Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thoughts On Sarah Palin

Megan McArdle:
  • This woman is an Obama-level political natural. She is a ferociously good speaker, and almost preternaturally composed.
  • Sarah Palin is what the McCain camp has badly needed: an attack dog who can be deployed against Obama. She slides the stiletto in without either losing her femininity or coming across as catty, and given that she's married to an eskimo, it's going to be hard to fit her into the narrative of conservative closet racists trying to perpetuate white domination.
  • She's going to be a hard act for McCain to follow tonight
  • The Democrats are, as my colleague Clive Crooks notes, in trouble. Whatever you think of her as a potential president, she is a politically brilliant choice, and Democrats are going to have a very hard time finding traction to attack her.
  • Many Democratic bloggers are itching to go after this woman for all of her perceived flaws. I understand why, but if they do so, they are very likely to get McCain elected. If I were a Democratic strategist right now, I would be telling the campaign to pretend she doesn't exist. There is simply no way to attack her without alienating the swing voters they need by sending the message: "People like you are idiots who can't be trusted to make important decisions", and also, triggering the social opprobrium that falls on men who say nasty things about women. What can I say? Sometimes sexism works in womens' favor.
  • I have no reason to think that she would be a particularly bad president. Obama hasn't any more relevant experience than she has; he's simply been coaching for the thing longer. If he can get up to speed to be president in 18 months, presumably so can she, and I think its reasonable to expect McCain to live that long. We do not elect presidents because they are experts on everything that will come up during their presidency--they couldn't possibly be. We elect them because we think they have good judgement and values that match our own. Contra my Democratic friends, I'm not sure that voters will see "But McCain really might die in office!" as a bug, rather than a feature.
  • She really is more like ordinary voters than the other politicians here. Wail all you want about how she's super-pro-life, has five kids, and lives in a tiny town. Sarah Palin is not a member of an upper-middle-class elite that has been groomed all its life to seize the power they've been told they're entitled to. She doesn't vacation in Europe or go to the opera. Neither do most of the voters she's trying to attract.
  • I'll be surprised if McCain doesn't get a sizeable convention bump. Democrats are in denial about the trouble--which I too find inexplicable--that the Obama campaign is in.
  • As a person I like her. Politically, I dislike what she represents: populism, culture warmongering, and especially, the notion that if a woman is to hold power, she has to make herself non-threatening by emphasizing her domesticity and fertility. I don't blame her for doing these things, since they seem to work. But I don't like living in a society where this works.
  • We might as well not bother to talk about policy issues in this campaign; we're now in all out culture war, with the coasts and the heartland fighting for control of Ohio.
More after the link.


thinking said...

Here's a good line in response to Palin's rude put down of community organizers:

Jesus was a community organizer and Pontius Pilate was a governor.

While no doubt Palin represents a powerful political force, I wouldn't go as far as McArdle. Palin has many deep flaws, and I do think most of her appeal is to the far right religious base.

What was most striking about all of the speeches at the RNC is the lack of attention to issues, and Palin's was no exception.

thinking said...

It's a shame to see Palin's talents put to such a negative waste.

The more I think about the speech the more I realize how mean spirited and snarky it was.

What a shame. At this point, if I had to choose between Hillary Clinton and Palin, I would choose Hillary in a heartbeat.

With Hillary at least I know what I'm getting, and at least we have competence on the issues.

Here's a question: this weekend Obama, McCain, and Biden will be making the rounds of the Sunday news/interview shows. But one conspicuous absence: Palin.

Why? Because she's not ready.

Brian Hollar said...

Obama's not Jesus, my friend. But to keep with your analogy, I guess you would say he's fighting with everything he's got to become the next Herod? ;)

thinking said...

If a Democrat had said that line that elevated a government position over community service, they would have been crucified by the Republicans for being "elitist."

I still think it was a low blow not to Obama, but to all who endeavor to serve their community out there at the grass roots level.

However, I laughed when I read something by one of the guys at the Powerline blog about how, after accusing Obama of being this messianic celebrity figure in the Democratic party, the Republicans decided they wanted one of their own and found Palin.