Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

McCain’s VP Pick: Blunder or Brilliance?

with 19 comments

I’ve been mulling over McCain’s VP pick, Sarah Palin, for the past day. I’ve looked up a little bit about her, but pretty much ignored what any of the pundits had to say so I could form my own opinion. It’s a painful process but I’ve had some good luck with it before. And at the very least, if I’m wrong, I have no one to blame but myself. Sadly, I’ve also noticed that with practise, I seem to be getting better at forming opinions that seem reasonable to most people, even people who disagree with me. Why sadly? Because my opinions are often depressing.

As an aside, I just got my first “You’re a liberal F–, you should move to France with the other P—–s” comment the other day. He went on to articulate his case in a cogent and elegant manner; cutting my arguments to shreds and illuminating his position in a logically unassailable way. Snort. No, the stuff in quotes was pretty much the whole comment. I mean, sheesh, I may be a bit condescending or what not, but I really do try to listen to opposing viewpoints and am happy to have people point out where I am logically  or factually in error. I’ve changed a few of my opinions because of feedback I’ve received on Doug’s Darkworld. I can pretty much guarantee that name calling and insults won’t change my mind about anything.

So anyhow I have some preliminary thoughts about Palin as VP. My first impression was, wow, she’s not a bad looking woman. I know some may say that’s sexist, no, that was my first impression and probably the first impression of a great many people. And the fact is, this certainly can’t hurt, being good looking is a huge political asset in almost any age. It was kind of a surprise pick to me, but I hadn’t really thought about it much beforehand. I was wondering if McCain was delaying his VP pick to upstage and counter Obama’s pick, if that’s the case, he’s done a brilliant job of it.

In other words, I think McCain just clinched the election. There are so many ways this can help him, and very little the Democrats can do to capitalize on it, that I think this will easily put him over the edge. I mean, what are the Democrats going to do? Attack her for their inexperience? They can’t do that without doing collateral damage to Obama. If Democrats go after her possibly criminal behaviour, the Republicans will counter with Obama’s problem in regard to criminal associates. They attack the fact that she should be taking care of her five kids, well, that’s suicidal coming from liberals! I mean, haven’t  liberals claimed that having careers is what women should be doing? So far all the avenues of attack I can think of for the Democrats…are easily countered by obvious Republican ploys.  I heard one of her kid’s is going to Iraq, pretty much demolishing any sort of claim she is an elitist for example.

Then there’s the crossover problem. How many McCain supporters are going to jump ship and vote for Obama now that he has Biden as a VP? Very very few, I mean, they have an old white war hero on their ticket already, and is Biden even a  war hero? How many Hillary supporters might be tempted to dump Obama and his old white guy VP and vote for a young impressive female governor? More than a few I suspect. And even if there is  criticism of McCain from within his party, no hard-core Republicans are going to vote for Obama. Nope, Obama listened to some cautious advice regarding his VP pick and was just checkmated as a result.

I’m not happy about this. It has an Orwellian (or Rovian) smell to it all. (I suspect a lot of liberals are going to underestimate just how clever this VP pick is.) McCain has recently started to scare me even more if that was possible, even in these already scary times. Maybe there is some horrible skeleton in Palin’s closet and this will all blow up in McCain’s face in the days or weeks to come, but right now I think he has Obama neatly boxed into a corner. God save us all.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post. Credit: AFP/BBC News. Notice I didn’t say anything about Palin’s qualifications, or lack of them, for the job. That’s because I don’t think it matters, her  only real job is to get McCain elected, and she seems perfectly qualified for that.)

Written by unitedcats

August 30, 2008 at 5:58 am

Posted in Elections, Politics

19 Responses

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  1. On the other hand, he just chose someone who is younger and has less foreign policy experience than Obama even though another woman on his shortlist could have bested him in that regard. I must say that has me stumped.

    Of course anything can happen, like sudden unexpected investigations into possible criminal activity by her: http://www.ktva.com/ci_10026165

    At least, if enough if made of it by the right people up top and in the right ways.

    Blayze Kohime

    August 30, 2008 at 8:21 am

  2. My first impression of her was “lay off the scalpel.” Maybe that’s sexist, too, but there it is.

    My second impression was, “Choosing a woman is not going to impress feminists. We’re not stupid.”

    My third impression was, “Who cares? I made my decision about this election at the last inauguration. Democrats could put up a dang yeller dawg and I’d vote for it.”

    Terri

    August 30, 2008 at 8:45 am

  3. I think this pick will help McCain keep Republican women from defecting, but other than that…

    Obama does not have a Rezco problem. He bought a piece of land from the man. That’s it. He has nothing to do with the man otherwise. On the other hand, I doubt that the fact that Sarah Palin tried to have her brother-in-law fired is going to matter given his history.

    There is practically no chance that McCain/Palin would win an honest election. The American people are not going to vote for war with Russia, war with Iran, war with the world.

    Mahakal / מהכאל

    August 30, 2008 at 8:52 am

  4. Nice blog.
    My first impression was what an empty cynical manipulative choice for VP.Women should be insulted by this kind of political chicanery.It does remain to be seen however what sort of dividends this will pay for the McCainsters.

    scott

    August 30, 2008 at 10:19 am

  5. Sadly, I have to agree with Doug.

    I think this was a brilliant move on behalf of the McCain campaign, and I think it’s driven the last nail in the coffin.

    I’m still voting Dem, but I’m definitely gonna call this one “4 more years of Bush… err McCain”.

    Frankly there is a part of me that wants to watch another Rep. in the pilot’s chair. It sounds horrible, but we kind of deserve this guy. The American populace has been so smug and convinced of their own superiority for so long, I think we need someone like McCain to REALLY cock things up. When the average citizen sees their standard of living drop by 50% over the next 4 years, as we throw all of our last remaining credit (note I didn’t say money, we ran out of that years ago) overseas in futile wars, maybe, just maybe, the electorate will be humbled a little, and start demanding that diplomats rather then cowboys run our country.

    Of course I’ll be watching all of this from a safe distance after I flee back to Canada.

    Cheers American voters! You bring it on yourselves!

    Andrew

    August 30, 2008 at 11:51 am

  6. Wow. I’m surprised … pleasantly … that you liberals are packing it in because of McCain’s great choice of Palin. Obama and Biden are lightweights compared to McCain-Palin, but this race will go down to the wire just like the last two did.

    As a conservative and a Christian, I love the choice of Palin. One of the most profound, underlying effects her choice has is that McCain energized the Republican base. Many of us were going to vote for McCain but were lukewarm toward him. But now we’re energized, and that means more money, more volunteers, and more people to lick envelopes, so to speak.

    By the way, Doug, I found your initial primer on the Georgia-Russia issue illuminating. Thanks for writing that.

    Conservative Stych

    August 30, 2008 at 3:55 pm

  7. I just have to respond to scott’s comment about this being a cynical choice that is an insult to women.

    Not sure what that means. A Republican can never nominate a woman as VP? The real insult to women is that the liberals passed up on Hillary, who clearly has a better resume and qualifications than Obama. However, Obama’s leadership and speaking abilities are clearly superior to Clinton’s.

    Palin is a rising star, regardless of her gender. That’s why she was chosen. She challenged the Good Ol’ Boys in her own party and has focused on cleaning up government and politics. That’s much of what McCain has been about for a long time. While I’ll disagree with McCain-Feingold, the law stems from McCain’s desire for a cleaner political process. Palin canceled “The Bridge to Nowhere,” a pork project that would have benefitted Alaskans financially. Name a Dem or a Republican who has done that.

    I doubt if women are insulted by the choice of Palin. Instead, I think (and I know in the case of my wife and daughter) they look at Palin as a great role model who has succeeded in her career, has a successful marriage, appears to be doing a good job raising five kids, and is standing by her principles despite the sacrifices involved (e.g., she has a son heading to Iraq and chose to rear her fifth child despite knowing before birth that it had Down Syndrome).

    Frankly, that’s good role modeling for us males, too.

    Conservative Stych

    August 30, 2008 at 4:53 pm

  8. When I heard the news I smacked myself for not seeing it coming. There is a good sized section of the population that votes and knows very little (if anything) about politics. A portion of them had already boiled their voting choices down to…

    Republican or Democrat for President

    Then they had to decide…

    White President or First Black President

    So naturally the only counter move is…

    First Black President or First Female Vice President

    As one of my favorite movie quotes goes, “Never underestimate the predictability of stupidity.” While too many ignorant people will vote based on their racist or sexist views I can only take comfort in the fact that somewhere some die hard racist and sexist bastard is voting Nader this year.

    Steve

    August 31, 2008 at 10:00 am

  9. Approaching a century of political observation leads me to two conclusions…the losers console themselves knowing (a) the winners cheated or (b) voters for the winners are stupid. I usually opt for both choices.

    Edgaress

    August 31, 2008 at 11:38 am

  10. So as a woman I’m supposed to be both (a) insulted that Palin was named to the Republican ticket and (b) insulted that Hillary wasn’t named to the Democratic ticket. Wrong, wrong, wrong!! I’m insulted that anyone thinks gender has or should have anything to do with my vote, period.

    PiedType

    August 31, 2008 at 3:15 pm

  11. Well, it turns out there is a serious problem with Palin’s record, she didn’t only try to get her ex-brother-in-law fired, she fired the guy who didn’t want to fire him, and then lied about it. She might not even be the Republican VP candidate in November if this story continues to develop.

    Mahakal / מהכאל

    August 31, 2008 at 4:07 pm

  12. I’m going to be insulted by *any* candidate who doesn’t trust me with my own reproductive organs.

    Terri

    September 2, 2008 at 8:47 am

  13. You’ve put a very thoughtful perspective to a thoughtless decision. McCain wanted to go with his buddy Joe. Chris Black all but told him no dice on that choice. So who is controlling Mr. McManchurian? The talking points from the Reps suggest that the party made him go in this direction. A TRUE maverick would have shook up the nation “The base would have come around” with a Lie-berman pick. On the point of bringing up Obama’s supposed criminal ties, it’s important to note that Palin’s investigation is just that, PALIN’s investigation. And for an “Abuse of Power” charge no less. It’s not an attempt to link her to anything. It is her actions that are being questioned directly (side note, the attorneys have just been assigned on this, the 2nd day of the Rep Convention). VP pick rule of thumb is to “DO NO HARM.” Since her surprise announcement, she has sparked a media frenzy, and the good definitely does not out-weigh the bad. She has confessed to not only not having foreign policy, but not even having an interest in it. We are in 2 wars right now with one more on the way (almost assuredly if McSaber Rattler was in office). America has to be exhausted with home much Reps put other people’s lives on the line for their money and power binging. She wants to abolish abortion (not just prolife, but outlaw) in her state, so what do you think she’s gonna push as VP? I’m sorry but this job is simply out of her scope. She is fine though (sorry for the sexism)
    I find it particularly shallow to think that women who supported Hillary would support Palin by default like ANY woman will do. Those woman would pretty much be hypocrites as she is the polar opposition to Hillary’s positions. She has an approval rating of 80% in a state with 1/5 th population of Los Angeles (the city not the county). I know that her state is rich in energy sources, but I think she is drastically under estimating the amount of oil and natural gas needed to our current level of consumption for 6 years let alone 60.
    We are in crisis mode in this country, and McCain chooses to play games by ‘surprising’ the nation with his 1st executive decision like his ability to hold such a stupid decision secret is a plus for him. I’m not ready to trust my life and that of my family… my daughter’s future to McNugget’s “gut” instincts. Remember it was his instincts that hired those idiots he originally had running his campaign. His gut and the Rep base (the real power behind McCain) also had him to fire them and hire Rove’s campaign management team… a team that went against all the ethics he originally ran on.
    This is tangent, but relevant; If our troops can’t leave Iraq, then we haven’t won shit. We shouldn’t be there in the first place. Reaganites remember Lebanon.
    I do respect your views. I hope you respect mine.

    AJNA

    September 2, 2008 at 10:48 am

  14. I am proud that I voted for Nader last time around. He was the only candidate that wanted to end the war in Iraq. I am thinking that I might vote for Bob Barr this time around. I don’t vote for who I think is going to win the election but I vote for who fits my values.

    Mike

    September 2, 2008 at 12:34 pm

  15. Doug I nearly stopped reading your blog after what I perceived as one too many run of the mill slams against McCain. Let me state for the record that I am somewhat independent and have not decided who to vote for. I spend a lot of time on some internet message boards countering baseless claims, lies, and slander that I see posted on a daily baisis about both candidates. This is one of the few honest, objective posts that I read. It doesn’t delve into weird conspiracies, launch tired attacks, or smack of soppy logical fallacies. For those of you interested in the investigation, do a little more research on it before you damn Sarah Palin. From what I know she fired an alcoholic, abusive state trooper and is being attacked by political enemies for it. That isn’t just my opinion, it’s the view shared by the vast majority of Alaskans.

    BlasphemousBill

    September 2, 2008 at 12:57 pm

  16. I understand and appreciate your role Blass Bill. I too try to correct misinformation. With that said, Palin fired Monegan, a Public safety commissioner. She claims that his firing had nothing to do with his refusal to fire Wooten, the state trooper. The circumstances and sequence of events seem questionable at best. She maintains that her aides were making calls to Monegan inquiring as to why Wooten hadn’t been let go. This would, of course give her a level of deniability should she need it, but you have to ask why her aides were so persistent in following up on that issue. They would have no vested interest in getting Wooten fired unless he was sustaining a certain level of complaints or engaging in misconduct. That said, as a VP she has caused the Reps to go on the defense and circle the wagons around her. McCain has taken a backseat to her controversies as well as stunted their previously successful efforts to make the campaign about Obama. That is really what makes McCain’s selection suspect, not her ability to do the job. Someone as seasoned as McCain should have know better.

    AJNA

    September 3, 2008 at 1:09 am

  17. I agree the decision by McCain was strategic, and unfortunately may be successful. Unfortunately, Palin is nearly equivalent to Coulter in many of her hard right views. Palin has claimed in the last year that the war in Iraq was essentially sanctioned by God, that creationism should be taught in science classrooms, that abstinance till marriage trumps smart sex ed while arguing that she is trying to reduce abortions, believes scientists are full of crap on global warming, basically has the policy of drill drill drill on energy. What is there to like about this woman among Clinton supporters. I agree with a cynic above who almost delights in the possibility that our country will learn by its own mistakes the hard way by electing more of the same religious warmongerers.

    Chris

    September 3, 2008 at 12:59 pm

  18. Interesting analysis. I was initially shocked to hear her candidacy – Sarah, who? I’m bothered by how inexperienced she is – which is my primary concern with Obama.

    Whatever McCain did, he made the world forget Obama & focus on the GOPs instead.

    Priya Raju

    September 5, 2008 at 7:48 am

  19. Now that I’ve read through that, I’ve forgotten the specifics of what you said.
    Great blog.
    I have not read much anywhere else (except my blog) pointing out how stupid the democrats are when they don’t even try to understand the mindset of people who vote for “lower taxes” and “family values” and don’t believe that politicians lie. That didn’t scan. Put another way: People won’t vote for the best teacher of economics. They vote for…. I wish I knew. I wish the democrats would try to figure it out.

    miklwald

    September 10, 2008 at 9:23 pm


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