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Well, There He Goes Again

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A presidential election campaign that is shaping up as one for the ages is bound to have a fair amount of hyperbole that goes along with it. But every once in awhile, it goes so over the top that you feel like you’ve entered a parallel universe. Fellow Blogcritics.org commentator, Dave Nalle, in a piece published earlier on Friday, said that John McCain’s pick of Alaska Govenor Sarah Palin as his running mate “may be the most politically significant decision of the new millennium.” He was serious.

Granted, the new millennium is only 7 ½ years old at this point so it’s not that expansive of a proclamation. And while the decision may be historic, the average person can tick off a list of far more significant decisions without breaking a sweat. How about George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq? How about the decision to try and win that war on the cheap with an undermanned military? How about declaring “Mission Accomplished” over five years and four thousand or so deaths ago? How about the dual decisions of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to run for president? How about the decisions of all those who voted for both Clinton and Obama? Is it really necessary to go on?

Nalle, mixing the Kool-Aid for a radical right-wing base of the Republican Party that is still jittery over the nomination of McCain as that party’s stander bearer, puts one big huge smiley face on what may actually be the most bizarre political decision since Bush nominated Harriet Meiers for the Supreme Court.

Simply saying Palin is an innovative governor doesn’t make her so. Indeed, it would be hard to qualify for that moniker with less than two years on the job. Calling her a maverick doesn’t make her one, either. Saying she’s an opponent of big business doesn’t make her one unless and until the oil companies she supports cease to qualify as either big or a business.

Nalle and the Republican base may need to convince themselves that McCain just hit a home run, but it would hardly surprise me if they have plenty of night sweats between now and November. The real truth is that in trying to separate himself from Bush, McCain unwittingly tightened the ties. Palin may be a strange and unexpected choice, but so too was Bush’s decision to put Michael Brown in charge of FEMA and we all remember how well that one worked out.

Palin, like dozens of others like her, may have been able to pass the litany of checks that the Bush administration used in hiring U.S. attorneys, but that doesn’t immediately qualify her for the only role that a vice president must occupy—the ability to step in for the boss if needed. Whatever criticism one wants to make of Obama’s resume, it is light years ahead of Palin’s. It was almost laughable to hear a McCain spokesman tout her executive experience as a plus when referring to her stint as mayor of a 9,000 resident Alaskan town. If I recall correctly, wasn’t the mayor of the town in “Northern Exposure” also the bartender? Or was that the police chief? Never mind.

Palin might have the ability to ensure that there is enough salt in the spreaders to keep the roads free of ice, but the first time she’s forced to take a good look at the U.S. budget, she’s likely to wet herself. There’s a reason that even colleges have certain requirements before you can take higher level classes. There is such a thing as actually being prepared.

Given the thinness of Palin’s resume and her total lack of national profile, it really would be fascinating to get inside the mind of the man who wants to be president to really understand why he feels she’s more qualified than any of the other handful of candidates considered and then rejected. If it’s really just a case of zagging when he was supposed to zig, that’s one thing. But if there was any deeper thought than that than McCain has underscored in bright red ink the biggest lingering question most have about him, his judgment.

McCain has essentially admitted that this whole economy thing isn’t his strong suit. Fine, then pick someone with a real economic experience. Even if there are only 1000 or so arch conservatives that meet that requirement, it would be hard to believe that Palin would rank any higher than about 400th on that list. If McCain feels that he needs someone who better exemplifies the kind of family values that Republicans like to think are important, then Palin ends up higher on the list, but there are plenty of Republican hockey moms that can pass that test as well.

In fact, other than appealing to that oft-neglected group of hockey moms, it’s hard to figure exactly what appeal she brings to the Republican ticket unless the thought is that she’d bring disappointed Clinton supporters over to McCain’s side of the road. Yea, that’s it, Clinton supporters are frustrated with Obama because he’s not conservative enough.

All this is good news to those who’d rather see Obama in the White House anyway. About the only thing that Obama and Joe Biden have to guard against is getting too cocky. While Palin is an unknown quantity, given that she has at least some measure of accomplishment, however modest it might be, it is likely that she possesses some ability that shouldn’t be taken lightly. But in choosing Palin, McCain has essentially given Obama a free pass on any further criticisms of his experience, allowing Obama and his designated pit bull Biden even more freedom to go on the attack.

It’s interesting that Nalle in his commentary thinks that McCain’s choice of Palin has now silenced the doubters. If it has, it’s only because they are too shocked and too bewildered to speak .

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About Gary D. Benz

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I just love it when people write articles about me.

    Yes, I admit that my enthusiasm about Palin in my first article yesterday was a bit over the top. How would you feel if you were sure your party’s candidate was going to pick Mitt Romney as a running mate and you’d have to throw up your hands in disgust and just walk away, and then by some miracle he picked Palin instead. It’s heady stuff.

    That said, you’re dead wrong on a couple of facts here.

    First, Palin has not been a supporter of the oil companies. She’s been a staunch advocate against their attempts to wield excessive power and corrupt Alaska’s government.

    Second, she is certainly as qualified as Obama for the presidency and likely moreso. Her 8 years of executive experience are certainly worth more than his 8 years of legislative experience. Keep in mind that both of them have less experience than John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln, two presidents who anyone would want to be compared to.

    If Obama has experience beyond his limited legislative resume, much of it is in academia. Remember what a great president our last Academic was? Look up Woodrow Wilson some time.

    The best comparison for Palin is our last president to come into office with most of his experience in local politics and a partial term as governor. Remember Teddy Roosevelt?

    Who would you rather have in the White House in these times, Woodrow Wilson or Teddy Roosevelt?

    Feel free to disagree with my obvious answer to that one, but remember how other people will assess your whole argument based on that conclusion.

    And finally, here’s the key thing. Palin isn’t running for president, she’s running for VICE president, a job which is a learning and grooming position, not a position of critical leadership. McCain’s not going to die. His mother is still going strong at 97.

    It makes sense to pair McCain with a young and charismatic figure with great potential. The Democratic ticket would make just as much sense if Biden were the nominee and Obama was his Veep.

    Dave

  • Gary Benz

    Dave: I welcome the debate, but saying she it is a fact that she is more qualified than Obama for the presidency doesn’t make it one. I respect the opinion, I just don’t agree and it will be hard to find many who will. That said, it doesn’t mean Obama is the most qualified person to be president either. He’s qualified enough, that’s all. You are right that she’s only running for Vice president, and that’s my point. It’s a job that comes with only one criteria that everyone always hopes will never be needed. And if it’s never needed then it is a grooming job. We all saw how well that worked for Dan Quayle.

    The real question, then, is that before yesterday, did the average Republican, let alone the radical base, have Sarah Palin on any list of people that they wanted to groom immediately to be the president in 2012? If the answer is “yes” then her selection makes sense. I suspect you and I both know the real answer to that.

    Gary

  • Arch Conservative

    Just a few glaring facts……

    Palin would be VP, Obama would be

    Palin has limited executive, 2 years as AK governor, McCain, Obama and Biden all have none

    The Obama camp made their whole campaign about change and then picked a Senator that’s been in Washington for the past 30 something years

    The Obamas have been criticizing McCain for being out of touch with average Americans yet the Obamas themselves attended elite schools and became millionaires during the last eight years which they tell us were nothing but an economic nightmare for every last American

    Sarah Palin actually is a middle class citizen who can relate to the middle class

    Obama is most likely the most hyped least qualified cnadidiate to be pres in the history of our nation…..

    We are told day in and day out how great he is….how he’s going ot bring us all together, how everyone loves him….but it’s all a big lie…a media concotion……..

    In a time of an extremely unpopular president from the opposing party, an unpopular, a poor economy, rising enrgy prices………..if we were to believe the stuff we’re being told by the Obamabots…we would see him running away with this race in the polls…..if he was everything they claimed him to be he’d be up by twenty points or more………

    Prior to Obama’s little jaunt to Germany I would have thought he was going to win..but now John McCain has stepped up his game tenfold…..McCain is playing to win and I think Obama has gotten in over his head

    The way I see it McCain will win it unless he has a major slipup before Nov.

  • Clavos

    The real question, then, is that before yesterday, did the average Republican, let alone the radical base, have Sarah Palin on any list of people that they wanted to groom immediately to be the president in 2012? If the answer is “yes” then her selection makes sense.

    The first article supporting Palin as a VP candidate right here on Blogcritics, appeared just over a year ago.

    This summer, has seen another article on BC (by the same author), and repeated comments supporting her by several commenters on a variety of threads.

    She has been discussed widely throughout the blogosphere as a viable candidate for at least a year.

    Since being elected Governor, she has developed a reputation as a reformer, going after the corrupt officials, even of her own party, who have long reigned in Alaska’s state government.

    The selection is brilliant; a reformer like Palin, with no political baggage, is just what the country needs.

  • http://ex-conservative.blogspot.com Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    Interesting that you would bring up Woodrow Wilson, someone who jailed people for years simply for speaking out against WWI, and never even mentioned in public the Great Influenza that killed about a million Americans. Parallels? How about Bush with Valerie Plame and Katrina?

    Generally speaking, a man usually expects others to do what he would do himself. McCain chose Palin, a former runner-up in a state beauty contest. He could have chosen a FAR more qualified female such as Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas…but then remember who chose a rich trophy bride and left his disfigured wife?

    My apologies – I know that’s cruel and very insensitive and I really do hope I’m flat wrong about McCain’s motives – but there is a possible pattern there.

    But more importantly, see the parallels between Woodrow Wilson and Bush II.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan Miller

    a reformer like Palin, with no political baggage, is just what the country needs.

    Quoted for truth.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Dave: I welcome the debate,

    Well, you ignore most of my points, but ok.

    but saying she it is a fact that she is more qualified than Obama for the presidency doesn’t make it one. I respect the opinion, I just don’t agree and it will be hard to find many who will.

    I haven’t found it hard at all. It may be hard to find democrat partisans who agree, but that’s not surprising. Executive experience does count for more than legislative experience when it comes to running the country.

    That said, it doesn’t mean Obama is the most qualified person to be president either. He’s qualified enough, that’s all.

    Then by that measure so is she, so your point is moot. I did point out that two of our most respected presidents had LESS experience than either of them.

    You are right that she’s only running for Vice president, and that’s my point. It’s a job that comes with only one criteria that everyone always hopes will never be needed. And if it’s never needed then it is a grooming job. We all saw how well that worked for Dan Quayle.

    Again you prove my point for me. Quayle was more experienced than Obama or Palin and he was terrible. You can’t groom the ungroomable.

    The real question, then, is that before yesterday, did the average Republican, let alone the radical base, have Sarah Palin on any list of people that they wanted to groom immediately to be the president in 2012? If the answer is “yes” then her selection makes sense. I suspect you and I both know the real answer to that.

    I think Clavos answered this quite well. Lots of us had Palin on our lists but didn’t believe McCain would ever have the guts to pick her. That’s what makes this selection so exciting. She was an ideal which most of us thought was beyond the scope of political reality. She is important as much for what picking her says about McCain as she is in her own right.

    As Glenn the extremely rude Partisan pointed out, McCain could have picked Kay Bailey Hutchison. By picking Palin he sends a much bolder message.

    You should read my article on this subject.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    She is important as much for what picking her says about McCain as she is in her own right.

    Dead on!

  • bliffle

    So, what does picking Palin say about McCain?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    What do YOU think it says, Bliffle?

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Glenn, your comparison of Wilson and Bush makes just about no sense at all.

    Bush didn’t imprison Plame and has not ignored Katrina.

    Dave

  • Tom deSabla

    “as qualified as Obama for the presidency”

    Ha ha, that’s like saying Dave Nalle is as qualified as my ten year old to talk about economics.

    No, wait a minute – he’s not.

    Sorry. I guess I’ll have to find another analogy.

    ***

    Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt both sucked.

    ***

    “Since being elected Governor, she has developed a reputation as a reformer,”

    “The selection is brilliant; a reformer like Palin, with no political baggage, is just what the country needs.”

    No Clavos, Ron Paul is what this country needs, but don’t worry, I knew you would say something stupid, and you never disappoint me.

    ***

    “you ignore most of my points”

    Dave, you don’t make real points, so they should be ignored.

    ***

    “two of our most respected presidents”

    Wow, Dave, so you think that Woodrow “14 points” Wilson, and Teddy Roosevelt deserve to be two of our most respected presidents?

    What a joke.

    I guess your response will be, “Hey, I didn’t say they were respected by ME” or some such weaseling tripe.

    Wilson got hundreds of thousands of Americans killed for no reason at all in WW1, and, by entering that war for no reason, he set the stage for WW2.

    Roosevelt was a blustering bullying idiot and socialist.

    Both made government bigger, and got lots of people killed.

    It’s no surprise to me that you respect both men.

    None at all.

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