Floor Fight: Sarah Palin for Vice President

Floor Fight: Sarah Palin for Vice President

Posted:
08/29/08
Filed Under: <!– Filed Under: –> <!– Filed Under:2008 President, Democratic Convention, Floor Fight, Sarah Palin –>



McCain Pick ‘An Empty Pantsuit’


Tommy Christopher
Denver, CO – John McCain has announced Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential nominee. I heard the news via text-message this morning from a strong Hillary Clinton supporter who now supports Obama. Her take is likely to be predictive of a lot of women voters’:

She is an empty pantsuit. A heartbeat away from Grandpa? Very risky. Poor judgment pandering to women so blatantly as this.

We discussed the pick over breakfast today, and I said that today would tell the tale. While it is a bold pick by McCain, I think the above summation has a 60-70% shot at emerging as the narrative by day’s end. We also talked a little about Palin’s personal life, and I hope that the media, and McCain’s opponents, show restraint in that area.

Guffaw.

McCain Picks Former High School Freshman for VP

Caleb Howe
Denver, CO – “Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency.” – Obama Campaign

What, former beauty queen too hot for Obama to use? It seems some consider being Governor of a State to be less important than being a “community organizer,” a post so valuable nearly every single speaker at the Democratic Convention has lauded it as near unimpeachable proof of being Presidential material. Former Mayor? How far back in resumes do they wish to dip in their effort to dismiss the first woman on a major party ticket since 1984? A woman with more executive experience than the Democratic ticket put together.

The question of the day today is, did Barack Obama have some kind of speech last night?


McCain Pick ‘An Empty Pantsuit’ (continued)

Tommy Christopher

The main knock against Palin will be lack of experience. I’m sure that McCain thinks Obama’s resume will innoculate Palin to some degree, but he is wrong. The experience question has already been adjudicated for Obama, and any comparison to Palin won’t change that, it will only serve to highlight her inexperience.

A big question mark is whether the Hillary holdouts who intended to vote for McCain will see this as a slap at Hillary, or will embrace the pick as a big step forward for women. In both equations, their level of animosity toward Barack Obama will also play a part.

Substantively, Palin does little to woo moderates or independents. She’s pro-life and anti-gay marriage, although she does have a record of supporting civil unions and anti-discrimination measures. Her support of market-based healthcare solutions fits into McCain’s disastrous plan like a Tetris block.

Her praise for Senator Obama’s energy policy is sure to end up in an Obama ad, but it also cuts for her in that it demonstrates a willingness to reach across party lines. Reaching around McCain, however, makes this less helpful.

On education, she’s also politically weak. Her support for early childhood education is perfectly aligned with Obama’s, and her support for creationism in schools will only help the ticket to garner the clown vote.

Palin has been courageous in defying fellow Republicans on ethics issues, a political wildcard with McCain. This could mesh with his maverick image, or it could revive Keating 5 nostalgia.

Palin will surely face sexism, as if she invented a society that offers beauty pageants as one of the narrow choices for women to succeed. Her youth and attractiveness will certainly play a factor, but as a contrast to McCain, it will not likely be a positive one.

In the debate, framing will tell the tale. Will it be Biden’s burden not to seem like a bully, or Palin’s to show toughness?

Politically, my analysis is that this is a bold gamble by McCain, aimed at low-information voters to blunt the “historic” narrative of Obama’s campaign, and to scoop up angry Hillary Clinton holdouts. Again, the Brian Williams’ and Katie Courics of the world will play a big part in how well this works. Let’s see which side of the bed they woke up on this morning.

McCain Picks Former High School Freshman for VP (Continued)

Caleb Howe – John McCain has taken over the news of the day, his selection of VP dwarfing the story of the stadium of devoted celebrities chanting “si se puede” in cult-like unison. In the game of politics, McCain’s announcement this morning was a brilliant, spotlight-stealing play.

Palin is the perfect choice for long-time, proven, Democrat-approved government reformer John McCain. It was Palin who killed the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere”. Cutting waste is one of McCain’s biggest selling points, so a VP has to complement him here. She also helps shore up his less enthusiastic support from social conservatives; she has taken heat from abortion activists and bloggers for her decision to carry her child to term despite the near certainty he’d be born with Down’s Syndrome. Palin has long been popular with Republican grassroots activists, base voters, and bloggers.

Democrats will try to steal the moment back for Barack by marginalizing Sarah Palin. Ken Salazar on CNN this morning criticized her lack of celebrity, proving once more what is the primary driving factor in the Obama campaign.

We’ve spent a week here in Denver listening to one prominent Democrat after another, including The One himself, preaching on the virtuous magnificence of being a community organizer. We heard over and over and over how valuable that experience is for building a President. It will be amusing, indeed, to watch those same democrats belittle the elected, executive offices of mayor and Governor of Alaska as being a record empty of experience. It will be especially, particularly amusing to hear them harp on foreign policy experience. I’m not sure selecting the former community organizer of a few neighborhoods in Chicago as the top of the ticket is grounds to brag on foreign poliicy.

Empty pantsuit? What will prove empty is the rhetoric and storyline the Democrats spent a week establishing: seven days to make the case that life experience counts; one morning to abandon it in the rush to bully the soccer mom, mayor, Governor, and Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Gergen Plays the Coded Race Card

The debate over who played the race card last week, if anyone did, is starting to peter out, and it seems that everyone is willing to walk away from the issue with minor dents on Obama, and nary a scratch on John McCain.

Obama’s remarks about not looking like the faces on U.S. currency were either about race or not, but presumably, they were about the same thing that McCain’s use of Obama on the $100 bill was about.

Less clear to me, at least, is whether the McCain campaign was using subtle racial messaging in its "Celeb" ad. My colleague, Caleb Howe, joins the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart in mocking the notion that the inclusion of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears in the ad was a nod to miscegenation, similar to the ads run against Harold ford, Jr.

As I reported last week, I missed it at first, too. Stewart and I, not being from the South, are far less attuned to the "white women with black men" aspect of racism. Up here, the racism is mostly about crime and employment.

The thing about subtle racial coding is this: It’s subtle and coded. Luckily, David Gergen is familiar with Republican messaging, and acts as a Rosetta Stone for us in this clip:

Here’s the operative quote:

"Everybody knows he’s black but there has been a very intentional effort to paint him as somebody outside the mainstream; other. He’s not one of us. It’s below the radar screen. I think the McCain campaign has been scrupulous about not directly saying it. But it’s the subtext of this campaign. Everybody knows it. There are certain kind of signals. As a native of the South, I can tell you, when you see this Charlton Heston ad, ‘The One," that’s code for ‘he’s uppity.’ ‘He ought to stay in his place.’ Everybody gets that who’s from a southern background. When McCain comes out and starts talking about affirmative action, I’m against quotas, we get what that’s about. That gets across."

The McCain campaign still has not come up with a sensible answer for the selection of these 2 particular luminaries, saying at first that they were the two biggest celebrities in the world. That’s not even close to true, and Paris Hilton has never drawn a crod of "fans" that I’m aware of.

They could have easily chosen Oprah Winfrey, who has already been villified as unqualified to endorse a candidate.

They could have used any number of the actual celebrities who have endorsed Obama. That, plus McCain’s own dismal record on keeping up with the times, racially speaking, makes for a compelling argument. Plus, when you belong to the party of the Southern Strategy, it is up to you to make sure you don’t get within yards of that line.