A Perfect Pick
The Democrat National Convention wasn’t perfect for Barack Obama, but it was good enough. Hillary Clinton finally conceded, Bill Clinton gave his A-speech (which means it was very good indeed) for Barack Obama, and Obama’s long-awaited convention speech was strong. (Although how is it possible for Obama not to mention Martin Luther King, Jr. even once, given that his address fell on the forty-fifth anniversary of King’s “I Have A Dream” speech?). The Democrat Convention was a success for Barack Obama—and the polls show it. (Gallup has Obama by eight, Rasmussen has Obama by four).
John McCain was to pick his running mate the day after the convention. To break Obama’s momentum, he needed a perfect pick, and a flawless announcement of that choice.
He got both. Sarah Palin is probably the best pick McCain could have made. She is brilliant—young, articulate, conservative—and female. Almost as importantly, McCain’s announcement of the pick was impeccable—he announced it twelve hours after Obama’s convention speech, pushing Obama’s excellent speech off the front page, ensuring that there will be little media coverage of it.
(Contrast McCain’s professional handling of the matter with Barack Obama’s announcement of his running mate. McCain kept his pick secret till perhaps two hours before he announced today, while Obama’s pick leaked at around midnight last Friday. McCain announced on a Friday morning, while Obama, incredibly, officially announced his selection at 3 a.m. on Friday night).
The Left has come up with one real criticism of Palin—that she is too inexperienced for the job. They are right. She served at mayor of Wasilla, Alaska for eight years, and governor of Alaska for two years after that. That is simply not enough experience to be president.
Is this lack of experience a disqualifying issue? No. Palin has roughly the same amount of experience as Barack Obama, and she is, unlike Obama, at the bottom of the ticket. In addition, her experience as governor was probably more productive than Obama’s in the Senate—she has not spent the last year and a half campaigning. Palin has had more executive experience than Obama, Biden, and McCain—combined.
The experience issue is mostly off limits to Democrats anyway, given Obama’s lack of it. Accusing Palin of having only as much experience as Obama would be an excellent example of irony, and probably not a winning issue.
Experience aside, Palin is literally a perfect choice. She is strongly pro-life (she refused to abort her fifth child, even after tests showed that the child would be born with Down Syndrome), pro-gun (how many other politicians have video of themselves firing an M-16?), pro-drilling, and anti-pork (she claims credit for shooting down corrupt Alaska Senator Ted Stevens’ infamous Bridge to Nowhere). In addition, she is good-looking and articulate, in stark contrast to Joe “Hair Plugs” Biden, who is seemingly always either shouting or getting ready to shout. (At least when he isn’t making embarrassing racial gaffes). Palin attract a great many conservatives, and will be a perfect counterpoint to Joe Biden.
In fact, most conservatives seem overjoyed at the news. Rush Limbaugh called the selection “a great pick,” while the conservative blogosphere (which was probably Palin’s most enthusiastic base of support) was ecstatic. A great many unenthusiastic conservatives, such as Mark Levin, seem to be coming back to the Republican party. Palin has brought the conservative movement into McCain’s corner.
And finally, Sarah Palin is a woman. A qualification for higher office? No. But will it help McCain a lot? Absolutely. Many former Hillary Clinton are angry that their candidate was never even vetted by Obama, and cannot support Barack Obama. Many more moderate female voters like the idea of voting for one of their sex. And Palin will blunt the idea of “making history” by voting for an African-American. The Republicans have their own “minority” on the ticket—history will be made either way. (Of course, women are not actually minorities—there are actually more women than men).
Another Palin benefit—the Republican party is patriarchal, and tends to choose the next person in line as its presidential nominee. And if McCain chooses not to run in 2012, the next person in line would be the most conservative candidate in the history of the Republican party.
Sarah Palin is attractive, unimpeachably conservative, and wonderfully articulate. McCain’s pick completely upstaged the fawning media coverage of Obama’s convention speech, and put Obama on the defensive. (Outside the experience criticism, there isn’t much not to like about Palin, and pointing out her lack of experience isn’t exactly a winning issue for Obama). McCain can now count on enthusiastic conservative support, as well as some additional support from women voters. Perfect days are rare in politics, but for McCain, today was perfect.