Is She a Game-Changer?

Sarah Palin was no one’s expected choice for John McCain’s vice presidential running mate. And that in itself is remarkable. John McCain did exactly what a self-styled “maverick” leader should do: he picked the person no one expected he would.

My first reaction: this is a brilliant move.  Just as Obama picked a cynical old white man Washington career politician (Joe Biden) for his running mate, McCain counters by picking a young, idealistic, tough-as-nails woman from Alaska! That’s about as far from Joe Biden as you can get…

She’s a great pick for other reasons:

-She’s huge on family values and pro-life issues. This is what McCain needed to reassure social conservatives and Catholics.

-She’ll be a boon for the Western vote. The typically red-state West is in play this election, and she should give McCain’s campaign a big boost among western republicans and independents. She’s all about gun rights, small government, and traditional values. And she’s not Mitt Romney.

-She’s a woman! This is amazing and historic: the first woman to ever appear on a Republican presidential ticket. And in a year when Hillary was supposed to be there! I imagine a number of Hillary’s 18 million fans will wonder: why didn’t Obama pick Hillary for VP??? How embarrassing for the democrats that in a year when they had the best female candidate, they chose two male senators and let the republicans “break the glass ceiling.”

-She’s an amazing amalgam of likeable traits. She’s a “hockey mom,” played tons of sports in high school and college, was a beauty queen, is a hunter, a former union member, is married to a champion snowmobiler/fisherman, and has a son in Iraq.

-She’s a Washington outsider, unlike the other three people in the election. She has a small-town, down-to-earth feel (mother of five… and one baby just recently born) and will really appeal to the “Obama is elitist and out-of-touch” people out there…

-She’s a good speaker. I just watched her speech from Dayton, OH. She has the right mix of force/authority and deference. You can tell from her speaking tone that she can spar with anyone and hold her own, while also demonstrating a mother’s compassion.

-She’ll clean house. As governor of Alaska, she’s cleaned up some of the corruption in that state’s republican party. Republicans need someone like her, coupled with Maverick McCain, to clean house and rid Washington of cronyism and “good ole boy” clubs…

-She looks like Tina Fey!

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11 responses to “Is She a Game-Changer?

  1. Didn’t Geraldino Ferraro break the glass ceiling of becoming a vice presidential nominee of a major political party two decades ago?

  2. By Geraldino I meant Geraldine.

  3. • She’s currently under investigation for abuse of power.

    • I honestly don’t feel that an old white guy choosing a woman for political reasons counts as breaking the glass ceiling. Men making choices that are symbolically empowering to women are actually the opposite of feminism.

  4. I also wonder what this will do to the two big arguments McCain’s been making: Obama is inexperienced (Palin has spent about 20 months governing a population smaller than Obama’s state senate district in Illinois— Obama has, at the least, sat in on foreign policy sessions and dealt with national and international issues on the floor of the U.S. Senate, but Palin has exactly zero foreign policy experience), and Obama is a celebrity (she’s a former beauty pageant winner who, prior to today, was only known for being ‘America’s Hottest Governor ‘(look it up!) and has done several fashion shoots).

  5. LOVE this wise, out-of-the-box pick! AND, the complete opposite of Biden!

  6. She’s a game-changer in the sense that the man’s blown it. He’s lost his two best arguments against Obama– that Obama is too inexperienced and that McCain takes national security more seriously– and he’s brought to the forefront an issue he really doesn’t want people to be harping on, i.e., his age and health. He also, apparently, thinks women are gullible, though early polls are suggesting he’s dead wrong. It’s his first real decision as a commander in chief, and it’s a completely non-serious one. Might as well have picked Paris Hilton, the way he’s jumped the shark with this one.

  7. The commentary I’ve been hearing is that Obama’s Biden pick is good for running an administration; McCain’s Palin pick is good for running a campaign.

  8. The investigation re: abuse of power won’t be an issue; McCain’s search committee undoubtedly examined that situation (and any similar baggage) and concluded it safe to go with her. And the experience issue is a ridiculous and hypocritical thing to harp on… Alaska or not, Palin has executive experience which Obama does not. It’s super condescending for Obama’s camp to point to Palin and say “Oh, she’s just governor of tiny, insignificant Alaska.” That kind of talk will only add fuel to the fire of one of Obama’s big weaknesses: appealing to small town America. I also think it’s implicitly sexist to assume that Obama–who has been a city organizer, state senator, and junior U.S. Senator (and that’s all)–can be trusted in the role of leader of the free world but Palin (b/c she’s a small town soccer mom) cannot be trusted as VP. Do we value women so little that we don’t think that they are capable of holding their own when thrust into “big time” politics? I, for one, trust that Palin can achieve all that is asked of her and more, doing what women have always done in America: fought to outperform culturally-imposed low expectations.
    By the way, the VP role is far less important than people are assuming it is. Historically it has primarily been a “compliment the president” position or a symbolic role … not a Cheney-style powermonger.

  9. McCain’s search committee undoubtedly examined that situation (and any similar baggage) and concluded it safe to go with her.

    As surprising as it sounds, it appears that isn’t true. None of Palin’s people nor the people involved in the scandals had any idea she was under serious consideration, which means no one was sniffing around.

    Alaska or not, Palin has executive experience which Obama does not.

    This is baloney. Obama’s been running a nationwide campaign with thousands of employees and volunteers longer than Palin has been governor; the small town she was mayor of had about 100 employees. If managing 100 people is executive experience, I know a lot of Target store managers who should be president.

    Over the long, long course of the presidential campaign so far, Obama has proven himself to run a tight ship, wisely, successfully outmaneuvering people who have been at this game far longer than he has (re: Hillary Clinton). That’s not only executive experience, but a good indication of what kind of executive he is. If he weren’t proven experientially at the outset of the race, it seems ludicrous to suggest that he is, at this point, still unproven. Palin, on the other hand, has a scant 60 days to define herself and make herself known to the country. McCain’s own campaign has stated that her lack of any foreign policy experience can be made up via on-the-job training under John McCain: if this is the case, what makes her any more qualified than someone randomly picked off the street?

    The fact is that Palin was considered out of the veepstakes months ago by people on both sides of the political spectrum who were following it closely: There are reasons for that.

    I also think it’s implicitly sexist to assume that Obama–who has been a city organizer, state senator, and junior U.S. Senator (and that’s all)–can be trusted in the role of leader of the free world but Palin (b/c she’s a small town soccer mom) cannot be trusted as VP. Do we value women so little that we don’t think that they are capable of holding their own when thrust into “big time” politics?

    I haven’t seen anyone suggest Palin isn’t ready for the big time because she’s a small-town soccer mom. But consider this: What, honestly, do you think the reaction would be to John McCain’s pick if he’d chosen someone male whose resume exactly matched Palin’s? Criticism of Palin’s inadequacy for the job has nothing to do with her gender and everything to do with her inadequacy for the job, and to thrust her gender into the argument is disingenuous.

  10. If the blogosphere is any indication, the selection of Palin has reawakened evangelicals. And seeing their lackadaisical response to McCain pre-VP, that’s a plus. Re: Mr. Hurst’s suggestion that Palin nullifies the “Obama inexperience” issue — I think it magnifies it. On the McCain ticket, the experience falls to the mentor, the Presidential candidate. But in the case of the Obama ticket, the VP is the mentor and holds the experience. Obama is the mentee. And Brett, is it just me or is The Search tilting more and more towards politics?

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