Amidst the Palin din

I listened to McCain’s veep selection live on the radio. Struck me as pretty smart, though maybe a little too smart for McCain’s own good. His attacks on Obama’s lack of experience ring kinda hollow after he’s picked a backup president (which is all a veep is, Cheney excepted) with even less experience. Since then I’ve read a few blogs and stuff, and pretty much steered clear of politics while enjoying freedom from media and technology during my last few days at home with family and friends in Santa Barbara. Anyway at this point I’d say my take on Sarah Palin kinda parallels Richard Bennett’s:

  She’s young, good-looking, inexperienced, a bit ideological, and a member of a marginal group; just like Barack Obama, actually. But she’s running for VP, not to be the big dog. She’s not at all embarrassing, not a Katherine Harris, Harriet Miers, or Dan Quayle. All in all, a good contrast to Biden who’s tainted with the scent of corruption.
  This just might work for McCain.
  UPDATE: But seriously, what was McCain thinking? Palin is a nice woman, but there’s no way in hell she should be allowed inside the White House if not on a tour. McCain has effectively conceded the election. Welcome to the Oval Office, President Obama, listen to Sen. Biden carefully and don’t screw too many things up.

FWIW, she’s got some taint too.

Also FWIW, I know a lot of Hillary partisans, and if anything the Palin selection helps them rationalize voting for Obama.

Looking forward to the debate between Palin and Biden.

Bonus link (hat tip).


  1. Shawn Powers’s avatar

    An Alaskan friend of mine has a rather interesting look at the matter. Definitely worth a read.

  2. Barry Dauphin’s avatar

    Welcome to the Oval Office, President Obama, listen to Sen. Biden carefully and don’t screw too many things up.

    Anyone who urges someone to listen to Joe Biden carefully is not someone worth listening to.

    I encourage you to check some of the Hillary supporter blogs before assuming supporters will lurch back to Obama. Not a random sample, to be sure, but worth a look-see. There appears to be much less to the taint than that, and geez, Joe Biden isn’t tainted?

  3. dre’s avatar

    Palin is a nice woman, but there’s no way in hell she should be allowed inside the White House if not on a tour.

    And Obama should? Stop smoking pot.

  4. John Dougan’s avatar

    An attempt at putting together a coherent timeline on the State Trooper issue:

    Done by a partisan, but appears to take corrections.

  5. Micha Elyi’s avatar

    “FWIW, I know a lot of Hillary partisans, and if anything the Palin selection helps them rationalize voting for Obama.”

    That means nothing. Those “Hillary partisans” would fashion whatever rationalization they could to resolve their Obama trauma derived cognitive dissonances. They’d have used whomever Senator McCain picked as a rationalization to put their party ahead of their avowed feminist principles. (We saw just the same thing from the same partisans excused Hillary’s husband, America’s first feminist president. Remember the feminists’ Gloria Leader fashioning the One Free Grope amendment to their party line on sexual harassment?)

  6. Steve Urquhart’s avatar

    Hi, Doc.

    Good post. And a good bonus link.

    After Friday, I’m finally energized about this election. It’s going to be exciting.

    I don’t get all the talk about Gov. Palin not being experienced. A governor runs the show — on so many things, such as education, health and human services, transportation, and on and on. And, I really don’t get the talk about Sen. Obama being more experienced than Gov. Palin. U.S. Senators really don’t do very much, and they run nothing, except for their committees. Though I should, I don’t know whether Sen. Obama even runs a committee.

    My Governor is “just” a first termer, and I’d say he has more President-qualifying experience than my 2 career U.S. Senators. They, of course, could talk circles around him regarding federal issues (for a while at least), but they’ve never led in an executive manner in their positions.

    In any event, it’s good to think about my friend from Santa Barbara/Harvard. I hope you are well.

  7. Andrew Leyden’s avatar

    I can’t smash McCain on ‘experience’ and the pick of Palin if I’m unwilling to smash Obama on ‘change’ and the pick of Biden, longtime Washington crony and lobbyist’s friend.

  8. John Proffitt’s avatar

    My only tip to all the commenters and pundits out there that don’t really know Sarah Palin is this: don’t underestimate her.

    Palin isn’t from a rich family, doesn’t have an Ivy League education, and isn’t an intellectual in the east coast sense. But she’s a savvy politician (admittedly from a small stage) and has demonstrated a real drive to do the right things in government, from an ethical perspective. (Of course, her own slip-up in the Trooper scandal is the one glaring exception.)

    She’s also politically right-wing on social issues, but she’s more of a libertarian (in the Alaskan mold) when it comes to legislating morality — she demonstrates her pro-life stance personally, but has not taken any steps as governor to impose those feelings on the rest of the state.

    I think the really interesting question about Palin is not about qualifications or experience — issues that are overblown (Bush II had plenty of “experience,” but was, and is, a governmental and historical moron). The real question is whether she will toe the line with the talking points handed to her by the McCain campaign. Can she set aside her own brand of politicking and take a back seat to someone else’s priorities?

    If McCain and Palin have a truly different view over some substantive issues, what happens in Palin goes off message? She’s never been #2 before and has built her career, to date, as a maverick that keeps her own counsel, ignoring — and even battling — the party elders. She typically speaks her mind, which actually lines up with her real thoughts.

    McCain may rue the day he selected Sarah Palin as his VP, but not for the reasons all the pundits are citing.

  9. Doc Searls’s avatar

    John, thanks for the link to the timeline.

    Steve, great to see you here. For the rest of you who don’t know Steve, see here. The man is doing an amazing job of bringing transparency and good sense to governance in Utah. And he’s not alone.

    Earlier tonight I watched the Obama acceptance speech for the first time. (I was at a county fair with some boys when it ran live. Priorities.) It gave me chills. The man managed to channel the ghosts of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy at the same time. Yet he is clearly his own man.

    As I’ve said before, 1968 looms large in my memory. The aspirations of King and Kennedy — especially of King — were killed dead flat by those two assassinations. Some of the principles espoused at the time have never had a good hearing since. This is especially true of non-violence, which was a very effective and central strategy for King. It may still be around somewhere, but it has had little air time in the decades since.

    Listening to Obama, I am struck by something Andrew Sullivan said recently: that he is politically liberal but temperamentally conservative. I expect he’ll be far more of a centrist as a president than he was as a senator.

    Many months ago, when challenged about his competence as a chief executive, he said “watch how I run my campaign”. Whatever else you can say about the guy, he has run a very tight and smart ship.

    My main worry, still, is that somebody’s gonna shoot the guy. I don’t think the Secret Service has ever had a tougher job.

    As for McCain, I’m not sure what to think, frankly. I doubt the sky will fall if he’s elected. But I don’t expect the floor to rise, either.

    But if we do elect him, we’ll likely be appointing the next two presidents. And the second one will be Sarah Palin.

  10. James Jones’s avatar

    “Watch how [Obama] runs his campaign.” Funny you should say that; check out, titled “Obama vs. his staff.” Looks like he has a tendency to blame his staff for anything that raises an eyebrow.

  11. Ken Pierce’s avatar

    “Even less experience”? Nonsense. If it’s a matter of executive experience, she’s got more than the other three all put together (and if there’s one thing that American history teaches us very clearly indeed, it’s that a lifetime in the legislature is terrible preparation for the job of the Presidency; it is far more like the job of a governor or a general than it is like the job of a legislator). If it’s a matter of general experience in getting things done, well, Palin has spent a lifetime accomplishing real things both in the artificial world of politics and in the real world where the rest of us live, whereas Barack has spent a lifetime…talking and admiring himself.

    I don’t think Palin is ready to be President, and she could fold and collapse under the pressure, and I think the Republican Party in general is a sick joke; but on the other hand she’s more qualified than Obama is, and the Republican Party isn’t asking me to make her President — they’re asking me to let her start serving an apprenticeship that gives her the opportunity to get herself qualified to be President four years from now, though in voting for her we’re taking the risk that McCain will go down before she’s learned enough to be better than he is. But frankly, I don’t think that’s much of a risk, because the bar is so damned low — it’s not going to take Palin very many months in the Vice-Presidency to become better Presidential material than McCain is. Given the general crappiness I expect from McCain, I figure that if Palin’s got half the brains and initiative that her past performance suggests, it’ll only be about six months before I have to start reminding myself that I’m not allowed to wish Alzheimer’s on anyone, no matter how much I might want to go ahead and upgrade. This is not because I expect Palin to become the female George Washington within six months; it’s just because…hell, all she’s got to do is pass John Frickin’ What-Do-You-Mean-There’s-A-First-Amendment McCain. It’s not like that’s gonna be a very demanding task. As for Obama: she’s better Presidential material right now than Obama, in the blindness of his own self-adoration and the echo chamber of the Democratic Party and their lapdogs in the media, is ever likely to become. Right now I would be very unhappy to wake up tomorrow and find Sarah Palin in the Oval Office; but then I will be very unhappy to wake up and find either John McCain or Barack Obama in the White House, and if Joe Biden ever gets there I may just have to shoot myself. And at least Palin has a chance to become somebody who could be a good President; and the Vice-Presidency is the best place I can think of for her to learn what she needs to know. The next four years? Gonna suck, no matter which of the bozos at the top of the two tickets wins. But if Palin spends those four years as Vice President then there’s actually a chance that four years from now we’ll have a President I have confidence and pride in.

    And if it should come to pass (not that I’m particularly optimistic, you understand), it would be the first time in my entire career as a voter that I’ll ever have been able to say that.

    Meanwhile, I think the Democrats should stop asking, “But what happens if John McCain dies and Sarah Palin has to run the country,” and instead start asking, “But what happens if Joe Biden dies and Barack Obama has to run the country?”

  12. Calvin Dodge’s avatar

    Obama has been on the far Left for his entire political life (friends, mentors, pastors, legislative votes), and yet you think he will magically change to a centrist just because he gives good speeches? Especially if he gets a filibuster-proof Senate? Wake up, man!

    And if you’re concerned about freedom, consider Obama’s attempts to sic the Justice Department on people whose only “crime” is to air a truthful ad about his relationship with William Ayers.

    Don’t make the mistake of assuming your Hillary-supporting friends are representative of ALL the people who voted for Hillary (Pauline Kael once said that she didn’t understand how Nixon won the Presidential election, since nobody SHE knew had voted for him). I’m pretty sure that some women voted for Hillary just because of her gender, and at least SOME of them will vote for McCain-Palin for the same reason.

    To me, though, it doesn’t matter whether a candidate has breasts or balls (unless the candidate is running for the position of “Calvin’s spouse” – and I clearly discriminated on that basis when choosing someone for the position 8 years ago). I support Sarah Palin because of her positions on the issues AND her history of taking on corrupt government hacks REGARDLESS of party.

    Oh, and I’m one of the multitude whose support for McCain WAS going to be limited to voting in November. Since Friday, though, I’ve contributed to the campaign and signed up as a volunteer.

Comments are now closed.