Monthly Archives: September 2008

What will happen tonight in St Paul

Some friends think I’m too quick to see the absurdity of McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as running mate. We’ll see. But it doesn’t take much of a crystal ball to predict the outcome of her speech to the Republican National Convention tonight.

She’ll do a good job. The hall will be utterly ecstatic with enthusiasm and multiple, lengthy ovations. The talking heads on cable will say she exceeded all expectations. The Republican spinmeisters will say the response shows just how canny and clever McCain was to single Palin out.

What none of it will do is erase the completely impulsive decision making behind the choice. It won’t provide any response to Palin’s abhorrent (to my mind) views on teaching creationism, denying the human role in global warming, and opposing abortion in any circumstances. Despite the bloviating about her having more “executive experience” than any of the senators in the race, she’ll still have the thinnest set of credentials of any candidate in the last hundred years. It’s a joke. But none of that will be pointed out by the media guardians tonight.

The downward slope

Sarah Palin on the cover of US Weekly

Yikes. If US Weekly is laying into Sarah Palin, it really is all over bar the shouting. I’ve long held to the political science truism that vice-president picks don’t have much influence on people’s votes, but there are always exceptions.

As many observers are noting, the issue isn’t so much Palin as McCain’s utterly bizarre lack of preparation and judgment. When we select members of my sons’ school’s board of directors, we do more vetting than McCain did. And we certainly make certain that we’ve met the people more than once.

So where does McCain go from here? I wouldn’t be shocked by an announcement in the next week or so that Sarah Palin decided to withdraw her own candidacy because of the “unwarranted intrusions” into her family’s private life. Of course that would throw McCain’s inadequate, impulsive decision into even harsher relief, but one can imagine the spin machine going into action against “Democratic smear campaigns”. And McCain could actually pick someone who was credible.

The great likelihood, of course, is that the Republicans will stumble on with McCain-Palin. Hallelujah.