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Friday, August 29, 2008


I haven't seen this many places (other than TPM), but I wish that there was more talk in the punditosphere of just how unserious the McCain campaign has been. Scurrilous and ludicrous attack ads, bellicose bluster . . . and now a vice presidential pick that makes Dan Quayle look good. Sarah Palin? The governor of Alaska?

Just not serious.

Update: Palin is 44 years old, has been governor less than 2 years, and before that was mayor of a small town. The McCain camp thinks that this person should be VP, one heartbeat from the presidency behind an old geezer. She's also under some kind of investigation in Alaska--which is proving to be a relatively corrupt state (the Hulk is under indictment).

The pick seems to have been motivated almost solely by the need for media coverage of how "bold" the pick was, and maybe to try, futilely, to attract female (Clinton) supporters. In governing terms, a non-starter.

But at least she's not a Washington insider!

More Update: Good point just now on MSNBC--this was the best GOP woman available?

I have been saying for a very long time that McCain didn't have a good pick for Veep. Every candidate mentioned in the press had big drawbacks. Now, he has picked someone even more deeply flawed, from a credentials standpoint, than dweeb Pawlenty or the Mittbot. Wow.


At 3:11 PM, Blogger tenaciousmcd said...

Truly, a desperation pick. Like any risk, it may pay off, but the odds seem against, and it could be a big negative.

One additional point: by appointing a GOP base fave with zero national experience, McCain is tacitly admitting that he's afraid that NOT EVEN REPUBLICANS will vote for him without strong additional incentive.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Reminds me a little of W's Miers pick for supreme court. But I have never heard of a nominee withdrawing his VP pick. I was hoping for a Ridge, but knew it wouldn't happen.

At 6:13 PM, Blogger tenaciousmcd said...

True, but with one key difference: Miers went down less b/c she was unqualified that b/c she was distrusted by the far right. But those folks love Palin b/c she refused to abort her retarded baby. Not that that's a bad thing; it's just not exactly a qualification.

At 10:36 PM, Blogger Number Three said...

In '72, McGovern had to replace Eagleton (shock therapy! pre-vetting) with Shriver.

I object to the phrase "retarded baby," but TMcD's point is well taken.

At 11:58 PM, Blogger Wilson said...

"Retarded baby"? Hardcore.

I think there is nothing particularly wrong with the Palin choice. The VP is by and large an irrelevant position; or so it's been the vast majority of the time. She's not exactly a standout, but the real problem with McCain-Palin is the first name in that sequence. she is pro-life and anti-science but in some ways she's more libertarian than some of these other names that were floated. Frankly, we just don't know much about her.

I don't really get the experience complaint though. I mean, I guess this will sound like some sort of wacko right wing argument, but honestly Obama was a state senator for 7 years and then a US Senator for 3. How is that a substantially more 'experienced' resume than Palin? Governor is at least an executive position, rather than a legislator. So while she has no foreign policy background, her job is in some ways more substantially similar to the presidency. Maybe I'm just misunderstanding something, everyone here knows a lot more about the government than I do, but it sure seems like a good parallel.

I think Obama's resume is much more impressive. Harvard Law Review, lecturer, successful author. But experience? I wouldn't raise that argument.

I'm still voting Obama. His epic speech the other night almost made me vomit, however.

At 12:38 AM, Blogger tenaciousmcd said...

What, then, is the proper terminology? "Special needs infant"? I see the word "retarded" as like "black"--some very sensitive activists don't like it, but it is descriptive, value neutral, and long established.

Anyway, Wilson, the problem with Palin's "experience" is that she's never played outside the minor leagues, which Alaska certainly is. Even there, she's only been governor for a year and a half, before which she was the mayor of a small Anchorage suburb. She's never had a national spotlight, as Obama has had for four solid years now. Let's not forget that, aside from state senate and US Senate, he's run a national campaign for two years, and done so impressively, beating the most formidable machine in his own party (the Clintons) and then bringing them on board his bus. He's been tested and vetted as few others.

Meanwhile, she's been the VP choice for half a day and has already been caught in two lies: 1) concerning her use of influence to get he ex-brother-in-law fired from the state police, and 2) concerning her "opposition" to the famed "bridge to nowhere."

And VP is not irrelevant, especially if your P is old, frail, cancerous, mercurial, volatile, and losing his mental accuity. So putting someone on the ticket who recently said she didn't even know what the VP job did, and that she hadn't ever really thought about Iraq seems a tad, well, irresponsible. Otherwise, I'm sure she has many nice qualities.

OK, so interesting probably BS gossip to bury late in a comment string. While surfing, I ran across an anonymous and unsubstantiated rumor that her special needs baby is really her secret granddaughter. Wouldn't that be fun? (Actually, I'm not sure there's anything scandalous about that, but it sure sounds like it might rankle the fundies.)

At 4:19 AM, Blogger Wilson said...

Just a note; Alaska has more people than North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, and DC. Is an executive of those states really in the 'minor leagues'? I mean, Deleware doesn't have that many more people. I don't think terribly much of her but dissin' the position of governor of Alaska I don't think is fair. It's far away and much of it is wilderness, but I still think the experience of being the executive there is relevant.

I don't really think Obama has had the national spotlight for four years. I think he's been an important figure, like any young and up and coming senator, but I'm just not sure how relevant being in the senate is to the type of experience we're looking for. I'm completely certain that campaign experience is irrelevant if we're talking about actual qualifications to be president, and anyway, beating Alan Keyes is pretty meaningless.

Not to rag on Obama, if I were hiring for position X and had both their resumes in front of me, Obama is the easy choice.

One last thing here. A while ago I recall looking over some actuarial tables and figuring McCain was about 15% to die in the next 4 years, in a very rough sense. So the VP choice is relevant, it's true. Still, the experience critique isn't flying for me when the opponent's #1 is just as inexperienced. Moreover, if she were to be VP, that would be excellent training to be the president (presumably). If anything, Mccain's relatively high probability of death is a point in his favor, and makes me even happier he picked some who I am not yet convinced is an idiot.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger tenaciousmcd said...

Hmm. . . . I really disagree here. True, Alaska is bigger than a couple of other states, but how often do completely unknown people from THOSE places get tapped, sight unseen, for a national ticket? Never. Biden may be from Delaware, but that was a minus, not a plus. He's VP b/c he's been in the senate for 36 years, run two presidential campaigns, and established himself over several decades as one of the nation's foremost experts in foreign policy.

Meanwhile, Obama has been under intense scrutiny ever since he gave that speech at the 2004 convention. Even if the Keyes race was a lame one, he beat a powerful state machine when he ran for state senate. Even then, if the Dems had just plucked Obama out of thin air to be P or VP, we'd be suspicious based on age and longevity in office. But they didn't. He's run and won a huge race in the media era, done countless speeches and town halls, participated in dozens of formal debates, toured the world to huge fanfare, and shown he can go toe to toe with anyone in the country.

Palin, meanwhile, has run a small, marginal, fantastically corrupt and exclusively Republican state for less than two years. She has never weighed in on national issues, with the exception of social issues, where she is far, far right. She was inspired to enter politics by Pat Buchanan's train wreck "Culture War" speech from the 1992 GOP Convention, and she was a Forbes delegate (!!!!). Let me assure you that anyone who ever thought so highly of Steve Forbes's presidential potential that they would serve as a delegate is, most likely, an idiot. All of this also gives her the whiff of extreme wingnuttery. We already know she's pro-oil and a global warming denier.

Having said all that, she may turn out to be a diamond in the rough. The press is certainly giving her every benefit of the doubt. But if you're John McCain you have no margin for error in 2008. And Palin looks like she might be both a lightweight and an extremist. He had only met her ONCE before he picked her as his running mate. McCain needed to do a lot of reassuring with this pick. But the only people he has made enthusiastic are the flat earthers and the unhinged PUMAs, and that should be cause for concern.


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