Sunday, August 31, 2008


Naming Gov. Sarah Palin as the V.P. pick was a masterstroke by McCain. It has energized his base and opened up a multi-level trap for the left that they are powerless to avoid. Her resume is sufficiently thin that the left cannot resist attacking her on grounds of experience – drawing a very unfavorable comparison to Obama who has based his candidacy on the propositoin that experience doesn't matter. Two, character assassination and misogynistic attacks just are not going to work against this woman. In fact, it will very likely backfire. But precisely because of who she is and what she represents, the left is just powerless to stop themselves from going down that road.

A panic choice for VP? That is the first knock on Gov. Palin from the left in an effort to delegitimize her. But all indications are that Gov. Palin was anything but a panic pick. For one, at this point in the game, McCain is far ahead in the polls of where he could expect to be in historical terms. There was no reason to panic. But beyond that, it is coming out now that McCain had Gov. Palin at the top of his list for months because of her character and background. As the LA Times said today

It is easy to see why McCain was drawn to her; their political resumes have much in common. The 44-year-old Republican has sold herself as a political maverick willing to buck her party over principle, an ethics reformer who quit a lucrative job rather than play ball with the old boys' network and a pragmatist who will reach across the aisle to get her agenda enacted. Like McCain, she has at times been a black sheep in her own party. . . .

According to WaPo, McCain was taken by Palin from the first time he heard her speak in February at a Governor's Association meeting. He saw her as a "kindered spirit" from the start. As Newsweek calls her in a surprisingly flattering article, she is McCain's Mrs. Right.

And given her conservative credentials, she has energized the base like no other pick could have. Gov. Palin hits all the social conservative hot buttons, including that she is herself an evangelical. Add to that her strengths on the Second Amendment, her fiscal conservativism and her incredible political bravery in standing on ethics issues, and Evangelicals along with the rest of the base couldn't be more excited. Even Hillbilly Whitetrash, as committed against McCain as any conservative could be, is now going to be pulling the lever for the PALIN-McCain ticket. Donations to the McCain campaign have skyrocketed. McCain and Palin just drew record crowds – Obama numbers – to their campaign stop in Missouri.

The meme that Governor Palin was a panic pick – or even that she was an affirmative action pick – just cannot survive on the above facts. Clearly, her plumbing is secondary to her appeal to the base, regardless that said plumbing happens to likely be an asset in the current race.

And that, really, is why the far left just will not be able to help themselves in going after Gov. Palin with all sorts of ad hominem attacks doomed to backfire. Gov. Palin is a woman. As such, she is a victim and is expected to embrace her victimhood. But Gov. Palin doesn’t fit that bill. I dare say you are not likely to see tears coming from her during a campaign stop. You’ve seen the left attack others like her who have refused to embrace their victimhood. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Condi Rice, Bill Cosby, Colin Powell, Thomas Sowell – all are classed as victims by the left but all failed to embrace their victimhood. Thus all have regularly been savaged by the far left. The far left can’t help themselves on this. (Update: The Daily Standard perfectly captures this is in the NOW reaction to Gov. Palin. She may be a woman, but she is not acting the victim and thus is to be fought against and denigrated)

Outside of an election, it does not matter so much. But in this case, the nation is watching and waiting to pull the levers in a referendum in November.

Thus you have most on the left doing all they can to denigrate Palin. Andrea Mitchell, appearing on NBC the other day, called Palin "Annie Oakley" and said that she would only appeal to the undeducated among Hillary voters. Then there are the attacks on Palin for her competence as a mother. This bizarre argument is predicated on her decision to fly back to Alaska to give birth after her water broke.

The Kos kids have been pushing the rather incredible rumor that Gov. Palin's son Trig, her four month old child with Downs Syndrome, is actually her grandson. That one goes beyond bizarre. Rightwing Nuthouse addresses this one in some detail, and Ann Althouse comments today

Stop prying into other people's vaginas, even if you happen to oppose them politically. What is wrong with you people?" The insane obsession with Sarah Palin's pregnancy rages on. This will all go down in the annals of feminism, people. So think before you write. Andrew? [AND.]

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Protein Wisdom has an entire round-up of all the ad hominem attacks on Palin. They run the gambit from incredible snobbery to charges of witchcraft and labels of trailer trash. And there is the half true but completely false rumor that Palin is a convicted felon. Ben Smith has the whole story on that one. At any rate, the floodgates have been opened. The far left are powerless. And if the other 90% of America – those not in the MSM, not members of Kos, or not drawing Soros paychecks – end up liking this incredible woman, then the blowback will be severe.

But that is just one level of the trap posed by Gov. Palin. While I would argue her experience is sufficient to be named Vice President, there is room there for argument. But there is a rule of thumb – you don’t attack an enemy - even a potentially weak one - when you’re weaker than they are. That just has not dawned on the left yet. They see weakness and they are going to go for the kill – not realizing that crossing that field is as suicidal as Pickett’s charge.

But charge they will – and thus the argument that Gov. Palin is too inexperienced to be VP is now front and center. You have to love all the irony in this question put to Obama in a 60 Minutes interview Sunday:

Does the fact that he chose as his Vice President someone who has less experience than you take that weapon out of his arsenal?

Wow. Think of just how that question is going to play when it is asked everyday between now and November. Pushing the inexperience meme against Palin in relation to Obama is a minefield of titanic proportions for the left. As McCain has noted, Palin has more executive experience than Obama and Biden together, and she was serving in elected office when Obama was "still a community organizer." But far more importantly, that is an apples to oranges comparison. The real comparison is McCain to Obama. Obama has gotten this far on the argument that experience does not matter. If all of a sudden it does matter, Obama’s huge problems just grew exponentially.

The one thing I’ve been moderately concerned about is the ethics complaint made against Gov. Palin by a man she fired for cause, former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. I could not see McCain tapping Palin for V.P. without thoroughly investigating this and satisfying himself that this a charge with no validity. That said, I've been waiting for someone to explain the whole story. Joshuapundit has performed that service for us. You can read about it as his site, but it appears that, while there are a lot of moving parts to the story, none of them splash mud onto Gov. Palin.

All of this said, Gov. Palin is going to sink or swim over the next two months. She has her work cut out for her because, given that few really know her and given the short decision time, she has precious little room for mistakes. She needs to live up to her resume and she needs to show enough grasp of the issues to make people comfortable with her. That is very much borne out by a Frank Lunze focus group you can find at Hot Air. Probably never before has so much ridden on two months of campaigning and one VP debate.

But it does now. For the next two months, its going to be pure Palindemonium.

1 comment:

Joanne said...

Gee, a woman who isn't afraid to wear fur - that is something in itself.