Friday, August 29, 2008

Mrs Palin

I didn't know who Sarah Palin was before this morning -- but it seems like a smart pick for McCain in a lot of ways.

McCain's biggest obstacle is his ties to George Bush and the Republican administration of the past eight years. His best bet is to go to the convention calling for a return to Republican virtue, like Brutus going to the Senate to kill Caesar. Cast himself as Teddy Roosevelt, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan, coming to return his party from the wilderness of excessive spending, incompetent war management, torture, and corruption. Palin, who has no ties at all to the Bush administration or even the Republican establishment in Alaska, lets him do that. He can be the conservative insurgent against an unconservative administration -- and appeal to the disaffected conservatives who think that the mistake of the Bush administration is that it wasn't conservative enough.

Essentially he has to argue that while the Republicans have erred, the Democrats haven't developed anything new to offer the American people. Their platform is the same the Democrats have always run on; higher taxes, bigger government programs, protectionism, throwing up the border, trying to legislate against family values. He has to do what Al Gore did, in running against his predecessor -- except there's a lot more meat for McCain to do it.

Barack Obama showed everyone with his speech last night that he is a dangerous man, serious and ready to bring the fight. Sarah Palin, frankly, doesn't come off that way, but maybe she doesn't need to. She can be the Reaganesque "Morning in America" optimist, looking to the future, to the American West, to the new economy workers of Colorado and Nevada, the blue-collar "hockey moms" of Minnesota and the Dakotas, the "feminists for life" represented by Elizabeth Hasselbeck on The View.

If the Democrats win, it will be -- in part -- because they come across as the serious campaign against the sideshow, the cranky old man and the lightweight. It will also be because Americans really do want to get out of Iraq, that they really are looking for new solutions to our energy crisis, and they no longer trust Republicans, any Republicans, to run the government. It was also be because Barack Obama is big time, and McCain/Palin really isn't. Obama's called out the Republicans for making big elections about small things, and if that's the standard that everyone holds both parties to, I think the Democrats will win. But make no mistake -- this will be a different election from the one we thought we might get.

1 comment:

Tim said...

I don't want to add another post about this, but I wonder: why didn't McCain pick Mike Huckabee? Huckabee has negatives, yes, but they're all negatives Palin has more deeply, especially lack of foreign policy experience. Evangelicals like him, the press likes him, he's a great campaigner with lots of executive experience, and he likewise suggests a different direction for the Republican party. The Wall Street Journal guys don't like him, because every once in a while, he seems to care about poor people, but yeesh -- those guys aren't going to flip for Palin either, I don't think.

Again, it only makes sense if you're planning on running on a return to bedrock conservative principles and moral virtue. But Palin has squandered some of her reformer cred with the dust-up over trying to get her brother-in-law fired. And even if she could tip a state like Colorado back into the red, it doesn't matter if she loses Florida for McCain. (Palin supported Pat Buchanan for President in 1996 and 2000.)