Friday, August 29, 2008
Young At Heart
The reaction to Gov Sarah Palin has been positive, and much of it has been enthusiastically so. At first cut, there is an appreciation across the spectrum that Gov Palin might very well be a game-changer in the Republicans' favor.
The negative reaction such as it is, has all been about her inexperience; Mayor of Wasilla, AK (pop 9000), no foreign policy credentials, whatever. All that is legit and has some element of truth, but I don't think it goes very far. Ultimately, the American people aren't going to vote against the Republican ticket because lack of experience from the VP nominee.
I'm much more worried about ANWR. If McCain doesn't flip on ANWR, I think he loses credibility on energy and puts the tokenism meme back in play. And he hasn't done it yet. Surely he realized the need for it as he was considering Gov Palin. But this is McCain we're talking about, and he does have a mulish streak in him.
This brings me to what I wanted to write about, and that is, the effect of Sarah Palin on the perception of the youth of the Republican ticket. The obvious thing is to say "She's young and hot instead of old and crotchety, so hooray for us." But again, the important part of the VP choice is how it affects the top of the ticket. The point being is that, when and if John McCain flips on ANWR, it will show that he's dialed into the issues facing the American economy now instead of gettin' the kids off the lawn. He'll look younger.
As it happens, John McCain turns 72 today. There are a lot of people that age who have severe health problems. For others, the patterns of their lives are so fossilized that they are really powerless to change them at that point. But for others, 72 might be the prime of their life. If they worked for most of their life (or married rich, in McCain's case), then they are not sweating financially. Their memories are sharp and they retain the benefit of decades of experience and connections, and the economy demands much less in the way of physical labor than it used to. So, which is it for McCain? It could go either way, frankly. We'll find out over the next 10 weeks.
The Democrats are going to try to hurt McCain on the theme of senility. Some of it will be subtle and some of it will be crude, but ultimately what the Obama campaign does on this won't matter. What McCain does will matter a lot.