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Interesting read from the Financial Times on Palin pick

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Rackat, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. Rackat

    Rackat Active Member

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    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d2131e4c-7763-11dd-be24-0000779fd18c.html

    McCain’s gamble on Palin is shrewd

    By Clive Crook
    Published: August 31 2008 19:24 | Last updated: August 31 2008 19:24

    So John McCain is no longer a maverick. Here is one Democratic talking point that will need some work, and it is by no means the only one. In naming Sarah Palin – the young and only recently elected governor of Alaska, a small-town mayor before that – as his Republican running mate in the US presidential race, Mr McCain has taken an extraordinary risk. It was certainly the act of an unorthodox politician. Was it, though, the act of a reckless and stupid one? I think not.

    The instant reaction among Democrats was astonishment. Quickly that gave way to outrage. James Carville, a former adviser to Bill Clinton, said he was “vexed, completely vexed” by the choice. Paul Begala, another friend of the Clintons, in almost his first sentence on the matter, sneeringly attributed Mrs Palin’s poise to her time as a beauty queen. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the House of Representatives’ Democratic caucus, said: “On his 72nd birthday, this is the guy’s judgment of who he wants one heartbeat from the presidency? Please.” The prevailing attitude was a hair’s breadth from laughter at the bimbo from a state that does not count.
    Will these people never learn? Let me try to walk the experts, with their many years of experience, through this thing.

    The McCain campaign staff could not have scripted a more helpful response. They are anything but embarrassed by a focus on Mrs Palin’s inexperience, and the more spluttering, condescending and incredulous it is, the better. The reason is obvious: Democrats’ amazement at the suggestion that Mrs Palin is fit to be vice-president has disturbing implications for Barack Obama’s own fitness to be president. She, after all, has had two years running a state. He has had no years running anything. Also, if experience matters as much as the Democrats now say, you want it at the top of the ticket, do you not?

    Yes, Mr Obama has some limited experience of Washington. But that in fact is an electoral liability. Congress is much less popular even than George W. Bush. You cannot believe that Mr Obama is a strong and worthy candidate, as I do, and regard lack of Washington experience as a disqualifying factor for the presidency, let alone for the vice-presidency. Ronald Reagan had none. Mr Clinton had none. It did not hold them back in electoral terms and it did not stop them being a great president and a good, if flawed, president respectively.

    The point is simple: for this job, character trumps experience, especially Washington experience, every time. Voters know this even if the experts do not. The public will want to get a sense of whether they like and trust Mrs Palin, and at first blush there is a lot to like. A much higher bar is believing she could cope with the pressure and responsibility that could come her way. If they are satisfied, her being an outsider from an ordinary background, untainted by Washington, will be an advantage, not a drawback. Voters are right to take this view. No training or experience can prepare you for the presidency. On any given issue, the president is surrounded by specialists who know infinitely more about the subject than he does. The ability to weigh the quality of that advice, and then act on it, is what matters.

    Mr McCain’s gamble could fail, no question, and if it fails it wrecks his candidacy beyond repair. If Mrs Palin turns out to be anything less than excellent – let alone Dan Quayle in drag, as somebody put it – Mr McCain stands condemned for poor judgment. Hurricane Gustav permitting, Mrs Palin will need to impress at the Republicans’ convention this week. A heck of a challenge looms beyond that: the television debate between Mrs Palin and Joe Biden, Mr Obama’s running mate, on October 2 will be the most riveting such event in living memory, more compelling even than the planned presidential debates – and Mr Biden may make mincemeat of her.

    How can it be, then, that the risk was worth taking? I think the McCain campaign had calculated – rightly, in my view – that it was on course to lose the election. National poll numbers that showed the race tightening flattered the Republican’s prospects; the state-by-state picture was less encouraging. The electoral fundamentals that have predicted 14 out of 15 postwar presidential elections (the state of the economy and the popularity of the incumbent) are hugely in Mr Obama’s favour. Mr Obama is also likely to excel at getting out his vote, whereas Mr McCain is not much loved by the Republican base.

    What does that Republican base think of Mrs Palin – a Christian, a social conservative, an opponent of abortion? “They are beyond ecstatic,” said Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition.
    If the Clintons had wrecked last week’s Denver convention and split the Democratic party, things would have looked different and Mr McCain might have made a safer choice. They chose, however belatedly, to unite the party and then at the end of the week Mr Obama shone. All this harmed Mr McCain’s prospects. If you think you are on track to lose, it is not crazy to gamble on redemption, so long as you think the bet has a big enough upside. This one does.

    Like Monty Python’s Knights Who Say Ni, it will take the Democrats a little while to stop complaining that Mr McCain stands for four more years of Mr Bush. McCain-Palin is about as far from Bush-Cheney as you could imagine. I look to Mr Obama for a more intelligent response before long. In this, as in many other ways, he seems wiser than the experts around him. He congratulated Mrs Palin on her nomination without condescension or so much as a trace of a moose joke. Once again, inexperience and good character pay.
  2. NinePointOh

    NinePointOh Active Member

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    Really? On what issue?
  3. Rackat

    Rackat Active Member

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    Thread title: Interesting read from the Financial Times on Palin pick

    Article title: McCain’s gamble on Palin is shrewd
    Author: By Clive Crook


    Since I didn't right the article, not even the line you have quoted, I would say take it up with the author. However, if you are asking my opinion, I would have to say he is referring to their willingness to cross party lines to get things done as well as being considered Mavericks.
  4. NinePointOh

    NinePointOh Active Member

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    Yes, I'm aware. It was an open question. I'd love to hear the answer of anyone who agrees with the quoted line.

    Really? That's it?

    "Being considered a maverick" is a perception, not an actual quality -- and many observers agree that McCain is, in reality, nowhere near the maverick he was four years ago.

    Now, as for willingness to cross party lines ... that's nice and all, but if that's really all they've got, it's not the major issue. Polls show that most voters want a change in policy on economics, Iraq, and energy -- and on those topics, McCain/Palin is about as close to Bush/Cheney as you can imagine. It won't really suffice to tell the voters, "We plan on doing exactly the same things ... we're just going to try harder to get the Democrats to go along with it."
  5. Hostile

    Hostile Peace Zone Supporter

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    I disagree with that. Harry S. Truman is an example of a maverick and it made him have qualities that people could identify with.

    Maybe we need a give 'em hell Harry.

    Maybe not.

    But I definitely see it as a quality.
  6. Dallas

    Dallas Old bulletproof tiger

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    Agreed. I to find being a maverick and not someone who toes the party line a good quality to have.

    I think most Americans feel that way. Funny how the poster wishes to trivialize it.
  7. NinePointOh

    NinePointOh Active Member

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    Being a maverick is a quality. Being considered a maverick is a perception. See the difference?

    The question is what evidence there is to support the perception.

    Obama can be considered an agent of change - whether he can and will follow through is another question, as any McCain supporter will tell you. Donovan McNabb can be considered an elite NFL quarterback - whether his performance lives up to that perception is another question, as any Cowboys fan will tell you. Now do you understand the question?
  8. MilesAustinforMVP

    MilesAustinforMVP Benched

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    A lot has happened since the 31st of August.
  9. Hostile

    Hostile Peace Zone Supporter

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    IMO, yes. I live in this state and have seen quite a bit of Mr. McCain in action here. I have written to him several times over the years.

    They don't usually call a milk toast a maverick. Not in these parts.
  10. NinePointOh

    NinePointOh Active Member

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    That's the thing. Was he a maverick five years ago? Sure. He was criticizing Bush and his party leaders, taking stances on principle that got him into hot water with the GOP's traditional base.

    The last four years? Very different. He's made a deliberate effort to buddy up to Bush, to his party leaders, and to the evangelicals.

    The question is, does the "maverick" moniker still fit, or is he Larry Allen, a shell of his former self, living off of his past reputation? Can you name an issue where he's likely to differ from Bush-Cheney? I mean, other than the amorphous "willingness to oppose one's party", since that's the question in the first place?
  11. Hostile

    Hostile Peace Zone Supporter

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    he also made a deliberate effort to distance himself form anyone in the Bush Cabinet.

    I don't care if he differs from Bush-Cheney. That isn't my agenda. I care if he does the right things. I have no doubt that he will. When I see things like the corruption uncovered at Boeing, and the willingness to stand for what he believes in, even if it's not popular, I consider that the quality not the title.
  12. NinePointOh

    NinePointOh Active Member

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    Well, with all due respect, that's the question I was asking when you replied to my post.
  13. Hostile

    Hostile Peace Zone Supporter

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    With all due respect back. I bolded the part I was responding to and disagreeing with to distinguish it from the rest of the post.
  14. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    It is what I used to love about McCain. Too bad he is no longer a maverick but a yes party man. If he was a Maverick like he used to be...Palin would not be the VP pick as we speak.

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