Monday, September 1, 2008

Change Beats Experience: Palin is Perfect

With all the hubbub over John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential nominee, I was wondering how it became the norm for the party nominee to select his running mate. It certainly seems odd that after an incredible amount of time and money is spent to determine the Presidential candidate, the Vice President can be picked on a whim.

I found the answer in an article appropriately entitled: "Process of Selecting Vice President Evolved over Centuries.
America’s earliest running mates often competitors rather than partners." It's a pretty good summary of all the stuff I used to know about this subject before my gray matter starting turning really gray. Do you remember that it wasn't until after Eisenhower in 1952 that the Presidential candidate unilaterally selected his running mate? I didn't.

Well, what about McCain's VP choice? It seems to me that the GOP pollsters must have determined that they were not going to win the election based on "Experience", or, to put it more directly, Obama's lack thereof. That means that "Change" will be the key factor.

This was a real problem for McCain. Obama says he's the Change guy, with his continuous chant that McCain is nothing but four more years of Bush. But McCain has always prided himself on being a maverick who goes against the straight line of his party to do what's right for the country. He's even compromised with the other side from time to time, acts which really ticked off his "Base".

So, the answer is to select another Change person who can also bolster his standing with the GOP Base. To McCain, apparently Palin is Perfect.

She's first and foremost a politician who changed the game in Alaska when she took on her own party's politicians for their egregious lack of ethics (and, in some cases, lack of legality).

Second, she's a she. Perhaps that will get McCain a few Hillary supporters, hoping that the women will overlook her political positions, which are almost exactly the opposite of Ms. Clinton.

Third, she's an Evangelical Christian and long term member of the NRA. What more could the lunatic far right wing of his Base want?

Fourth, just let those pesky Dems bring up her lack of experience. This forces them to explain just exactly how their number one guy has more experience than the GOP's number two gal. Here's how I presume McCain expects that debate to go: "She's run the largest state in the land, one of the smallest cities in the land, and a PTA. OK, now, it's your turn. Are you going to tell us again how Obama was an "Organizer" in Chicago for a few months. By the way, what the heck is an Organizer? And it was in Chicago. Sure sounds like a job Tony Soprano and his pals handled in New Jersey."

Will this strategy work? We'll have to wait to find out. It's a high risk, but possibly high payoff gamble.

I'll close with an old aphorism. If you don't like the question, change the topic. Whatever you think of his choice of VP, I think McCain did that pretty well.

1 comment:

Incontrovertible said...

Based on Palin's speech last night at the Republican Convention, part of McCain's strategy may work. Namely, propping up his Base. They seem energized to support the ticket for the first time.

It's too early to know if Palin will help McCain with independents or ex-Clinton supporters.