McCain Picks Palin

by Sean Hackbarth

Sarah Palin

What should we make of Gov. Sarah Palin as Sen. John McCain’s Vice Presidential pick? Well, she’s got more executive experience than McCain, Obama, and Biden combined.

Palin hurts McCain’s recent attacks on Obama’s inexperience. However, it puts Democrats in a precarious position. If they knock Palin for not being experienced enough to be Vice President (one heartbeat way from being President) what does it say about Obama, a man with even less experience?

This assumes McCain will keep on using the inexperience attack.

There are a handful of moments when a Presidential candidate can define his strategy. There’s the announcement. Then if he’s lucky the speech where he wins enough delegates to ensure the nomination. There’s the Vice President announcement. Then finally the party convention. At these big moments the candidate has maximum media exposure. It’s when he can make major changes to his argument without it seeming like he’s making major changes. Press and pundits make new calculations immediately and are more willing to accept a strategy change.

So it’s certainly possible the with the Palin pick McCain will turn down the inexperience attacks and instead go after Obama for being the ordinary, liberal politician he showed he was with his acceptance speech. Maybe Obama’s Chicago ties will be used more extensively (Tony Rezko has already been mentioned in an ad). Now is a good time for a message switch.

I had reservations towards Palin in February mostly because McCain’s experience argument gets undercut. Now, I worry that when conservatives dig a little they’ll find someone not as much of a conservative rock star as she appears. For instance in an interview in 2006 with the Alaska branch of the NEA Palin not only opposed school vouchers but wouldn’t support changing the state constitution to allow for vouchers. McCain supports school choice:

If a school will not change, the students should be able to change schools. John McCain believes parents should be empowered with school choice to send their children to the school that can best educate them just as many members of Congress do with their own children. He finds it beyond hypocritical that many of those who would refuse to allow public school parents to choose their child’s school would never agree to force their own children into a school that did not work or was unsafe. They can make another choice. John McCain believes that is a fundamental and essential right we should honor for all parents.

The campaign will have to address those differences.

On the positive side for being at the top of state politics Palin seems and sounds so normal. She fishes, hunts, and walks to work like a lot of other Americans. She has an accent that’s one part Wisconsin and one part Upper Michigan. The stories about her son going off to fight in Iraq and her youngest child being born with Down’s Syndrome are touching. Palin’s husband, “The First Dude,” is even a member of a steelworkers union. She should easily be able to relate to blue collar workers in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Her biography is good…too good. Something will come up. Palin will have to endure intense scrutiny and must survive her first test to convince skeptics she could handle the Presidency.

The immediate effect of the Palin pick is conservative enthusiasm. She generated plenty of positive chatter in the conservative blogosphere. The McCain campaign told Mark Halperin they raked in $3 million. And she’s generated enough excitement that fans are building lists of Palin “Little Known Facts.”

[picture via triciaward]

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5 Responses to “McCain Picks Palin”


I appreciate your balanced appraisal. Although picking Palin is a risk, it is well conceived and has great potential. I am one Republican who is more enthused than I was yesterday: Nervous but enthused. Have fun in St. Paul!


What an amazing pick by McCain!! Gov. Palin brings in a distinguished record of executive experience, running a successful and popular Government in Alaska. An ideal ticket is one where 1 person brings in the Washington experience/foreign policy/national security experience and the other brings in executive/administrative experience. This can be seen from all winning tickets in the past few decades. The republican ticket is the perfect ticket now. She has a record of clean governance, bipartisanship and reducing wasteful spending and is an ideal choice for McCain’s VP.

For all those who wish to raise the ‘experience’ question – do you honestly believe that Gov. Palin is too inexperienced to be President (a post for which, btw, she is NOT running for) despite being the Governor of Alaska for nearly 2 years and a mayor for many years before that, while Sen Obama is experienced enough to be President (a post he is running for)? If you honestly believe Palin is inexperienced, there is now way you could support Obama. Palin brings in executive experience, McCain and Biden bring Washington, foreign policy experience – what exactly does Obama bring in? Neither of the 2.

Also, it is incorrect to see the choice of Gov Palin as a gimmick to pander to the women voters. While that is a bonus, the most important point is that she would be an excellent person for the role of VP in McCain’s administration, with the executive experience, to help him run the country effectively. None of us know too much about her, but whatever little Ive heard so far is immensely impressive. I request all voters to give her a fair chance, do some research and find out about her, and you will see that her candidacy is no gimmick.


I know that in monitoring a Hillary Clinton forum thread yesterday (and so were alot of other folks apparently), many people were gushing about this choice, some to the point of tears even, some to the point of going to McCain’s website and signing up, some already vowing to drop coin for the campaign…so some of that $3mil may be from Hillary Democrats….

My favorite line from that forum yesterday…..

“She is our Princess Diana”

A little excessive, but notable….


I for one am siked about this choice, to the point where I actually have sent the campaign a contribution & ordered up my yard sign. If McCain would have picked Leiberman I would have sat this one out. Still wish it was Fred going to the big dance but with my state being a late voting state in the primaries at least I can now say I like the ticket if not whole-heartedly love it. Have fun at the convention! Wish I could get time off to go….


She shoots her own food. What’s not to like?

Seriously, some very lib – v e r y lib – women I know have already switched sides. This in just two days. Without knowing anything or much about Palin.

(Which, truthfully, is a rather sad notion to one who decides political stances based on things other than gender, race, looks, and other non-essentials. But we can’t ignore certain facts and trends….)

I believe that small ripple example may increase to a tsunami once the nation’s women get better acquainted with her. She is the quintessential soccermom-supermom-”Bring Home the Bacon, Fry It up In The Pan”mom (only it would be moose meat that she gutted on the tundra).

And that’s just the lefty gals.

Sean sez: >>>”The immediate effect of the Palin pick is conservative enthusiasm. ”

Sean, the Con Gals are going absolutely BONKERS. Where they were sit-on-the-couch complacent to go along – ~yawn~ McCain – they now have a specific, terrific reason to get out the vote. It’s going to be a huge swing in this regard.

I have no doubt McCain now has, or will have soon, every one of those Who Clings to Their Guns And Religion. He will have every blue-collar Joe who ever went a-huntin’ because SHE hunts and HER Joe is Blue Collar and, heck, even af’er all them rugrats she ain’t bad to look at.

And from what I’ve seen so far she certainly presents a stark contrast to the ever-scowling Michelle Obama; where her smile seems genuine, Michele’s seems labored.

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