Sarah Who?


The Associated Press: AP NewsAlert:

DENVER (AP) — McCain source: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is his pick for VP.


John McCain tapped little-known Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate, two senior campaign officials told The Associated Press on Friday…
Palin, 44, is a self-styled hockey mom and political reformer who has been governor of her state less than two years.
Palin’s selection was a stunning surprise, as McCain passed over many other better known prospects, some of whom had been the subject of intense speculation for weeks or months.
At 44, she is a generation younger that Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, who is Barack Obama’s running mate on the Democratic ticket.
She is three years Obama’s junior, as well — and McCain has made much in recent weeks of Obama’s relative lack of experience in foreign policy and defense matters…
She is a former mayor of Wasilla who became governor of her state in 2006 after ousting a governor of her own party in a primary and then dispatching a former governor in the general election.

At first blush, I’d say this looks like a catastropic error. She sounds like an immensely appealing person, but for goodness sake: Half a term as Governor of Alaska? Mayor of Wasilla? Kiss goodbye to the “experience” argument. Plus it reeks of tokenism…

UPDATE 12:48pm: Have to say, though, that was an awfully impressive debut. Likeable as all get out, and clearly a force to be reckoned with. The small-town, outsider persona may work — she sounds like a normal person, or at least speaks normalese. So they lose some on the “experience” side, but they gain on the “change.”

Plus, it should be said, it speaks well of the McCain team’s discipline that they were able to keep this secret so long.

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Sarah Who?

  1. Wow, looks like the US might actually get a female president after all!

  2. I’ll be…

  3. If it is Palin, Obama is in a world of trouble. The republican base will love Palin and her husband while also appealing to many Hillary supporters. Females might like Palin because she is a woman and the blue collars will like her because she loves guns, hunting that kind of thing. And Biden will come across as an overbearing bore in the debate.

  4. I’m thinking just the opposite Andrew. I think it’s brilliant. She’s young, she’s popular, she’s smart and telegenic. Do independents and undecideds really vote on the basis of experience, or do they ultimately vote for people that they like? McCain’s greatest strength is his perceived experience…why pick a running mate that matches that strength? Doesn’t it make more sense to pick a running mate whose strengths are different from the lead candidate’s? Isn’t that basically exactly what Obama did by picking Biden? (And what W did by picking Cheney?)
    I don’t think lack of experience is an effective attack line for the Dems. They want to move the discussion AWAY from the issue of experience.
    Granted, I don’t like Palin’s chances of winning a foreign policy debate with Biden, but I’m not sure that’ll matter all that much.

  5. “Females might like Palin because she is a woman and the blue collars will like her because she loves guns, hunting that kind of thing.”

    No stereotyping there, of course…

  6. Well, at least the debates with Joe Biden won’t be boring. Or less boring than usual.

  7. So… Of all the GOP women he could have picked, she’s his choice? She must be something else. If picking a woman was important to him, why pass on Kay Hutchinson or Olympia Snow?

    This is strange.

  8. She probably knows where Canada is. That’s an upgrade.

  9. Thank you, John McCain, for livening up a remarkably dull presidential campaign by giving us all something to think about.

    Besides, from a purely nationalistic standpoint, having a “hockey mom” as the veep can’t be anything but good for Canada.

  10. Los Angeles Times blog item:
    “Recently, there have also been some murmurs about its telegenic, reformist Republican governor, Sarah Palin, as a possible long shot for vice presidential running mate with Sen. John McCain. …

    But now Palin is also caught in a probe of her official conduct that likely nixes whatever chance she had to be on the McCain ticket. She’s only been a governor for two years, but that’s about four times as long as someone else mentioned as GOP VP pick, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

    However, questions have now arisen over whether Palin used her office to try and fire her ex -brother-in-law from a state trooper’s position. Palin asserts the charge is untrue, but the Alaska Senate this week approved the hiring of an independent investigator to look into the allegation.”

  11. That picture of hers reminds me of Sissy Spacek in Coal Miner’s Daughter.

  12. This a crazy, reckless, foolhardy choice.

    And it just might work…

  13. Now this is going to get interesting! I wonder if the repub’s are going to try the gender wedge as in very soon Sarah might start commenting things like : I dare Obama to try coming over and pulling my chair out from under me … or some such ?

  14. Dan Quayle in skirts, eh Coyne? Kay Bailey Hutchinson would have been a better choice, IMO.

  15. The real question for the election outcome is, will any significant portion of the Hillary vote be stupid enough to vote Republican because of this, despite of (or in ignorance of) Palin’s views on abortion?

  16. McCain – due to his age – needed to pick a running mate people could see as President. This will be a big question she will need to answer – that she can be President. 2 years as Governor of a very small state will make that very difficult.

  17. Well, the Republicans who fear McCain is too left will lose it now that his running mate is a woman… but there is no fear of them voting for a black liberal, so it could turn out to be a really good idea to pick up the votes in the middle and some of Hillary’s support.

  18. Palin is a great choice. In that half term, she’s sent corrupt GOP hacks to the woodshed, spoken intelligently about energy, killed wasteful spending projects, and done it all while maintaining what appears to be a lovely family and a great sense of humour. Her high political rating in Alaska is well earned.

  19. The past never repeats itself and there’s a huge sample size issue, of course.. but I can’t help to think how well it turned out last time a relatively unknown female political figure in her 40s was chosen to run for VP.

    In the end, I don’t think it really matters who the VP pick is, but still.

  20. Also, I think the right wing of the Republican party were looking for someone a little harder-line than McCain on their key issues. She doesn’t look to be it.

  21. Exxon/Mobil will be happy if the McCain ticket wins. She was pushing hard to bring Alaska North Slope gas to the lower 48 at an earlier time than Exxon planned, I believe.

  22. Or perhaps not. Apparently, she’s big with the landowners rights wing of the party.

  23. More a issue with TCPL – who have won the rights so far to build the pipeline. Exxon/Mobil owns the gas.

  24. Poor Hillary! I know the woman is probably filled with rage at the thought that a woman who is as green as they come is going to be on a presidential ticket while she has to slum it in the Senate.

  25. All of y’all who say that the right wing of the Republican Party won’t like Palin – you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    On every hot button issue, she’s with them. The Club for Growth is ecstatic. The evangelicals are over the moon.

    Republicans are actually enthusiastic about the ticket now.

  26. As an American/Canadian,I am always interested in Canadian’s comments on American politics. If you listen to Rush Limbaugh, a staunch & big-mouth Republican, he will answer with great enthusiasm about McCain’s choice, eg.-” She even wore a skirt, not a pant suit”. Its amazing what women’s legs do to men. Maybe it was a smart move after all.

  27. What a great choice! A real American person of the female gender..a person of great character who is tough and will put boring Biden under the table when it comes to debating the real needed change in Washington.
    Vive la difference!

  28. Hey Lisa, define “a real American person,” please.

  29. Boudica; I simply mean :a person born in the USA,with similar values to the Founding Fathers of this country.Personally,I was born in Canada but like my life in the US of A..but I do not consider myself a “real” american,even though I have lived here for the past 45 years.Can you understand this mentality?

  30. Ouch! A Real American person. Poor Barack, will he ever be considered a real American person?

    I watched an interview with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and she seems quite intelligent. A wonderfully cynical move for sure, but everyone is talking about it down here in Chicago.

  31. My favorite line of hypocrisy of late is the Democrat’s charging the Repub’s with ‘ tokenism ‘ ouch!

  32. Solid choice for Democrats. Republicans dug deep to nominate a women who, only two years ago, was responsible for an annual budget of approx. $15MM as Mayor. This nomination will seriously expose the schism within the GOP.

  33. Dave

    I am curious to why you think this will expose schism within GOP. At least Palin has dealt with a budget, what experience do Obama and Biden have in making choices?

    I read a few conservative US blogs and so far they are over the moon about Palin. She ticks off all the boxes for repub supporters and she’s probably better liked than McCain by the base.

  34. * More executive experience than anyone else on either party’s ticket.
    * Ran against her party to get the job (like Klein)
    * Ran over Big Oil to increase royalities (like Stelmach)
    * The biggest change on the electoral map for Obama (vs. HRC or Kerry) was the Mountain West and if she’s good elsewhere she could shut Obama down in Colorado.
    * Dems are making a horrible mistake setting the initial bar at Quayle. Once she clears that the only thing left is experience and she has more than Obama.

  35. Thank you for parroting the Obama talking points, Mr. Coyne, just a dutiful member of the mesmerized US chattering (read: media) class. You’ve been channeling Luiza Savage, obviously, who is enormously smitten by him. One thing you have to remember — Sarah Palin has more executive experience than any other the other 3 national party candidates (including McCain, obviously) combined, if one doesn’t count McCain’s leadership of the largest squadron in the Navy after his return from the Hanoi Hilton.

  36. * One last observation. Most whistleblowers pay a heavy personal cost. Must be a very tough cookie to have walked away and then ran right back over those who said she was finished. Good news for Obama: fewer attacks on experience. Bad news for Obama: way more questions about standing up against corruption in his own party. Q. What did he do in the same situation? A. Built a mansion.

  37. No matter what, she still has more excutive experiance then Obama,Biden and Mcain

  38. But Coyne I do have to say.

    This is no doubt the reaction the Rpublicans wanted from the media and democrats.

    Going to be alot of press coverage of this lady in the next couple of days.

    What where the demcorats doing last night again..?

  39. This Sarah Palin thing has Harriet Miers written all over it. Just hope it doesn’t end just as poorly.

  40. I saw Bay Buchanan on CNN today and she said something like “feminists are falling all over themselves to explain why they aren’t supportive of this decision.”

    In other words, the Repubs are planning to use the appointment as a wedge issue to separate the nice girls from the bad girls.

  41. Palin vs. Biden … and in the next tent I will personally be challenging Obi-Wan Kenobi to a lightsabre duel.

  42. Toby

    Of course ‘feminists’ are falling over themselves to explain why they won’t support a Republican woman. No surprise there, really. They are probably the same ‘feminists’ who thought it was just great that President Clinton was shagging interns, and other women, while married.

  43. The Democrats trying to make this an issue on experiance.

    Right into a trap.

  44. Harriet Miers? Which state did she run? Precisely what fraction of a $7B budget did she look after? It would be more accurate to compare Obama to Miers.

    The Dems are making the first bar really easy and they might be happy if she keeps on clearing those bars.

    1. Miers/Quayle
    2. Strong convention appearance.
    3. Draw or better vs. Biden.
    4. Palin shuttles between Denver, STL, and MSP and a Florida win elects McCain.
    6. McCain backs Palin for 2012.

  45. Hi folks, for all the KBH (KB Hutchinson) fans here (I know how much you feel for her), it’s probably worth pointing out that she, fine lady that she is, started collecting her Social Security last month, which makes her somewhat Bidenesque (a strong reassuring presence) as a running mate. I’m pretty sure that’s not what John McCain was looking for.

    As for those pooh-poohing her ability to debate Joe Biden (fine gentleman that he is), may I offer a preview:

    “Senator, 42 million Americans don’t have proper health insurance. When they get sick, or hurt, who pays for their health care? The states do! Providing health care for the uninsured is the largest item in every state’s budget, all fifty of them. Senator, you and Sen Obama talk a lot about health care, but can you tell this audience what you have accomplished on health care reform in your six terms in the Senate? After all, you have served with Democratic administrations as well as Republican. What have you accomplished, because every day as governor I woke up asking the same question: How will I pay for health care for Alaskans this month?” There won’t be any “I knew John Kennedy” moments this time.

    I actually find Gov Palin a spirited choice for the reason we saw today. Every time the Dems try to run her down for her lack of this or that type of experience, they will essentially be raising the same issue about Obama in the minds of voters. It’s the gift that keeps on giving for McCain. McCain supported the war in Iraq; so did Joe Biden. Obama plans to pull troops out of Iraq in 18 months; both McCain and Palin (will) have children serving in Iraq. It’s a juxtiposition dream ticket.

  46. This is….I mean…I don’t even know. It’s reckless, more than anything, to put this totally unqualified woman a heartbeat away from a presidency. Where is his sense of responsibility? What happens if he croaks within a week of taking office…..does he think the mayor of Wasilla is up to the task of negotiating with the Russians? of resolving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? of tackling UN reform?

    I guess the election is over now. Strange. Who’d have thought McCain would capitulate like this?

  47. She doesn’t even come close to passing the heartbeat test.

  48. Andrew:
    Please take your anti-sexism pills – since when is being the Governor of a US state, and the mayor of a US town, a lack of experience? Or maybe you prefer male talk show hosts, ex-sports heroes, and “businessmen”? Oh yeah – they are sooo qualified to be President. Are you saying that Obama is “experienced” – not much more than her, if at all.
    Honestly, you’d think being Governor of Alaska disqualifies her from being able to find Iraq on a map.
    Just because she’s not from teh Centre of the Universe, young, female and attractive. Get over it, old man! Life is moving on, and so is US politics.

  49. Yup, US politics is certainly moving on…..nothin to see here, folks. And here we thought McCain was taking his responsibilities seriously….

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