The Palin challenge

I’m the last person you should listen to when politics (or much of anything else) is concerned. That said, the Democrat’s biggest problem in the run up to the general election (in John’s world) may be expectations. The trickiest expectations to manage may be those for their opponent.

Professional pundits usually say candidates are not elected because of their running mates. But in a close race I can’t help but wonder what will factor into folk’s minds as potential tie breakers. Picture what happens in the VP debates when very little is expected of Palin and she holds her own against the grizzled veteran, Joe Biden. Let’s assume she’s smarter than Bush. I know, it’s hard to imagine, but work with me. Let’s assume she’s well spoken. Let’s assume she can name the capital cities of Europe and the middle east. Remember 2000 when everyone thought Bush was hopelessly over his head going up against Gore in the debates? Obama/Biden could be in for a real challenge, particularly if the media continue to play up her lack of experience. Even a rudimentary grasp of the issues could assuage people’s fears, and turn into a real boon for McCain.


  1. Hey Richard. I’d read a few of the things Joan Walsh wrote in Salon, but I hadn’t gotten to Greenwald (not that I don’t enjoy some of his stuff, but he’s near the bottom of my Newsgator list that seems to get longer – even when I don’t add anyone to it).

    I took a look after seeing your comment. It was an interesting read, but I didn’t get to it until after I put up another post.

    Although I didn’t cover it in my most recent post, I’m on board with the BS liberal bias charge, and the justified scrutiny we’re giving to a candidate we know virtually nothing about. I hadn’t come across anything about her days as a mayor though – and judging by the reports about McCain’s vetting process, neither did he! Besides the trooper thing, I heard a couple criticisms about her time as Governor (on NPR this morning), but I was a little torn… considering the ethics reform she pursued, wondering how much was folks protecting turf or looking for retribution.

    Besides the usual sources (AK newspapers, Becca’s link, popular media outlets), I’ve been following Josh Marshall’s posts over at TPM. I haven’t been over today though – I think I’m going to take the rest of the evening off.

  2. On the trooper thing…from what I have heard the guy sounds like a whack job who needed to be fired (drinking on duty in a police car, tasering his 11 year old step son, family violence etc).

    I cannot understand why he was not fired, and I think the family did what any other family would have done by making calls and trying to pressure the guy in charge to fire him. the only problem is, there is an appearance of impropriety because the family is who the family is.

    I will be interested to hear WHY the head of public safety was fired, she has never said. I think she needs to come out and say I fired him because of X to clear things up. Or maybe she did fire him because he wasn’t responding to pressure, I don’t know.

    I have to say I was disappointed when it came out because I like her so much, but part of me has been waiting for her to disappoint me since she was elected. She is a politician after all…

  3. You know Stephen, it’s a little easier for me to dismiss my own fears as the usual paranoid delusion if no one else shares them. You’re not helping ;-)

    Becca: I thought of you after I posted this. I’m glad you weighed in. I know I was harsh in my first post. (Well, truth to tell: I knew when Cheryl gave me a little verbal whack.) Part of it comes from my initial reaction to the pick: the feeling McCain picked Palin as a cynical play for Clinton supporters. I can’t exactly blame McCain, even if it was the reason for the pick (well I could, but it’s not like he’d be the first person to make a political choice for VP), but it still irritated me a bit – for reasons that weren’t fair to Palin. You may not know it from my tone, but much of what I’ve read has said she’s been a good governor for Alaska. I can’t – and don’t – dispute that. Most of what I’ve read suggests she’s been a courageous opponent of corruption in Alaskan politics.

    And yet, it’s not enough for me. (That’ll come as a big surprise to my conservative friends.) I might devote another post to it at some point. I’ve got two kicking around in my long list of half finished posts that I might stitch together – including a thought on the trooper thing, based on the reporting we’ve gotten here. I’d be interested to hear what you think. (I’d be interested in what Stephen thinks too, though someone familiar with current events in Alaska is gold – considering…)

  4. I am from Alaska so I guess I should respond. I think she’s been a kick-ass governor and she would do a great job as VP. but yeah, maybe not as president.

    I don’t agree with a lot of her politics but I absoloutly love the ethics she stands for (the whole trooper gate thing is bullshiat, the brother in law SHOULD have been fired)and how she is showing people you can be a woman and a mom and do it all.

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