex-education for teens, or at least promote abstinence or birth control in her own home (by the way, Sarah has enough kids too).

  13. CT,

    I am not personally acquainted with a conservative Republican that I can engage in a political discussion. I wish I had the opportunity to sit across the table from one…have a cup of coffee…and just chat. There are many things I do not understand about today’s version of that political ideology.

    My very first question would be:

    From an economic standpoint only….how is a deficit that is created primarily with war spending and tax breaks to the richest among us better than a deficit that helps rebuild infrastructure or create jobs? We have to be realistic and admit that the deficit accumulated in the Bush admin will be with us long into the future and we need to look at how to continue to function in that reality. Do we continue to allow the war machine to profit while the rest of the economy struggles to breath?

    I’ve heard the Republican claim that we should let the markets take care of virtually everything. Since that’s what we’ve had the last decade, why isn’t everything …well…umm…fixed? If the markets take care of the health care crisis then why have the numbers of uninsured increased? If the markets take care of the financial sector, why are the taxpayers going to have to absorb all the bailouts that are going to be subsidized with tax dollars….OUR tax dollars.

    Yes, we have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. I’ll easily concede that. I would even be happy to have a corporate tax break IF…and this is the big IF… IF the tax break were offered to corporations who outsourced NONE of their operations. IF we bring the jobs back home, that’s a win/win for everyone. Conservatives might wail against more government regulation, but if something doesn’t change our outflow of decent paying factory jobs the middle class as we have known it will disappear.

    My feeling is that a free market does, indeed, work. It works for the wealthiest among us.

    As for Palin and what she represents:

    How in the world did conservative Republicans let their party get hijacked to the religious far right? What?..did they see the success of Rove in hate-mongering and decide to take a permanent ride on that elephant? Is the argument for separation of church and state permanently destined for the trash bin? I doubt that “old time” conservative Republicans are happy with the government invading our bedrooms or our privacy in every area of life. Neocons want to do that very thing.

    Palin is devoutly Pentecostal. I read a speech she gave and it scared the holy crap (if you’ll forgive the pun) out of me. In addition, her pastor has preached that anyone not supporting Bush was going to hell.

    They think Iraq was God’s war. If Exxon is God, then they’re right. Aren’t conservatives at all concerned that someone aching for The Rapture will be a heartbeat away from helping that end-times scenario happen?

    This is my biggest problem with Palin. She will allow the discussion to once again be diverted from the real issues of how to deal with our country’s biggest problems. Already, you can see it happening. We’re gonna talk about abortion and birth control rights….AGAIN. Congrats, Rove.


  14. (by the way, Sarah has enough kids too).

    That sounds chillingly like China's one-child, forced abortion policy.

  15. 5 children is too many and I bet she wishes she would have stopped at 4...

  16. 5 children is too many and I bet she wishes she would have stopped at 4... [Emphasis added]

    From Governor Palin's acceptance speech:

    "And in April, my husband Todd and I welcomed our littlest one into the world, a perfectly beautiful baby boy named Trig. From the inside, no family ever seems typical. That's how it is with us."

    "Our family has the same ups and downs as any other, the same challenges and the same joys. Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge. And children with special needs inspire a special love."

    "To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters."

    "I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House."

    Looks like you lose that bet.

    Unlike you, Rufus, Sarah Palin can see the God-given beauty that is inherent in this precious child.

    Sort of like the beauty that Cindy McCain saw in her daughter Bridget and Nikki Gullett when she brought them both home from Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh.


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