Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Palin Pros & Cons

John McCain's pick of Governor Palin may have created a brief sensation, but the lingering question is will it last. The clear reason for this pick, as even Republican pundits admit it is a very cynical political choice (especially for John McCain), is to gain some of the disaffected Hillary supporters. Simultaneously, McCain hopes to quiet some concerns Christian conservatives have with him, as Palin is opposed to any form of abortion and has advocated teaching creationism in schools.

McCain may very well pick up some Hillary supporters, and the right wing of the Republican Party may be put somewhat at ease, but are the supposed advantages Palin brings worth it? McCain may lose more credibility as a maverick, despite what his campaign describes as a maverick decision, for picking an underqualified vice presidential candidate with the clear intent of making a political play for disaffected women who supported Hillary. The move does not exactly excude the mantra of the "Straight Talk Express", if anything it sends the message of a desperate political move to gain votes.

McCain also now has great difficulty with the only attack on Obama that had real resonance - lack of experience. Even worse for McCain's campaign, Obama picked the most qualified Vice Presidential candidate with Biden right before McCain picked one of the least experienced candidates. Undoubtably McCain's campaign will keep at the experience issue, but it will be much more difficult with Palin being his choice, and Biden as Obama's.

Republicans are saying the party is excited and ready to go, but this doesn't seem to show much at their convention, which is already composed of the base of the party and elected officials. Even if there is a great deal of excitement, as they insist there is, they must maintain it until November while avoiding any gaffes or major mistakes on the part of the Governor who has little experience on the national media stage.

Polling after the Republican Convention will tell whether there is any immediate impact of the Palin decision, and whether McCain's choice was worth the sacrifice.

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