So McCain (in a move undoubtedly planned to take steal some thunder from Obama) announced his Vice Presidental pick today – Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska.
I don’t get it.
To tell you the truth, the last few weeks seems to have been filled with oddball moments in politics. First, Obama flubs the expected high heat from Rev Warren (“That’s beyond my pay grade” – really? You know this question is coming and this is the best you come up with?) Then Obama picks Biden as his VP – a senator who hasn’t quite been around as long as dirt. Not that I don’t like Joe (even when I disagree with his politics, the guy is inclined to be rather blunt, which is refreshing in politics) but he hardly seems to be a natural for the “Change” candidate. Then last night Obama delivers quite an excellent speech, and does what he should have done when Warren served up the “when does life begin” question -> he reframes it. This is, after all, what his campaign message has been all along… “let’s not focus on what divides us, but what unites us”.
I think Mr. Obama needs a bit more rest; the campaign seems to be wearing a bit on his ability to talk outside oration. Whether or not you think that Obama is just chock full o’ it or an honestly genuine guy, you have to admit that last night he gave a Presidental speech. The man certainly knows how to talk without sounding like an idiot (or acting like his audience is a collection of idiots, something the current office holder does with depressing regularity). If it comes down to looking Presidential, Obama blows McCain away. Heck, even Pat Buchanan, hardly a fan of liberalism, liked the speech:
But I digress.
So today McCain busts out with an entirely unexpected VP pick. This is actually something I expected (that the pick would be unexpected), simply because picking the unexpected pick would dish up media talk, and media talk is what McCain needs. He’s got little in the way of monetary resources in comparison to Obama, so all the free press he can net is good press. Picking a woman is something a cynic would say is a good call – woo those disillusioned feminist Clinton supporters! Uh, except Palin’s not exactly a feminist candidate. This isn’t like picking Susan Collins, who at least has been in the Senate for 12 years. Collins was actually my secret pick – heading up the FEMA investigation after Katrina answers that Democratic charge, she’s a moderate and would appeal to independents, she’s worked in health care reform – also answering that Democratic talking point, and she’s got a 100% rating from the Small Business folks. Palin’s a relative political newbie. If you’re going to be saying that Obama is too young and inexperienced to run the country, Palin’s just a weird pick. Unless…
Palin’s a diehard pro-life supporter. McCain may be trying to buck up his pro-life credentials, and a pro-life woman running mate is an intriguing combo. But you’re not going to get pro-choice independents with Palin as your running mate (whereas Collins has gone pro-choice in the past). I don’t think McCain *needed* a diehard pro-life supporter. Contrary to the radio pundit I heard this morning, diehard pro-lifers weren’t going to cross over to Obama under any circumstances, so McCain’s perceived lack of antiabortion votes isn’t really a loser for him, is it? Is Palin really going to get the anti-abortionist crowd out?
If anything is going to get the anti-abortion crowd out to the polls this election cycle, it’s going to be the Democrats talking about Supreme Court justices and how this next President is going to set the court’s personae for the next decade. When Gore brought it up last night, it flashed on me that this is a line of attack that can only cost the Democrats an advantage this campaign. Anti-abortion voters will vote for McCain if there’s a remote possibility that it can net an overturn of Roe v Wade. Pro-choice voters, on the other hand, are probably less concerned about Obama losing.
Anyway, Palin is definitely an ethics reformer candidate. Maybe that will be the talking point during the elephant circus next week, we’ll see. If it comes down to a VP debate, my gut call is that Biden will eat her alive, but I don’t know much about her public speaking skills, so that’s more based upon Joe ripping into someone on Meet the Press than it is a fair and balanced political analysis.
Now it’s almost time for the coin flip. Teams have been picked. The crowd is tired of the pregame show. Captain Obama, this is Captian McCain. Captain McCain, this is Captain Obama. You’ve got the toss there, Captain Obama… Captain Obama calls “Heads”… it’s…