Sunday, August 31, 2008

more thoughts on Palin. . .

First up, however, prayers for the residents of the Gulf Coast. I hope they are all gone by now, in a safer location, and that they all have something in decent repair to go home to before mid-week.

Next up: no, I'm not obsessed with Governor Palin. But this whole game is quite interesting, and I'm still chock full of thoughts. Here are some of them. . .

-- My brother wrote a while ago that even today, on the eve of September, we can have no idea what issue is going to be at the forefront of a swing voter's mind in November, which is a sage observation. But let's look at the bases covered in the McCain/Palin ticket:

Military experience and strategic thinking--check. For evidence, see McCain, John S; see also surge;

Energy policy--check. . .or at least one hopes that Palin brings that to the ticket. If McCain can open himself up to drilling in ANWR, consider that a double-check;

reform: big-time check. And IF McCain can steal this mantle away from Obama. . .well, that's about checkmate. I don't think he'll be THAT successful on this theme--but all he has to do is be good enough to keep OH red.

middle-America values: check. Forget about the houses--which I hope McCain will help the voters do--and let's talk about the people. One Presidential candidate spent his entire younger years attending to the needs of our country by serving in the military; the other spent his in attendance at Rev. Wright's church. On the #2, one has worked her way up from news reporter through several rungs on the ladder up to the chief executive officer of the biggest state in the union; the other entered service in the self-described "broke" government at the age of 29 and hasn't left. Which ticket do you think better relates to middle-America?

Again, we can't know today what is going to happen between now and Nov. 4th, but I think McCain-Palin is a good, all-the-bases-covered ticket.

-- I wrote the other day that I don't think Palin will take many Hillary supporters away from Obama, and I still believe that. HOWEVER, I think Obama is in a tough position right now and I wouldn't be surprised if he blew it. He already walked a tight line in getting embittered Hillary supporters not to hate him; if he or his campaign allows the continual reference to Palin as something other than a woman of accomplishment (hello, MSNBC!) without correcting the record, he may very well alienate the more moderate Hillary voters. I'm not insinuating that they'll vote for McCain in droves--or even at all--but all McCain needs is for those folks to keep from getting involved, either through campaign-type activities or through monetary contributions. If the only people Obama has making contact with swing voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan are his "true believers". . .well, they aren't likely to be persuasive. Obama needs the moderates to appeal to other moderates, and lacking that, his GOTV efforts are probably going to find some tough going. So Obama needs to make sure that he keeps those moderates in his camp--and he can only make so many attacks (both in number and type) on Palin before the Hillaryists may start giving him a look that he wouldn't enjoy. Or survive.

-- To me, however, the most important thing that I think Palin brings to the ticket is freedom for McCain to be McCain. (Did I really just say that?) I think that the absence of genuine base-generated enthusiasm for his ticket was going to eventually be a drag on McCain's campaign.

This is not so much of a concern anymore.

As Palin shores up the right, McCain can make his (natural) appeal to the middle. He may not be inspirational, but at least he is clear and commanding when he is comfortable.

And Palin gives him that comfort.


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