Friday, August 29, 2008
Be Careful What You Ask For....
....you might get it.
I wanted McCain to select Gov Palin as his running mate (John Kasich was my other favorite) and now that he has, he's got to make it work.
First, let's say a couple of things about how Vice-Presidential picks in general affect the election. Voters vote for the top of the ticket, not the bottom. Nonetheless, the choice of running mate is important still, because it is a window into how the Presidential candidate intends to position himself; demographically, aesthetically, and "issue"-ly. And in these ways, Sarah Palin is a home run.
The best thing that Sarah Palin has going for her is that she is not the Republican reincarnation of Gerry Ferraro, who politically speaking never was anything except and affirmative action token. She actually counts in her own right. This will be even more apparent if McCain flips on ANWR, which I think he's got to do now. She's also a symbol of a new Republican party, who is young and not afraid of the future.
This also has the potential to affect women voters in interesting ways that can't really be anticipated. For single women who don't particularly want to get married, have five kids and live in Alaska, they could go either way. They might view Palin as a symbol of the life they've worked to avoid. But it's as least as likely that they'll give props to a woman who's accomplished as much as all but a handful of American women. I don't either side can really campaign on this directly, the point being is that she is not a token.
On the downside, there's a scandal where she supposedly got her brother-in-law fired out of loyalty to her sister when they were in the middle of a nasty divorce. IMO, a much bigger deal is that Don Young and Ted Stevens are still around, politically speaking, and she (and the party in general) have to find a way to handle them.