This campaign for President will get a lot more interesting and a lot more relevant when the debates begin and we can hope for a shift of the conversation to the issues and less on the candidates’ backgrounds.
Then again, one candidate has an apparent history of picking the wrong friends and mentors…so the opposing camp may never let go of that lever.
Maybe Obammy’s momma (or grand momma) should have told him to be careful who he spends his time with.
WSJ: On the bus from Invesco 1,609 Meter High Stadium back to civilization last night, we sat next to a Hillary Clinton delegate from New Jersey. She was not a bitter-ender; she intends to vote for Barack Obama and said there was never any chance she would not support the Democratic nominee. But she was decidedly unenthusiastic about Obama. She said she expected that more would come out about his relationship with Jeremiah Wright (the nominee’s America-bashing erstwhile “spiritual mentor”), and she readily agreed with our observation that Obama’s friendship with an unrepentant terrorist (that would be Bill Ayers) would not go over well with ordinary Americans.
So does that mean we saw a stadium filled with extra-ordinary Americans?
The conversation turned to John McCain’s vice presidential choice, and our interlocutor said she thought McCain could help himself among Mrs. Clinton’s backers by choosing a woman. We asked if Obama would have helped himself by choosing a woman, and she said no, Mrs. Clinton’s backers would have seen that as a slight.
As it turns out, they saw not getting vetted and not being chosen, despite 18 million votes in her pocket, as a slight any way. Polls of late have shown as much as 27% of Clinton voters currently intend to vote for McCain and that was before his choice of running mate Sarah Palin.
Two things are clear now. One, Obama made a huge mistake not picking Hillary. That might have been game over right there.
Two, John McCain admittedly made his choice in response to Obama’s miscalculation. But the choice of Sarah Palin doesn’t make everything easier for the Republicans. (emphasis mine)
The biggest drawback of the Palin pick is that it complicates the argument that Obama is too inexperienced to be president. At 44, Palin is actually younger than Obama, and she has two years’ less experience in statewide office than he does. On the other hand, she has more executive experience than McCain, Obama and Joe Biden combined, and the Democrats have a rookie at the top of the ticket.
Obama spokesman Bill Burton quickly denounced McCain for proposing to put “the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency.” This took a degree of chutzpah, since the Democrats have just spent four days touting Obama’s experience as a “community organizer” as a central qualification to put him no heartbeats away. Even after listening to those speeches, we’re still not sure what a “community organizer” is.
We will see your Change and Raise You One Reform
If any doubt remained that former fighter pilot John McCain loves to take unconventional risks, he put them to bed Friday by picking Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Introduced in Dayton by Mr. McCain, Governor Palin swung the bat pretty well. We’ll now see if she can hit curve balls.
But will Windy Joe be just as afraid to debate a woman with vigor without appearing to be unstatesmanlike?
It’s a daring pick because Mrs. Palin has never faced national scrutiny and hasn’t had to deal with foreign policy. Most VP choices are designed to do no harm, and we tend to agree with the maxim. Democrats are already saying they can’t wait for Mrs. Palin’s debate against “statesman” Joe Biden.
And then will she kick his saggidy ass?
On the other hand, the record shows that Sarah Palin’s political career is a case study in taking on the big boys. We suspect her record of fighting the status quo was uppermost in John McCain’s decision.
…come to think of it, we’ll take your Change too
Barack Obama aside, Senator McCain’s biggest problem is a Republican brand that has suffered — both among independents and the GOP base — from the party’s business-as-usual mentality in Washington. The public wants change. This pick could prove Mr. McCain is serious about changing his party.
…and when you compare VP selections, it becomes clear who is really interested in change, even if it means losing the election if the choice of Sarah Palin proves to be a mistake.
Sarah Palin’s reform resume would be remarkable in any political career. She entered politics at 28, winning a seat on the Wasilla city council as an opponent of tax increases. After she defeated Wasilla’s three-term incumbent mayor four years later, she swept the mayor’s cronies out of the bureaucracy.
In 2003, Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski appointed her to the state’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Bear in mind that Mr. Murkowski had already served as junior U.S. Senator from Alaska for 22 years.
Shortly after joining the oil and gas commission, Mrs. Palin commenced an ethics probe of the state’s Republican party chairman, Randy Ruedrich, involving conflicts of interest with oil companies. The probe resulted in a $12,000 fine for the party chair.
She crossed party lines in 2004 to join a Democratic representative’s ethics complaint over an international trade deal against the Republican Attorney General Gregg Renkes, who had ties to the Murkowski machine. Mr. Renkes resigned.
In late 2005, Mrs. Palin announced her run for Governor before then-Governor Murkowski had announced his intention to stand for re-election.
Obama/Biden best be wary about throwing around the already once corrected/retracted “lack of experience” mantra within earshot of McCain/Palin, and vice versa. In effect, McCain’s choice takes the argument away mutually, and may (hopefully) force debate to the issues (and specifics).
For starters, we’d say Governor Palin’s credentials as an agent of reform exceed Barack Obama’s. Mr. Obama rose through the Chicago Democratic machine without a peep of push-back. Alaska’s politics are deeply inbred and backed by energy-industry money. Mr. Obama slid past the kind of forces that Mrs. Palin took head on. This is one reason her selection — despite its campaign risks — seems to have been so well received by Republicans yesterday. They are looking for a new generation of leaders.
Don’t expect this remarkable personal Palin narrative to get an Obama-like break from the national media. Their main focus will be her lack of experience, claiming it undercuts Mr. McCain’s criticism of Barack Obama. One mispronounced foreign leader’s name, and she’s going to be hammered.
Reform: The New Republican Platform?
Mr. McCain’s instinct clearly is to offer himself to voters as a reformer. With Sarah Palin, a genuine reformer, Mr. McCain may have found the right idea and the right person to make his run.
John McCain’s choice yesterday was a tactical one. A bold one. It was a high-risk/high-reward move that will make political history one way or the other.