Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sarah, Plain Spoken and Tall

The requisite 30 milliseconds having elapsed after John McCain's announcement of Sarah Palin as his running mate the Demo sneer machine swung into action. Notice I did not say "smear machine". The use of the muscular perjorative "smear" can scarcely be applied to the puerile kvetching and carping sweeping through the progressive blogosphere. Even the conservative web presence is not entirely without its criticisms but by far, naturally, the apposite side is seriously cheesed off by the announcement coming on the heels of the Obamessiah's extensive litany of pro-forma progressive tropes otherwise known as his nomination acceptance speech. The nerve of those evil Republicans choosing to put a woman on the ticket is pure poison to the Dems. who collectively decided that they were not quite "ready" to have a strong woman on the ticket.

That is perhaps not an especially fair comparison due to the the woman being Hillary and the actual nominee being the reigning king of mushy liberal bombast but the Clinton campaign was not especially reticent about exploiting the gender of its candidate up to just shy of completely embarrassing. The final proof is Hillary's statement about the near shattering of the glass ceiling which illustrates the thundering obviousness that her campaign was, at least in part, about her gender. How exquisitely galling that, while the Dems. talked the talk, the Reps. walked the walk and actually nominated a woman for the ticket. At the bottom of it to be sure but still---.

The most immediate progessive response was that this was cold naked political calculation on the part of the McCain campaign. Well duh. In presidential politics just what part of choosing a veep is not entirely about political calculation? In this case it was the McCain campaign saying, "Okay we'll call your ageing insider white male party hack and raise you a fresh young conservative woman outsider." The truth is she is not all that experienced but that brickbat is one that the Dems had better not throw much considering that one of the main gripes against the top of their ticket is the very same lack of experience. The pup Obama went with an old Dem. DC infighter as a running mate while the old Rep. DC infighter chose a relatively green small population state governer. That fact that Sarah Palin is who and what she is personally is pure electoral gravy for McCain. It might point up the fact of J.M.'s age but precisely the same can be said for the pairing of Barry and Joe only in the reverse direction.

The past sixteen years have pointedly illustrated that the veep slot is now far from the ineffectual sinecure to which John Nance Garner famously referred as being "not worth a bucket of warm piss" (That's the un-Bowdlerized version by the way and much more in tune with good 'ol boy Texas argot). Al Gore and Dick Cheney have permanently torpedoed that outdated notion to put it mildly. A veep choice counts as never before. In any case presidential politics has been just as congenial to state governers, if not more so, as it has to sitting federal legislators--Reagan, Carter, Clinton and Bush to name but four.

Much verbiage is expended on how much a particular candidate is "qualified" to be president. How, pray tell, can anyone be precisely qualified to hold a job entirely different from any other in the land? Basic maturity, good judgement, and a decent grasp of the range of human affairs is, or bloody well should be, far more important than who can name the Deputy Commerce Minister of Kaploonistan or how long someone has been warming a legislative chair. In fact the longer one sits in that chair the more narrow and parochial one tends to become until nearly the only criterion is how well any particular legislation will play back home and what will be its effects on re-election. The Senate was originally intended to be a more contemplative and "above the fray" deliberative body but its provincialism can now scarcely be distiguished from the supposedly more fractious and emotional House.

The long truculent list of nay-sayers notwithstanding the choice of Sarah Palin is a solid out-of-the-park dinger for McCain. The conservative base was either going to have to hold its nose to pull the lever for the McCainster or grumpily stay home on election day. This choice has electrified the base, loosened their checkbooks, and will attract some attention from wavering independents (those poor confused souls). It might even induce a few unrepentant PUMAs to pull the Rep. lever if their high feminist dudgeon remains unimpressed by Dem. unity pleas. That last is not likely to have much effect but when absurdly tiny vote differences can amount to big electoral payoffs enough pokes in Barry's eye for dissing Hillary could conceivably make or break some ultra-tight state races. The independant distaff vote is another matter and Palin could easily be some considerable help there however loud and snarky the Dems. are about the political calculation.

Unquestionably the choice is a game changer for McCain who was in decided need of some conservative red meat on the ticket since, legislatively, he is scarcely distinguishable from Hillary, or Joe Biden for that matter, and is a darling of very few of those of conservative, or even centrist, bent. It might be considered a safe enough move to put a clear conservative at the bottom of the ticket where they theoretically can do little harm and some considerable electoral good. However the conservative chattering classes are snatching up this ball and running hard with it. Most are gleeful, and relieved, to the point that many are no doubt considering avoiding the rush and having "Palin 2012" printed up against future need. Hard to blame them since after four years of seasoning Sarah P. should be the clear front Rep. runner then or at the very least in 2016.

My personal take is that McCain might well step down and out of the way in 2012 to let fresher blood run through the party's veins. If he wins he'll be 76 his last year in office and if he won again he'd be 80 at the end of his second term. His health status is not fabulous and has been on the slightly shaky side ever since his extended stay at the Hanoi Hilton. In 2016 Mrs. Palin will not be as old as Hillary is now so in terms of the physical stamina required, and it's not trivial, she would be in as good a position to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for a couple of terms as anyone. Even if the ticket is a loser this time around she'll no doubt be the de facto Rep. front runner in 2012. How delicious and utterly sweet the irony that the first woman President might well be a Republican, and a solidly conservative one at that. Don't know if that sends a thrill up Chris Matthew's leg but mine is beginning to expectantly twitch a bit.

Update: Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol is five months pregnant--and not married although that is the intent apparently. The lefty blogosphere is having a predictable field day but since this situation is quite common in the country it is likely to increase support of Palin among "working class" voters who will view the decision to keep the baby as clear evidence of the Palin family's pro-life creds. Hard core Obamaniacs would never vote for any Rep. ticket under any conceivable circumstances so the influence of this revelation will be zero on that demographic. The teeming masses of Heartlandia, in the main blessedly ignorant of the hysterias of web punditry and who give not the tiniest tinker's ding dang darn about what the NYT or the WaPo has to say, will be generally approving or at least neutral.

The Dem.'s to "take back" the country, i.e. wrench it from the allegedly evil grasp of the neocons, erroneously assumes that its standard issue doctrinaire progressivism has ever had any sort of serious grasp on the electorate to begin with. So let the MSM and the gleeful leftosphere have their viscious fun for it will not matter a whit in this most curious of electoral seasons. The Palin's have publicly welcomed the pending familial addition whereas the Obamas publicly averred than an out-of-wedlock birth for one of their daughters would be a regrettable "punishment". Lemons to lemonade on the one hand and lemons to battery acid on the other.

Obama and his veep choice deserve props for correctly and properly signaling that playing political football with this situation is not to be encouraged. That they could scarcely do otherwise is plain, regrettably their MSM/net supporters will ignore it, but nevertheless good on them for it. In fact their clenched teeth dumurrals are likely to have zero effect on the Obamaniacs of the MSM and the typically frenzied blogosphere. All this garbagiosity has so far done is to focus more attention on Palin which further reinforces her natural likeability. Despair and desperation is in the Obamair and further "misinterpreted" slips like the "lipstick on a pig" crack may be expected from Barry and Joe. It may not matter since McCain faces such an uphill climb but however much vicious sneering there is about Palin it is a plain to see that if McCain loses he nevertheless would have lost far worse if he had not picked her.

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