Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Palin Reaction.

I know the subject lines lately have been reminiscent of a series of Robert Ludlum novels, but...go ahead and deal with it.
Lots of news and opinion coming today, reacting to McCain's Sarah Palin pick.
The Obama/Biden campaign says, "Take her. We've got ice cream."


First things first, it looks like the Palin announcement is going over like a lead balloon. There's been a lot of polling and tracking done (we're getting new numbers every day from various polling agencies, and will continue to have them right up until November 4th), and the undecideds/PUMAs are definitely not reacting in the way the GOP has hoped.

In fact, FiveThirtyEight published an interesting set of numbers yesterday, which seem to suggest that women view Palin more skeptically than men - I'm not going to copy and paste the whole thing here, but the article essentially says that many women see the move as an obvious pander, and are much smarter than the GOP gives them credit for.
The blogosphere echoes this idea. HuffPost blogger Linda Bergthold calls it "The VP choice that lost the presidency for McCain". Van Jones wrote that "John McCain has gone from maverick to "me too" -- trying to out-Democrat the Democrats and pick up some Hillary voters...But it ain't working.", and quoted a female friend who (accurately) said,

"Palin makes McCain look ancient, out-of-touch and totally yesterday. McCain makes her look like a perky kid. Each one dramatically and perfectly underscores the other's weakness. At least, nobody can criticize Obama's alleged youth and inexperience now. But this is not the best team America could produce, by any stretch."

And Susie Tompkins Buell, the mainstream media's "go-to PUMA," will hopefully pull a few more "Hillary holdouts" onto the Obama side with her essay on why she's finally turned the corner.

So, overall, it looks like this was a very poor decision from the McCain side - in their attempt to be smart, cunning, and neo-Rovian, it actually emphasized the obviousness of their tactics and the American people seem to know what's going on. In fact, Obama went from a virtual dead heat a week ago to a 8 point lead and a 4 point lead in the Gallup and Rasmussen polls (respectively).

We can also take a look at Palin's home state of Alaska. You'd think a governor with a 65% approval rating in a mostly-red state would find herself with good support from her fellow Alaskans, once you figure in the bump gained from middle-grounders who appreciate the small fish's recognition in the big pond, but as the news and polls are showing, this isn't the case, either. As I mentioned yesterday, the Palin pick pretty much nullifies the McCain camp's "but - but - but - experience!" argument against Obama, which is basically all they have going for them, save for the old and tired "traditional family values" line. Alaskans, seemingly a people difficult to fool with a little main-stage exposure, have been echoing this sentiment for the past 48 hours.

From the Anchorage Daily News:

Alaskans are delighted because the eyes of the world will be on Alaska as Sarah Palin campaigns for the vice-presidency...And it's stunning that someone with so little national and international experience might be a heartbeat away from the presidency...Palin joins the ticket with one huge weakness: She's a total beginner on national and international issues.

From the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

Alaskans and Americans must ask, though, whether she should become vice president and, more importantly, be placed first in line to become president...When a candidate for president picks a vice presidential running mate, that partner ought to have more qualifications than “She’s not from Washington.”...Most people would acknowledge that, regardless of her charm and good intentions, Palin is not ready for the top job. McCain seems to have put his political interests ahead of the nation’s when he created the possibility that she might fill it...It’s clear that McCain picked Palin for reasons of image, not substance. She’s a woman. She has fought corruption. She has fought the oil companies. She’s married to a union member. These are portrayals for campaign speeches; they are not policy positions...The televised punditry followed up with mostly positive comments, calling Palin’s selection a clever “chess move” by McCain. The chess analogy offers some caution. Gov. Palin, while extending her amazing adventure in politics, must prove she is more than a pawn.

And again from the Anchorage Daily News:

State Senate President Lyda Green said she thought it was a joke when someone called her at 6 a.m. to give her the news..."She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president?" said Green, a Republican from Palin's hometown of Wasilla. "Look at what she's done to this state. What would she do to the nation?"...Alaska Democratic Party chairwoman Patti Higgins, attending her party's national convention in Denver, said she was shocked to hear the news this morning..."In this very competitive election for them to go pick somebody who is ... under a cloud of suspicion, who is under investigation for abuse of power. It just sounds like a pretty slow start to me," Higgins said...The state Legislature is investigating whether Palin and her staff broke state law by pressuring the public safety department to fire a state trooper who was in a custody battle with her sister..."We need a vice president who can step in if, God forbid, something happened to John McCain," Higgins said. "I don't think she's someone who is ready for that 3 a.m. phone call."

From the New York Daily News, Palin's own mother-in-law may vote for Obama.

Is this starting to sound repetitive yet? You'd think all of these op-ed writers are plagiarizing each other - "a heartbeat away from the presidency," "stunning," "stunned," "hockey mom," et cetera, et cetera. But I think the repetition emphasizes what a (possibly) insane decision the nation thinks McCain has made with this pick. Time will tell if the numbers will even out at some point, or simply be another nail in the coffin for the campaign.

But Palin did have a great stint as a 24 year old sports newscaster, way back in 1988, for KTUU-TV up in Anchorage:

Wow, that accent. Yipes. But who doesn't like the mushing caption "LOTS OF DOGS"?

Now for a video that's not even close to politically related. Apparently, in St. Maarten, they only have space for a 40 foot runway (citation needed - sorry), so planes have to buzz the beach to get on the ground.

Happy Sunday/Labor Day Weekend!

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