Friday, August 29, 2008

It's a fine line...

So I got one out of two right. And hey, I said it was going to be Governor Pawlentry and instead it was Governor Palin. I got that it was a governor whose last name started with 'P'. That's got to count for something. Give me a 1.5 out of 2. I take some comfort that the number of pundits who boldly predicted that she would be the one, instead of just suggesting she had an outside chance, could easily be counted on one hand.

I don't know about this choice and I suspect it's too early to tell, not that that's stopping pundits everywhere from shooting off their mouths. The gambit runs about what you would expect. Those on the right love the fact that she's a woman, pro-life, an NRA member, attractive mother of five who led an anti-corruption campaign. Those on the left point out that not even two years ago she was mayor of a town about the size of Iqaluit, has zero foreign policy experience, is a pro-life "zealot" (opposes abortion in cases of rape and incest), is in the middle of a small corruption flap, is questionably ready to lead should John McCain drop dead in the next four years (distinctly possible) and is this, in fact, little more than a crass attempt to try and lure disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters to John McCain.

That last point seems to be a main selling point. We'll see if if works. Among the funnier shots was in a comment section of a commentary I read earlier today - "I know Hillary Clinton, I voted for Hillary Clinton. Governor, you're no Hillary Clinton."

It all depends what happen in the next couple of weeks. Running a state of 600,000 people is one thing, trying to survive a US presidential campaign, surely one of the most grueling and fierce challenges on the planet, is something else entirely. Maybe she charms the hell out of everyone and is a game changer. Maybe she bombs, unable to handle the leap to the big times.

My initial opinion? Well, pardon the baseball analogy, but it's like a baseball club in a tight race and they need a fresh arm to get them through the stretch. So they reach into AA league and grab a fresh face with a great arm. If they had left him alone for another couple of years, give him a chance to build up his arm, gets used to professional hitting and develop his pitches, there's little doubt he's going to be a star. But they're desperate now, so into the spotlight he goes.

I like baseball and I've watched enough of it to know that 80 per cent of the time the big league hitters light the rookie up like Christmas eve. And certainly I think that's the case with Palin. She's had an impressive start to her political career, but she's awfully green. And yes, the same could be said about Obama, but he's had 18 months to develop who he is and what he stands for on a national stage. She has two.

The odds are against her. Badly. But every now and then, one of them comes up and throws a no-hitter. Maybe that's Palin. I guess September, and the vice-presidential debate with 30+ year senate vet Joe Biden in October, will tell. But I think they pulled her out of the minors way too soon.

However, I do agree on one point that's cropped up online. What does this pick say about McCain? This story says he met her one time and spoke on the phone with her once before offering her the position last week.

When Obama made his choice, he spent months vetting and meeting all the potential candidates, including campaigning with them. He made a careful, considered choice. McCain picked someone he met once six months ago, which is a bit rash no matter which way you spin in.

Certainly it wouldn't require much of a stretch to view how each man picked his vice-president would be indicative of how he would react as president. I'm an Obama fan, that's true. But even if I wasn't, how McCain made his choice would cause me concern. I suspect I won't be the only one.

As one Republican operative said at the end of the above story - “There is a fine line between clever and stupid.”


Last Five
1. You don't understand - The Raconteurs
2. Slipped jigs - Kelly Russell and the Planks*
3. Blinded by the light (live) - Bruce Springsteen
4. Lion's jaws - Neko Case
5. Black star - Radiohead

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