Impulse Purchase

Just a quick note regarding McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate. This may have seemed like a good idea on paper–appeal to disgruntled Hillary voters, add a “change” component to the McCain platform, etc.–but I’m betting it’s going to backfire big time.

As many have pointed out, Palin has little experience. Some argue that this works for Democrats: now McCain can not longer belittle Obama for same; others say that it works for McCain: if anyone questions Palin’s experience, they’ll take those quotations and run them in an ad featuring Obama’s smiling mug.

So who will Palin’s lack of experience ultimately favor? I say Obama–but not for the reasons everyone has seized on.

Democrats will assert that Palin’s inexperience is an issue because she’ll assume office if McCain dies … and that gives them license to talk about the likelihood of such scenario. Expect incessant talk about McCain’s age and his health, two topics that were largely taboo before. After all (Dems will argue), they aren’t bringing up McCain’s age to denigrate him–that would be a nasty personal attack, after all–but simply as something to consider when discussing Palin.

Even if the Obama inexperience v. Palin inexperience slugfest winds up as a draw, the age thing will linger. And in the final equation, Americans vote for a President, not a Vice-President. I don’t think the McCain campaign thought this selection all the way through to the bitter (if cynical) end, and they are going to have buyers remorse real quick-like.

73 thoughts on “Impulse Purchase

  1. Over the Laborday weekend it seemed that each station break included a McCain/Republican ad followed by a Obama/Democratic ad.

    Message of the Republican ads: Obama doesn’t have the experience of a 5th grader.

    Message of the Democratic ads: McCain is George W. Bush’s long lost twin brother.

  2. I think that Palin is a terrifying choice, and a smart one. She will be able to pull all of the Evangelicals to the polls with her ‘feminism’ of demanding that we respect her families right to make it’s own private choices in regards to her pregnant daughter while at the same time doing all she can to ensure that no other woman ever has a choice at all.

  3. PrintsCharming, McCain’s choice of Palin is a cynical move because she’s incompetent to run the country* should McCain kick the bucket.

    * Unless by “run the country” you mean “run it into the ground”.

    Regardless of how “masterful” the move is in terms of short-term politics (i.e. de-fanging Biden, drawing attention to his campaign, etc.), choosing someone ill-fitted to the ACTUAL ROLE OF VP is deeply, deeply cynical.

    At least Quayle was more competent than his PR let on. Palin has more effective PR, but is far more lacking in actual skills needed to run the country.

    What’s my proof of this? Excuse me, but what’s YOUR proof? What did YOU know of this person prior to 10 days ago? What has she done prior to the VP pick to distinguish herself outside of Alaska, on the national stage? Sadly, the answer is – nothing!

    It’s sad how much so many people are investing in someone they had never heard before last week.

    As for McCain, he only chose her to seek out the publicity (and therefore votes) that she would inspire between now and the election. He certainly didn’t do much vetting of her background (not the family stuff used as a distraction, the various firing scandals, etc.)

    Apparently McCain doesn’t think beyond himself, should he (God forbid) perish in office. Why should he? Should the worst happen, he’ll be gone!

    That’s one heckuva job of “putting the country first”, McCain.

  4. I think the whole basis for your argument is just flat wrong. A sitting governor with 16 years of politcal experience is qualified to run the country. Every bit qualified as a State/US senator with 12 years of experience. 16>12 done. Everything else you say about experience is groundless.

    What has Obama done that you knew about before he ran for president. Gimme a break.

  5. Your other points are also crazy. Clinton met with Gore one time before offering him a spot on the ticket. That was when Gore was running for president in ’88, he met with Bubba to ask for his endorsement in the campaign…Clinton turned him down BTW.

    Scandals…lets see…Ayers, Wright, Rezko (he might be clear in the last one…maybe…but the press has stopped asking questions)

  6. My gosh — who are these people posting?! I love this site b/c it’s funny and smart. I can’t believe all these folks leaving comments are regular readers. McCain/Palin is the most cynical, opportunistic conservative ticket since, well, Bush/Cheney. For god’s sake, the Republicans think the flag is more important than the Constitution. They would rather drill in a wildlife refuge than drive a smaller car.
    Please post again, Matthew. Not all of your readers are rabid conservatives.

  7. Three years ago you needed her signature if you wanted to get a fishing license.

    Soon you may use her fingerprints on that piece of paper to annihilate Iran!

  8. I’m amazed at the aching desire to “quantify” experience, and in this process entirely ignore the fact that different kinds of experience count in very different and complex ways.

    As a broad example, I’m a software developer, and my cousin is a construction developer – sure, we’ve both got a decade of experience in “building complicated things”, but we’re hugely unqualified to perform each other’s specific job “building complicated things”.

    More relevant to the topic at hand, the following opinion piece does a good job exploring the different types of experience, and how they really matter when it comes to getting stuff done as president:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-klein7-2008sep07,0,5321052.story?track=notottext

  9. @haw
    You are absolutely right…one experience does not equal another.

    Senatorial Experience > Executive Experience

    however

    Executive Experience = Exeuctive Experience

    One has it and the other doesn’t…it’s a stupid argument anyway, as McCain comes from a genetic line of “Highlander” like stock. His 96 year old mother looks like she could take me in a fair fight.

  10. Contrary to the ongoing confusion, its silly to imagine that McCain’s camp chose Palin based on experience.

    For example, if Palin’s gubernatorial experience had prepared her for presenting herself on the national stage (a fundamental executive skill for running/acting as VP, let alone president), why has McCain’s campaign been hiding her from the press? The fact that she has scheduled a single interview with Charlie Gibson for later this week (alongside a McCain campaign handler ) is news in itself, because this is the only available press access!

    Shouldn’t she be, you know, campaigning? Something, that, by definition, involves meeting with the public and press several times a day in relatively uncontrolled situations?

    Comparatively, Mitt Romney – another conservative governor who was being considered for the VP ticket- actually completed a term in office that often drew national attention in its own right (dealing with statewide healthcare and gay marriage), and ran a campaign for president in his own right. He would’ve hit the ground running with the McCain and been campaigning on-message within hours.

    McCain didn’t pick Palin for the VP spot because of “experience”, he picked her to draw the evangelical vote, which is a constituency that he needs. As far as McCain is concerned, she’s an attractive evangelical figurehead able to present a folksy personality, and that’s why he picked her.

    McCain is willing to do whatever it takes to win – that’s not “putting the country first”, that’s putting McCain first and everyone else last.

  11. @haw

    “he picked her to draw the evangelical vote, which is a constituency that he needs. As far as McCain is concerned, she’s an attractive evangelical figurehead able to present a folksy personality, and that’s why he picked her.”

    You’re right, she’s all those things….AND she has executive branch experience. So yeah it’s totally a great pick.

    Romney is an awful pick, he’s awkward on camera, and not very likeable. You don’t want a runningmate that is just another version of you. In many ways she might head the ticket better than McCain, but given the masognystic America we live in, VP is a great place to start, and hopefully if their campaign and administration turns out to be something good for the country, she’ll get her chance in 8 years.

  12. This experience argument just shows how totally ignorant the American public is (and how easily swayed they are by the corporate media to waste their attention on nonsense). There is no such thing as relevant experience for the office of President of the United States (with the sole exception of those running for a second term as President).

    Being governor of any state is utterly unrelated to being President of the whole country. Being a CEO of a corporation is unrelated to running a government. Being in a legislature…well that one’s obvious.

    Anyone who gets elected to this office for the first time is going in blind and that’s all there is to it. We just have to make a guess as to who will be able to learn this very difficult job fastest. In my mind, that is obviously Obama.

  13. “and hopefully if their campaign and administration turns out to be something good for the country, she’ll get her chance in 8 years.”

    Sounds like a perfect plot for a Stephen King novel.
    Seriously, wow.

  14. Who here is Alaskan? Unless you are, it’s incredibly unlikely that you were familiar with Sarah Palin’s accomplishments prior to a few weeks ago (when the press first noted that she was an outlier choice for VP).

    Why had noone had heard of her? Because she hadn’t made herself known to the country by way of high-profile state-level achievements, let alone any national or federal-level achievements. Name one.

    And while that’s not a problem for a governor, it is a REALLY big deal for someone with aspirations to major federal office.

    Furthermore, If McCain’s camp has issues with Palin’s exposure on the national level, what does it say to her ability to get stuff done on that level?

    Palin has yet to accomplish anything with national exposure, yet alone accomplished anything on the national level. It’s a huge deal that McCain decided that this was not relevant for a national-level executive.

  15. Also, I have to disagree with Leroy – getting things done on a national level is relevant to the presidency. Experience in dealing with Congress and the Courts is relevant to the presidency. Experience in dealing with the military (as a civilian or serving) is relevant to the presidency.

    Estimating experience is a complex task that often has to be based on subjective judgment calls, but there are broad areas of past accomplishments which are very relevant to the job of being president.

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