The Palin Pick: Don’t Rush Me!

Palin: So easy to look at, so hard to define
Palin: So easy to look at, so hard to define

A reader sent along a link from the Arkansas Tonight blog (which has been unaccountably absent from my radar screen, but now enjoys a proud place on the blogroll below), in which I am being taken to task for expressing support for John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as VP.

The only problem is, I haven’t done so. It’s true that I’ve posted a whole lot about the pick—actually, much more than than I meant to. I’ve also posted lots of photos of Palin—because, well, come on.

But otherwise, I’ve mostly reserved judgment thus far, other than to argue with a few points about “experience” and to defend Palin against some of the wackier rumor-mongering. (It’s true that Freeman Hunt has given her seal of approval, but contributors to this blog are not required to toe a party line, and we don’t always agree.)

That’s why I’ve linked to various writers the last few days who were either enthusiastic or critical of Palin—let’s see what everyone’s saying and sift it out. (While I’m on the subject: John Brummett’s column from Saturday—which upon reflection, I now believe I was hasty, cranky and ungenerous in dismissing so quickly, and I’m willing to admit it—takes a reasonable enough “skeptical-but-let’s-wait-and-see” stance.)

Here’s my dilemma: As a political observer, I love it. It’s a refreshing, ballsy, exciting move that might shake things up, which is what this campaign needs. And it gives us fun stuff to write about. (Oh, admit it: You didn’t want to every read anything about Mitt Romney again, now did you?)

But as someone who has been clear that he wants McCain to win, I’ll confess some trepidation over what may be a very, very risky gamble.

When it comes to the question of Palin’s experience, which is a fair enough question to explore, I’m baffled as to Democrats are perfectly willing to embrace the lack of experience at the top of their ticket, but condemn it as unacceptable at the bottom of the GOP ticket. If the Dems really did value experience as much as they have suddenly started claiming the last few days, surely they would have nominated Hillary Clinton over Obama, right?

If I’m not entirely ready to stand up and cheer the Palin pick, nor am I ready to pronounce it “suicidal.”  I’m willing to wait a couple of weeks to see how she performs and how the voters respond to her.

Why? Simple. Today, it seems clear that the conventional wisdom on Palin among many in the punditocracy (Am I part of the punditocracy yet? When does that happen?) is shaping up that the pick was a “bad move” for McCain. Over at the Arkansas Times blog, to take just one local example, Max Brantley sounds like he’s gearing up for the Sarah Palin Steps Down to Spend More Time With Her Family Watch.

But have you noticed how often the conventional wisdom has been dreadfully wrong in this race?

Remember how Hillary Clinton, with her mountains of cash, was supposed to be the unstoppable Democratic juggernaut? I do. And I was one of the people who believed it. Until she lost to the one-term Senator with the weird name, and went several million dollars into debt for her trouble.

Remember how those moneybags candidates like Romney and Rudy Giuliani were going to fight it out in a battle royale for the GOP nod? I do. I was one of the people who believed it. Rudy flamed out spectacularly, gone before he was here, while Romney fizzled out over several agonizing months.

Remember how Mike Huckabee’s underfunded candidacy was gonna be over before the end of summer 2007? I do. And I was one of the people who believed it. Until he won Iowa, made a surprisingly spirited primary run and positioned himself as a significant player in national GOP politics for the future.

Remember how John McCain was finished in summer 2007 because he was broke and the wheels were coming off his campaign? I do. And I was one of the people who believed it. Until he rode the ramshackle remnants of that campaign to the nomination.

Remember how Fred Thompson was going to fire up the GOP grassroots with his down-home Reaganesque authenticity? I do. But actually, I didn’t fall for that one. He was just terrible.

So if I’m a little hesitant to jump on to any bandwagons with regard to Sarah Palin, that’s why. The conventional wisdom has taken it on the chin a few too many times this last year, and given that the Palin pick is an unconventional play of almost unprecedented proportions, I’m willing to hold off on making a snap decision. (I will note that, the more that Dems unleash loony attack lines against her, the more I like her. Keep it up!)

And besides, it’s not like I get paid to do this, so I figure I can take my own sweet time and do whatever the hell I want.

But all that stuff I wrote about Palin being “America’s Hottest Governor“? I stand by all that unreservedly. Steadfast, I am.

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15 thoughts on “The Palin Pick: Don’t Rush Me!

  • September 2, 2008 at 1:55 pm
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    Is it just me or has Max Brantley gone off the deep end with his talk about Sarah Palin? He is talking like McCain is going to have to kick her off the ticket. I don’t know that there isn’t smoke to the fire about her brother-in-law’s complaint against her, (I’m not saying there is something wrong there. I just don’t know) but none of the left’s other criticisms of her hold any water. Her husband got a DWI 22 years ago. This is news worthy? Why doesn’t someone point out that, A. Mr. Palin isn’t running for Vice President, and B. Mr. Palin’s DWI was when he was 22 and it occurred two years before a 45 year Joe Biden plagiarized a speech by a British MP.

    I really think the left has lost control. They’ve gone insane.

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  • September 2, 2008 at 2:14 pm
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    Reading the idiotic note on the Arkansas tonight blog pushed me all in for McCain and Palin. From now on when any Democrat says Palin has a pathetically thin resume the only proper response is to say that is just the pot calling the kettle black. Seriously, anyone who thinks
    that Barack Obama’s political resume is anymore mpressive than Palin’s lives in a fantasy world. Do you know why Obama is the Democratic nominee? Because he gave one very impressive speech 4 years ago and won a primary race by running a radical leftist campaign. If Sarah Palin is inexperienced and out of touch with the mainstream than what is Obama?

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  • September 2, 2008 at 2:21 pm
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    Frankly, it is not the left that has gone off the deep end. These stories are being fueled by RomneyBots, the left is just taking the low hanging fruit. Romney is a meglomaniac that will sink McCain so that he can be President in 4 years. He doesn’t care if Obama appoints 4 pro-abortion Supreme Court justices, all he cares about is Mitt Romney. The real question that needs to be asked is if the conservative media will assist Romney in his quest to destroy the Republican ticket.

    As one person put it… “Who do you think had all this opposition research in the bag? Palin wasn’t even on the Democrat’s radar.”

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  • September 2, 2008 at 2:52 pm
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    Forget Palin Reverse Ace Mc Cain is the nutcase of that ticket please for the love of god replace senator hothead with another neo con if you must but boot him off the ticket. I’d have more respect for you repugs if you put Cheney on the ticket. Cheney/Palin 08

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  • September 2, 2008 at 4:04 pm
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    Actually, we’re fans of both Dave and Freeman (who is a very nice, smart and well spoken commentator) – we’re big fans of The Arkansas Project. Regardless of “pushing someone” into voting for McCain, we still enjoy reading different views. It makes things more interesting. We actually don’t think the pregnancy story is that big a deal. Obama is (probably) right on that. The stories about her ethics, her membership in a third party, her term as mayor and substantive items about her policy and experience should be fair game. Thanks for the blogroll. Keep on making us take umbrage at things, because we rarely find a local site that can do that, with some grace.

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  • September 2, 2008 at 4:18 pm
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    …oh, one other thing. Sorry to push. You (any of you) have an open invitation to defend Ms. Palin, on our site, free of our harrassment. We can’t do it, but we invite you to do so, in fact, we’d be honored to have you do it. Let us know.

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  • September 2, 2008 at 5:18 pm
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    Hey Cris, I wanted to quote from your analysis:

    “Look deeply into her crossed eyes and tell us you REALLY consider this woman to be the rightful successor to one, Mr. Richard Cheney”

    You have a future in political writing. That is some of the most insightful perspective I’ve seen in a while. Your work is truly a breath of fresh air in an otherwise poisonous political arena. Thanks for keeping it on point and avoiding ad hominem attacks.

    Stay classy, Cris!

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  • September 2, 2008 at 7:36 pm
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    Cris is a fag-get!

    What kind of douche way is that to spell a name?

    Go back to the Kos.

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  • September 2, 2008 at 8:37 pm
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    “New York?” Whattsa matta? You can’t get a date at Washington Square or something and you like me? C’mon, “douche?” Yankee, go home.

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  • September 2, 2008 at 10:51 pm
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    If is beginning to smell of Keith Emis around this blog lately.

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  • September 3, 2008 at 7:19 am
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    Yea, Palin’s husband got a DWI at the same time Obama was snorting coke in college.

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  • September 3, 2008 at 7:36 am
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    I just checked out the Times Blog. Brantley has a whole post dedicated to a t-shirt Gov Palin wore in college. I think “Bill from Sheridan” was right old Max and the rest of the libs are loosing it. What are they so afraid of?

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  • September 3, 2008 at 2:33 pm
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    Good Article David. People are way too fussy about the Palin pick but that’s what happens when the focus of an election is on personality rather than issues. McCain chose someone to rally the base and she is doing a good job at that task. Some of the comments I’ve seen from the Democrats make me wonder if they are trying to alienate voters, especially all the negativity toward small towns. I mean how do the Democrats expect to win without at least a few of those “small” population states with all those “small” towns.

    Don’t take this the wrong way but the Democrats should have this election locked up for November and it is like they are doing everything possible to implode on themselves and lose. I suppose that’s good for McCain, and you since you support him.

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  • September 3, 2008 at 3:24 pm
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    Looking at the numbers from the primaries the democrats should have the republicans by 18 points. Not sure why it somewhat close. I do think the democrats have this one raped up baring any major blowups.

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  • September 3, 2008 at 7:41 pm
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    I just want to say that Sarah Palin’s baby is not hers. Yes, it’s true. I don’t want to be the one to re-start the vicious cycle of blogfestered rumormongering, but straight talk is straight talk. The baby is mine. And John Edwards’. Now will somebody please hand me my $5 million new house?

    Reply

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