Just how bad was the Palin pick?
It's hard to think of a person with less experience than Palin who would bring more baggage to the ticket
It's now clear that picking Sarah Palin as a running mate was a monumental error. Here are some pros and cons:
1) By picking Palin, McCain energizes the whacko fringe of his party. Obama could have accomplished the same thing by picking Cindy Sheehan or Gavin Newsom (Newsom is mayor of San Francisco, a city with five times as many people as Alaska), but Obama decided that it was more prudent to pursue moderate and independent voters.
2) That's about it.
1) The reason Palin energizes the whacko wing of the party is that she openly embraces their most far-out positions. She denies the scientific consensus on global warming. She thinks abortion ought to be illegal, even in cases of rape or incest. She opposes comprehensive sex education. She thinks that creationism should be taught in public schools.
2) Palin's craziness goes beyond her positions on the issues. She fired Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan when Monegan refused to fire a state trooper who divorced Palin's sister. When she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Palin asked the town librarian about removing objectionable books, then tried to fire the librarian when she refused to consider a book ban. I can remember when Palin's supporters were calling Hillary Clinton a ball-breaking Nazi because she fired some staffers from the White House travel office over alleged financial improprieties (the travel office director was later indicted for embezzlement, but acquitted). She's called the Iraq war "a task that is from God," and said that building a natural gas pipeline in Alaska was "God's will."
3) Palin is as dishonest as they come. For months, she denied that anyone on her staff pressured Walt Monegan to fire Palin's ex-brother-in-law. Palin didn't admit that her aides and her husband applied pressure until Monegan produced a tape recording of a telephone conversation in which he was pressured to fire the state trooper. She says that she fought the corruption of Senator Ted Stevens, but she was director of Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc., which raised funds for the disgraced lawmaker. She says that she opposes pork barrel spending like Stevens' 300 million dollar "bridge to nowhere", but she was actually a supporter of the project.
4) Palin is a world-class hypocrite. She favors abstinence-only education, but was pregnant before she married and is now raising a daughter who became pregnant at age 16. And as governor, Palin blocked funds for teenage mothers.
5) Palin is, by any reasonably objective standard, very inexperienced. She's only been governor of Alaska for a year and a half. If Alaska were a city, it would be the 74th largest in America, right behind Sarasota, Florida. While Palin's lack of experience probably won't hurt McCain directly, it could turn out to be her biggest liability. The reason is that John McCain has repeatedly questioned Obama's fitness to serve as president, based on Obama's alleged lack of experience. This was McCain's most successful avenue of attack, and now it's unavailable to him. Also, by picking Palin, McCain revealed that he wasn't being very honest when he said that he was troubled by Obama's lack of experience.
The choice of Palin bring up, once again, serious questions about John McCain's judgment. But it also reveals McCain's condescending attitude toward women. Everyone knows that McCain can only win by getting a lot of votes from disaffected Clinton voters. The only reason the polls have been close is that most of Clinton's backers told pollsters that they might support McCain. So McCain camp decided to ignore all of these voters' issues and concerns about experience, and pick Palin.
It's clear that McCain thought that women are more concerned about identity politics than they are about the national security or the economy, but it looks like he was wrong: 9% of women polled said that Palin makes them more likely to vote for McCain, while 55% said that it makes them less likely to support McCain.
So how bad was this pick? Check out the self-contradictions that the Republican faithful have to go through in order to support Palin:
I'm still laughing over "No Spin" O'Reilly's reversal. And that's just a few examples of what they're saying in public. This is the sort of thing they're saying when the microphones are turned off:
Here's a transcript:
Murphy: You know, because I come out of the blue swing state government work. Engler, Whitman, Thompson, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush. And these guys, this is all how you want to (inaudible) this race. You know, just run it up. And it’s not gonna work.
Noonan: It’s over.
Murphy: Still, McCain can give a version of the Lieberman speech to do himself some good.
Noonan: I saw Kay this morning
Todd: They’re all bummed out. I mean, is she really the most qualified woman they could have turned to?
Murphy: She’s never been comfortable.
Noonan: The most qualified? No. I think they went for this, excuse me, political bullshit about narratives and (inaudible) the picture.
Murphy: Yeah, but what’s the narrative?
Noonan: Every time the Republicans do that because that’s not where they live and it’s not what they’re good at and they blow it.
Murphy: You know what’s really the worst thing about it? The greatness of McCain is no cynicism
Todd: And as you called it gimmicky.
Murphy: ... and this is cynicism.
"It's over." "Gimmicky." "This is cynicism."
This is what they're saying when they think nobody can hear them, as they prepare to lie and say that Palin would make a fine president. I think the part of that exchange I like the most is Peggy Noonan using the shit word, because if it had been Democrats who were caught cussing she'd be talking about those no-class, potty-mouth liberals for the next three weeks.
I don't think that McCain was going to win the election anyway, but I think that by picking Palin he signed his own political death warrant.
(cross posted at appletree)