Palin for VP

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on August 29, 2008

Well, you must've been in a cave if you haven't heard by now that Sen. John McCain picked first term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his V.P.

Response to the pick has been mixed -- and I'm just talking about the Republicans.

Many are glad to see a pro-life woman on the ticket who has solid, fiscal conservative credentials. On the other hand, Palin is not even two years into her first term as governor -- potentially spoiling one of McCain's best talking points -- that Sen. Barack Obama is too inexperienced to be entrusted with the presidency.

Some have suggested that Palin could help bring along some disillusioned Hillary Clinton voters -- count me skeptical.

On the other hand, I do see some merit to the possibility that Palin could get some younger men to the polls -- call it the Maxim magazine effect.

Palin has solid reformer credentials which may help the GOP side in this race. Palin rose through the political ranks by taking on the Alaska GOP machine. Barack Obama rose through the ranks through the power of the corrupt Chicago machine. Where Palin has stood up to the likes of (allegedly) corrupt Alaska Republicans (read: Don Young, Ted Stevens), Obama played the game (read: Tony Rezko, Stroger family) to get ahead.

Sarah Palin is a woman -- and that mere fact shouldn't matter when this campaign is run.

But it will.

The Obama campaign now has a minefield it has to tiptoe through. He could get away with some of the more vicious attacks he made on Hillary Clinton because she was a Clinton. He could get away with it because Bill Clinton continually opened his mouth wide in order to insert his own foot. He could do it because people could understand needing to go against the Clinton machine.

There is no Palin machine. Attacks on her that are not carefully phrased, can and will be construed as misogynistic. Already, some of this stupidity has reared its ugly head.

The campaign of that former community organizer's first response to the Palin announcement wasn't gracious -- like McCain's "congratulations" ad Thursday night. Instead, it was a typical attack.

Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies — that's not the change we need, it's just more of the same.

Of course, Barack Obama has zero foreign policy experience, and the Democrats want him to actually be President.

Reporters are also going to have to watch their step -- as CNN's John Roberts quickly learned.

JOHN ROBERTS: You know, there's one other issue -- we've talked about her experience and what depth of experience she has; the fact that maybe she tries to peel off a few women voters on the Democratic side, who really wanted to see a woman in the White House in some way, shape, or form. There's also this issue that on April 18th, she gave birth to a baby with Down's Syndrome.

John Roberts, CNN Anchor & Dana Bash, CNN Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgDANA BASH: Yes.

ROBERTS: The baby is just slightly more than four months old now. Children with Down's syndrome require an awful lot of attention. The role of Vice President, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child?

Dana Bash: "I guess -- my guess is that, perhaps, the line inside the McCain campaign would be, if it were a man being picked who also had a baby, but -- you know, four months ago with Down's Syndrome, would you ask the same question?"

Uh, no he wouldn't.

The vice presidential debate is going to be Palin's biggest challenge. America doesn't know if an Alaska governor is tough enough to play hardball with a lifelong Washington denizen like Biden. Biden, who has a tendency to condescend, is going to have to step lightly or expect a backlash like that that won Clinton her Senate seat after Rep. Rick Lazio made the mistake of looking like a bully in their debate.

Time will tell how this ultimately works out -- but in the short term it's had one positive effect for the McCain campaign: Do you see any lead stories on Obama just 20-some hours after he gave his big speech?

0 comments on “Palin for VP”

  1. Its a little bit of a trap for democrats, nobody is going to compare VP to VP, the comparison will end up being her in a vice president position to Obama in the president's position. At best their experience is equal (although she has at least been a governor, Obama hasn't). At the end people will have to ask "how can she be too inexperienced for Vice President, and Obama not be too inexperienced for President?"

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