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McCain Jumps the Shark With Pick of Palin as VP

On the day he's celebrating is 72nd birthday, who does John McCain pick as VP, to stand by him literally one heartbeat away from the Oval Office.

A young, relatively inexperienced politician.

After months and months of McCain claiming that Obama doesn't have enough experience to be Commander in Chief, McCain picks someone with less experience than Obama to be that 'one-heartbeat-away' Commander in Chief in waiting...

This move is dripping with desperation. It grabs the headlines for the next couple of days following Obama's big acceptance speech last night, but long term it's more likely to be a huge mistake. Standing next to Biden at the debate, Palin will pale. And with McCain's senility age at the forefront of voters minds leading into the election, McCain picks Palin -- despite her low experience level -- because she's a woman and he hopes to pick up disenfranchised Clinton voters.

Doesn't he realize that he's thrown the "Obama doesn't have enough experience" debate out the window with this move? Palin has the thinnest foreign policy experience of any VP candidate in history.

McCain will point to Palin's experience as Alaska's governor as "executive" experience that is needed in the White House, but look at the payoff we've had from 8 years of former Texas Governor George Bush's "executive experience" -- FEMA, FDA, FAA, Justice -- all executive branch departments that have had disastrous records of service.

Add in Alaska's connection to big oil and this move comes down to nothing less than stunning stupidity for the Republicans.

Desperation makes for funny decision-making - and this glimpse inside the mind of John McCain is downright scary.

Update: This reaction from an Alaskan Democrat hits the nail on the head:

"Sarah is a small town mayor running Alaska as if it's a small town," says Frank Smith, a former union and Democratic Party activist in Alaska. "McCain is out of his mind. He has no foreign policy experience and she'll help because she's been fishing in Canada."

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Rating: 2.1/5 (17 votes cast)


Comments (28)

Ray H.:

Small differnce though Lee, she's not going to be President, so she will have time to learn on the job from McCain on many things, while she does bring that executive exerperience. Obama may have a litte more experience, but he's asking to be the actual President, which is a much bigger job than the VP Palin is asking to be. I would not support Palin as the President because of her lack of experience, much like I am unlikely to support Obama because of his inexperience. But as VP, both would be more palatable.

Tim:

You bring up an interesting point. Ms. Palin has served as a city council person, a mayor, the lieutenant governeor, and Governor in Alaska. That makes he only moderately more experienced than Obama who has been an Illinois state senator and a part-time US senator - Part time as he has not had time to perform his duties while he has been on the road, campaigning for the presidency.

So..... why are you so excited about an inexperienced Democratic presidental candidate while denigrating a more experienced vice presidential candidate?

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

You want someone who can immediately step into the shoes of the presidency, Ray, should -- god forbid -- something happened to McCain.

If Obama isn't ready neither is Palin -- who has less foreign policy experience than Obama, and tons less than Biden.

That's what makes this pick so baffling -- and so obviously just a pandering play towards Clinton supporters. It literally throws away McCain's cheif argument against Barack Obama.

It's panic on the part of McCain. Do we really want a shaky, panicked President John McCain in the White House.

This was an amazingly stupid choice.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Tim -- Obama has experience at the state level, like Palin, as an Illinois State Legislator. He also has experience as a US Senator on national issues and matters such as foreign policy.

Palin has no experience on national issues. Just like George Bush had no experience in foreign policy and made huge foreign policy blunders.

She was mayor of a town that has less than 10,000 people -- and this is who McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency after arguing for months that Obama isn't ready?

Good grief - how sublimely ridiculous! It underline McCain's senility.

Ray H.:

I agree with Tim, Palin has as at least as much experience in government as Obama. I think Biden and McCain essentially cancel each other out in that regard. I'd rather have the experienced person as Pres and the less than experienced person at VP. I think the Dems have it backwards and republicans have that particular mix correct. I do think that overall, both parties could have picked the President better, but given who we have, it is what it is.

I can't wait to hear them talk about the specific differences in their policies and platforms. I liked actually hearing Obama start to lay out his so now I can start comparing and contrasting them to make my own decision.

DaveD:

Let's look at this. If you really believe McCain just ditched his strongest case against Obama, why would he do that? Why would he make the situation harder on himself? Why would he compromise a "surprising" (as Hoosen put it)polling parity having to baby sit a naive running mate? Trying to build a "coalition" of voters who will support your election is nothing new on either side of the political divide. Additonally, it is a weak argument to use Bush as an example that governors don't make good presidents. I would say if one were willing to go a little farther into the past both Republican and Democratic governors have made strong presidents in the eyes of their respective admirers. If he is elected, I am least worried about McCain being able to stay alive for four more years. I really don't know as much as I would like about Palin but I don't think it's a slam dunk that she will "pale" next to Biden in the debates. Biden, to be polite, is one sanctimonious character and his inability to express a concept in a succinct manner is legend. Palin is a mother of 5 kids. One serves in the military. She is pro life. She belongs to the NRA. She is attractive and a state governor. I am very interested in what she has to say.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"If you really believe McCain just ditched his strongest case against Obama, why would he do that?"

He's pandering to women and the religious, evangelical right. Social conservatives love her.

Suddenly "experience" and "ready to lead from day one" doesn't matter -- when McCain has been claiming it matters a lot. Maybe he's known along that it was a weak argument, and he's been waiting for a chance to dump it.

Maybe after seeing Obama last night, McCain knows he's losing ground.

So now it's a "experienced enough and ready to lead" Barack Obama -- thanks to John McCain's actions today.

This is quite a gift he's handed Obama. It's a panicked, desperate move that the Christian Broadcasting Network will love, and voters will be left scratching their heads wondering what got into John McCain this time.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

This move also exemplifies the simple-minded Republican approach to women.

Women aren't issues voters? All you have to do is put a woman on the ticket and Clinton die-hards will vote Republican?

Women don't care about the economy?

Women don't care about Iraq?

Women don't care about National Health Care?

Hillary Clinton has decades of experience leading on a national level. The Republicans think that can just grab any woman politician and they will pick up those Clinton die-hards. What an insult. "Look - she wears pantsuits just like Hillary!!"

Sheesh, this was a dumb choice.

Rich:

Lee you portray people so extremely. TV anchors are drooling,republicans are panicked and desperate,Mccain is senile. It is a bit silly.
I can not see where Obamas experience compares much to Palins. She has been the executive in charge of what amounts to a country for two years deciding the future for alaskans. She has been negotiating with domestic and foreign companies as well as the canadians on developing a gas pipeline for alaska and the US. She has been working on cleaning up the corruption of the republican party in alaska(I am sure you are familiar with that) and the good old boy network there. She has dealt with a large native population. She oversees a huge military population there in Alaska.
Obama has pretty much voted present on a lot of other senators policies and made some nice speeches. He zipped around the world chatting up some world leaders who were nice enough to listen to him and provide photo ops. Oh yeah..and he was a community organizer in Chicago. Almost forgot that.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Palin has zero experience with national issues, but as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska she had to deal with the odd rogue moose.

And your remark about Palin's experience as an "executive in charge of what amounts to a country" -- Alaska ranks 47th in the US in population.

What "country" are you comparing Alaska to?

Zimungalabekistan?

MacCain now acknowledges that his argument that Obama wasn't experienced enough is total bullshit.

Row harder, Rich, the boat is still taking on water.

Pantsuits for Palin! Pantsuits for Palin!

DaveD:

Lee,
People are going to learn more about Sarah Palin in short order and the facts that Rich has mentioned above will shed a very positive light on this woman. Your post which I would title "Women don't care..." is clearly not reflected in anything that has been written here. It is the type of fringe projection that lessens your credibility. If you are uncomfortable that people are taking a genuine interest in Palin that's too bad. Without your help she will get the close scrutiny that she deserves. But I believe when all is said and done Palin will not have to apologize for her lack of experience, particularly to the BO zealots.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

The fact that she can wear a pantsuit appears to be the principle reason Palin was chosen over someone like Mitt Romney or Joe Liebermann.

I'm waiting to learn what makes her more qualified than Romney and Liebermann, DaveD.... if it isn't her pantsuit-ability factor.

DaveD:

Other than foreign policy, Lieberman is a better VP for Democrat ideology than Republican. I would have been comfortable with Romney but it is not my call. You have written that selecting Palin is pandering. I would surmise that is synonymous with McCain expanding the interest in his candidacy. You have a problem with that, I don't. It's a simple disagreement. I don't blame BO at all for selecting Biden. BO needs no help expounding sweeping generalities but the devil is in the details and in that regard he clearly needs his hand held and should be a protege to a mentor more experienced in government on the national level. Biden fits that role. McCain does not need his hand held. He has years of experience in government. I believe Palin's experience is sufficient and if elected what she needs to learn she will learn quickly. I don't count on McCain dying, sorry.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

So you can't come up with a reason to select Palin over Liebermann or Romney other than the fact that she can wear a pantsuit and appeal to Clinton supporters?

Then, what we have is Barack Obama picking a VP with decades of relevant foreign policy experience, and John McCain picking Palin because polls show him that picking a woman is the correct move for this week's political scene.

Who has America's interests in mind, and who is concerned only about their own electability?

Looks like McCain is the one making choices based on the ability to win the election, and Obama making the best choice for this country.

Ray H.:

Not sure where you come up with this stuff Lee. There is a lot more then her ability to wear pantsuits. I know you'd try to cut down anyone that McCain picked so I shouldn't be surprised.

While I'm not a political expert by any stretch of the imagination, I wouldn't have picked Romney because they just didn't seem to get along through most of the process and I think his mormonism would still be a problem for a lot of people. Leibermann is a Dem, regardless of how he is registered now, but most Republicans would throw up all over the Liebermann. Would you be happy if Obama picked a Republican to be the VP on the Democratic ticket?

At the ago of 72, John McCain is literally one heart attack away from not being president, and Sarah Palin becoming president.

With McCain's substantial advanced age as well as his of history of health problems with cancer, there is little doubt that Palin's ability to become president if necessary will become a substantial campaign issue.

This past week a former Portland Trailblazers All Star center died of a sudden heart attack at the young age of 44. At 72, John McCain is substantially older than this athlete.

rich:

Boat is taking on water,but you are off the deep end Lee. I used to give you a little more credit,but it is like arguing with a child.

Pantsuits for Palin! You actually chant that. Maybe you just need a nap.

Tim:

Jeez, Paul, you're right. McCain is older than the basketball player. And so is Obama. Plus, Obama is BLACK, just like the basketball player. OH NOES!!!!!!

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Well, I took a nap and it didn't help. When I woke up we still had Sarah Palin as the Republican VP choice -- a person much less qualified than many other candidates such as McCain's pal Joe Liebermann and Mitt Romney, for example.

So you gotta notice that John McCain has really fallen off the edge with this choice. He no longer cares about giving this nation a qualified person as Vice-President -- someone who can step in run this nation if, god forbid, something happens to this 72 year-old cancer survivor.

Instead, we get someone who will appeal to a small faction of disgruntled Hillary voters, and the all-important GOP base.

The fact that John McCain had to shore up support from his base -- the religious right -- tells you that the support wasn't too strong before this choice.

That's the strongest reason McCain chose Palin -- the religious right told him to, by demonstrating weak support for McCain until he put a social conservative on the ticket. Now they are slobbering all over themselves to endorse a McCain presidency.

Barack Obama won the election today -- now it's just a matter of counting and delivering the votes. The fact that McCain had to shore up his base this close to election day is a sure sign of a sinking campaign, especially in light of a stunningly successful Democratic convention.

The Gallup Daily Tracking poll shows a 6 point leap ahead for Barack Obama coming out of the Biden pick and riding through the convention.

The next 10 days will show us the full effect of the successful Democratic convention, along with the bounce -- if any -- McCain gets from the religious right. If many of them were in the undecided category then we may see a bounce -- but regardless we should see the number of undecided voters shrinking rapidly in gthe next week ot week and a half.


The proof is in the pudding, and the Obama/Biden pudding was a success. It's McCain's turn, and the GOP's turn in Minnesota.

codekeyguy:

Lee and Paul,
You both sound so scared. Are you afraid that a woman will destroy the republican party? What is about sarah Palin that frightens you two so much? Is it that she is pro life? a member of the NRA? A woman clutching her bible and her guns? That she took on corruption (Ted Stevens and Don Young among others)? (Chicago political corruption, anyone?)That she turned down stevens bridge to nowhere pork? That she wants to drill in ANWAR while at the same time pursue other alternative energy ideas? That she is one hot lady? My take: Obama the empty suit and Biden the empty mouth!!!!!

tom:

THE RIGHT CHOICE!

DECISION MAKING EXPERIENCE.

COMMON SENSE!

DOWN TO EARTH.

LOWER TAXES, LESS GOVERNMENT, TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBLITY, DO ALL 12 ON OIL. AND DRILL DRILL DRILL

GOVERNMENT ISN'T THE SOLUTION..IT IS THE PROBLEM.

RS:

This country will be a lot better off when people on the FAR-LEFT and the FAR RIGHT stop being so purposefully delusional.

First of all... who first brought up the "experience issue" in this campaign?

It was John McCain; he declared it was crucial, remember?

Now, despite being 72 years old, a survivor of 5 cancer operations, with over 1,000 pages of medical records, McCain seems to have "changed his mind". (For those of you who voted last time based on the issue of "flip-flopping", you could call it that if you like.)

So is Sarah Palin less prepared to be president than Barack Obama? Yes. If you don't see this immediately, I can answer this for you quick, or slow.

HERE'S QUICK, it could save you some time, but you have to open your mind for a moment:

Let's say Obama and Palin had to debate, starting tomorrow, on all the key issues a president and vice president have to face. Assuming you were scoring not on ideology (which would be pointless in this discussion) but in some neutral way, based on "preparedness to talk on these subjects", "thoroughness of the answer", etc. - do you think this debate would be even close? You really think Palin is adequately prepared to debate these issues with anyone who has run for president this year? If you do, your thinking probably needs work. (Maybe you should rethink your entire belief system?)

Perhaps this will help you: In a recent interview (before asked to join the McCain ticket) Palin genuinely asked a reporter on a national show, "What exactly does the VP do everyday?"


If that's not enough, let's compare our contenders MORE SLOWLY:

Palin is 44. Obama 47.

Palin came in second in the Miss Alaska pageant and won a college scholarship and bachelor's degree from the University of Idaho.

Obama graduated from Columbia University, then Harvard Law School (Juris Doctor (J.D.) magna cum laude), where he served as president of the Harvard Law Review.

A few top Palin highlights: She then worked as a sports reporter for local Anchorage television stations, and as a commercial fisherwoman.

A few top Obama highlights: He taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School for twelve years.. He joined a law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and economic development. He wrote a best-selling book.

Palin was elected to Wasilla City Council where she served from 1992 to 1996. In 1996, she was elected to mayor of Wasilla (population 5,500).

Obama was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996, again in 1998, then again in 2002. (Population of Illinois 12,600,620).

In 2004 Obama was elected as a United States Senator.

2006 Palin was elected Govonor of Alaska (the second least populated state in the U.S. - 683,478 total). While there, some in the Republican party heralded her a rising star. In 2007 she scored approval ratings among Alaskans above 90%. Very impressive.

But here's the biggest thing:

Barrack Obama burst onto the NATIONAL SCENE several years back; some people thought he was the most exceptional politician they'd seen in decades - some did not. He gave the keynote address at the 2004 convention and blew most everyone away. As he served as a senator, people became more and more impressed. By 2006 he was on the cover of Time Magazine, along with the headline "Why Barack Obama Could Be The Next President" When he ran for President of the United States, some thought he was ready - some did not. Then he headed what is considered to be one of the most amazing National campaigns in recent history, beating out the toughest political machine the Dems have had in decades - the Clintons. He's given incredible speeches on very complicated "presidential" issues across the country, met with men and women in every state, weathered political difficulties (some real, some of his own making, some manufactured) on the national stage (garnering over 17,000,000 primary votes in the process). Then he traveled overseas where almost everyone knew of him (from top leaders to 200,000 citizens of Berlin), wanted to meet him, was amazed by him. He just finished the most attended (highest-rated, TV-wise) convention of all time, giving a speech that even Republican pundits call a "Masterpiece". (The seated audience during the last night of the convention was FIFTEEN TIMES the size of Wasilla, where Palin served as mayor.)

In summary, Obama's fought hard, performed well, and earned where he is at this point on the NATIONAL stage. You may not like Obama, you may not agree with him, but even most Right-Wing politicians would concede this point.

Population of our NATION, 305,009,416. Quite simply, it's a different game, one that Palin has almost no experience in at all.

Palin, while rightly appreciated by Republicans for her charm and ethics (until proven otherwise - her current Ethics Probe makes this a little dicey), got plucked from relative obscurity, from a tiny pond, and splashed down into the ocean of our 2008 Presidential Campaign.


A LAST METAPHOR:

Basketball. Comparing Obama to Palin in terms of preparedness to be President is like comparing LeBron James to a "John Doe" three years younger, who looks to have some good skills, but who has yet to play a single big game. Who is more experienced? The answer is that clear.

Well, the game is just starting for Palin, and we'll see what she and all the other players do. Maybe she'll amaze. Maybe she won't.

Hopefully, those in the stands will watch with open eyes.

I saw an article this morning that read "With Pick, McCain Reclaims His Maverick Image". Maybe. Or maybe it solidifies his image as an aging politician who, based on imagined political gain, will reverse any position, to make poor choices on important issues that effect us all.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Well said, RS -- very well said.

angle of repose:

RS pretty well hit all the nails on the head.

my only difference would be with the statement that "Palin has almost no experience in at all."

i think the more accurate statement, in context, of course, is that "palin has no experience in it at all."

thank you for taking the time, RS.

Mel:

Note to Tim: She ran for Lieutenant Governor in 2002. She didn't win that one.

She was elected Mayor of Wisalla - got a grand total of 627 votes.

Many people in Alaska think she's great. Residents of Wisalla where she was Mayor are not so convinced. You see, while she was in office she raised their taxes.

Now that she's Governor of Alaska, she has just introduced the largest operating budget in the state's history, while making $283 million in budget cuts to public services. Some reformer. She has told her constituents not to worry about deficits, because it will all be alright once they start drilling ANWAR. In fact, her critics in Alaska claim that the high price of oil has been a godsend to her administration. She doesn't have to worry about how to make ends meet as long as those petrobucks are swelling the state's coffers. If Alaska didn't have oil, and the price of oil was not so high, would she still be deemed a great Governor?

This is a woman whose qualification for running for the Wasilla (then population est. 5,000) city council was that she was in the PTA. Her previous profession was part-time, temporary sportscaster in Anchorage (one broadcast). She has a degree from a school in Idaho in journalism - she went to college on a basketball scholarship.

That's not to say she's dumb or that being in the PTA is anything to snarl about. I keep hearing she's a good mother. Maybe so. She went back to work within 24 hours of giving birth to her fourth child. Pregnant with a Down Syndrome baby, she flew against doctor's orders (and common sense) to give a speech at a convention in Texas, where she went into premature labor. Instead of going to the hospital to have herself (and the baby she was carrying) checked out, she decided without consultation that she was OK to stay and make the speech, then get on an 11 hour flight back to Alaska...where instead of going to the nearest hospital in Anchorage, had her husband drive her to Wasilla, where she had induced labor because she and her baby were in danger. Why would a person do that? Her husband answered for her: "You can't have a fish picker from Texas".

She is very, very lucky that precious baby didn't die because of her poor judgment.

She is currently under two investigations for wrongful dismissal. Walter Monagan you might know about, and frankly, the brother-in-law sounds like a real jerk to me. The one that worries me is the faithful and competent official of many years whose only sin was to date the estranged wife of a buddy of Palin's husband. The guy didn't even know he was fired until he noticed his state-issued Blackberry was cut off. Before he could even find out why, Palin's office issued a press release saying the guy had "resigned for personal reasons".

Your first problem is, you don't know anything about Sarah Palin. Your bigger problem will be when you do know about Sarah Palin.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"You see, while she was in office she raised their taxes."

That would explain why she's now saying "When I ran for Mayor I ran on a platform to lower taxes"... lol - it sounds much better than the truth.

Sounds like she's going to bloat up the state budget -- which relies on oil-related revenues for 80% of its income -- and then end up in a California-like pickle once the revenues drop - No wonder Schwarzenegger likes her - she's as stupid as he is.

And no matter how big of an asshole the brother-in-law was or is -- abuse of power is an abuse. We cant have politicians that ignore the constitution, for example, simply because they think they are on the right side of an issue -- we've had enough of that.

The law is the law, and if she broke the law she was wrong no matter what the Brother-in-Law did.

Peter:

I see a few reasons for the Palin selection.

First, I have to say that the Palin selection is a Hail Mary pass. McCain was, and still is losing in the polls, and a vanilla pick like Pawlenty would not have done anything, so he tried something desperate, risky, something to shake things up.

Second, I think the pick really wasn't his. I think the RNC essentially told him to mix up his campaign, and to include Palin. Why? Because if the Palin Hail Mary lands, then great, McCain goes to the whitehouse. But in the more likely event he does not, guess who is now thrust on the national stage... and ready to go at it in 2012... Sarah Palin. Of course that's assuming that Barack's candidancy would be disasterous (incumbants almost always win).

Peter:

I would also like to commend RS for a very well-though out and well-explained post.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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