My Take on Sarah Palin
Like everyone else, I was stunned by John McCain's choice of VP: Sarah Palin. I fall on the"stroke of brilliance" side of the debate on whether his choice was wisdom or folly. Why? With one announcement, McCain changed the election dialogue -- something he needed to do because the conversation wasn't going at all well for Republicans. He established a wow factor for his campaign; the spotlight shifted from Barack; the evangelical GOP base consolidated and opened its wallet; women voters are likely to be more receptive; the Dems are scrabbling on exactly how to lambast Palin. Even the mud being flung at Palin is not likely to stick. Her 17-year-old daughter's pregnancy is not alienating the conservatives who are applauding the daughter's decision to carry the child to term and to marry the father. Meanwhile, the liberal criticism re: the pregnancy revealing Palin's hypocrisy about teens abstaining from sex is strange; as one blogger commented,"[it is] as misguided as asking a non-violent person why her spouse is violent toward her." And, even if the scandal about her arranging to have her brother-in-law fired from his government post is true, the apparent circumstances are such that Palin may become a heroine in the eyes of other women. Those circumstances apparently include the man's tendency to brutally beat Palin's sister. As for her inexperience...frankly, I think that is a selling point. She is not an insider, she is a fresh voice and a new force. What's Barack been running on and for: CHANGE.
BTW, I am not exactly what you'd call"a fan" of Sarah Palin. Nor of McCain or the GOP. But McCain is making some wise moves. Another example...his decision to hold a minimalist GOP convention and to tour the expected devastation of Hurricane Gustav instead of being"man of the hour" in Minneapolis. This move accomplished several important goals:
1) Bush and Cheney had an acceptable excuse to NOT attend the Convention and, so, kept a salutary distance away from McCain,
2) the Republicans gave the appearance of putting the American people before party politics;
3) the much, much smaller GOP Convention could not be unfavorably compared by the media to the massive Dem-fest; the almost empty convention center looked like an expression of compassion rather than of unpopularity;
4) on his tour, McCain both acted and looked Presidential; he was"on site" to take credit for the vast improvement over Katrina in terms of co-ordination, police presence in New Orleans etc.; 5) objectionable aspects of the GOP Convention almost entirely escaped media attention -- e.g. the platform's resolution to ban abortion with no exceptions for a woman's health or rape.
As unbelievable as it seems after 8 years of Bush, McCain could win. The world could get Frick instead of Frack and still be f*cked in the process.
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Mark Brady - 9/2/2008
The debate between the vice-presidential candidates will surely be watched with unusual interest this year.
- Judith Kelleher Schafer, 72, a historian of slavery and prostitution, dies
- Northwestern celebrates Garry Wills with a book in his honor
- Conservatives go after UCLA's historian James Gelvin
- Laura Hillenbrand writes her masterpieces despite suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- New PBS DVD From Henry Louis Gates Jr. Explores African Influence on the Caribbean