Friday, August 29, 2008

First Thoughts On Palin

John McCain has decided to select Sarah Palin, the first term governor of Alaska, as his running mate. Admittedly, I've never heard of her before (despite having several friends from that state and all of the corruption charges being bandied about up there) so I'm still reading up on her but I will admit that I'm impressed with this move. McCain has run his campaign thus far in what I would describe as a bungling attempt to sling copious amounts of mud at his opponent, never looking or thinking two steps ahead but this choice is definitely politically savvy.

For one, going with a younger woman from a relatively exotic locale achieves his goal of stealing some of Obama's thunder after an historic Democratic nomination, giving the pundits and talking heads plenty to discuss as we enter the weekend news break. She's also pro-life, pro-ANWAR drilling, the only one of the candidates with any executive experience and has actively opposed the corruption in her state's government (although she's had some problems of her own of late). On top of that, she's a former Miss Alaska contestant and I have to say that I dig the Tiny Fey glasses; hey, I find smart sexy. And Joe Biden's role as attack dog is now made that much harder as he doesn't want to come off as beating up on a woman.

On the minus side, she is a former mayor of a town of 6000 and is only in her second year as the governor of a state of 600,000 (roughly the population of the District of Columbia), so it's going to make those Republican accusations of inexperience about Barack Obama harder to stick considering that she'd be a heartbeat away from the presidency of a 72 year old. Her stance in favor of drilling in ANWAR goes against that of John McCain and she has gone on record as supporting the teaching of creationism in schools. Also, her foreign policy experience is exactly nil; in fact, I can't find one instance of her actually saying anything about issues overseas.

So while I think Palin is a good choice for a vice-presidential candidate by McCain as a very blatant bid to woo disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters (although her stance of completely outlawing abortion rights in any situation will definitely hurt her there), I don't see her being a very effective vice-president. Unfortunately, our modern political system seems to heavily favor those who are good at running for office over those who are good at running the country and I'm sure McCain's people realize and are counting on that fact. In short, I think McCain is taking a high risk/high reward gamble here that was necessitated by his poor odds of winning in the fall and it could very well pay off for him; I just hope that it's not at the expense of this country. Basically though, I just got a little more worried about Obama's chances.


Anonymous said...

From an Alaskan's finger tips:
I used to chuckle when people listed her as a potential VP pick. Damn. She's actually doing good as the AK guv, but that sure don't mean she should be VP. Total ploy for pissed off Hillary voters. Lame. She is hot, especially by Alaska standards, and I like the fact that she's a newcomer - even to AK politics - but I think when the shine wears off this will look and feel quite different.

JBW said...

Nice to have the AK boy weigh in on this one. And I agree with every sentiment you just expressed.