Friday, September 5, 2008

Krauthammer Not Sold on Palin Pick

Charles The Great Krauthammer has an article here at NRO, that deals with the issue of why the Palin pick has its bad sides as well.

Salient Quotes:
It’s clear that McCain picked her because he had decided that he needed a game-changer. But why? He’d closed the gap in the polls with Obama. True, that had more to do with Obama sagging than McCain gaining. But what’s the difference? You win either way.

Obama was sagging because of missteps that reflected the fundamental weakness of his candidacy. Which suggested McCain’s strategy: Make this a referendum on Obama, surely the least experienced, least qualified, least prepared presidential nominee in living memory.

Palin fatally undermines this entire line of attack. This is through no fault of her own. It is simply a function of her rookie status. The vice president’s only constitutional duty of any significance is to become president at a moment’s notice. Palin is not ready. Nor is Obama. But with Palin, the case against Obama evaporates.

McCain was giving up his home turf of readiness to challenge Obama on his home turf of change. Can that possibly be pulled off? The calculation was to choose demographics over thematics. Palin’s selection negates the theme of readiness. But she does bring important constituencies. She has the unique potential of energizing the base while at the same time appealing to independents.

The gamble is enormous. In a stroke, McCain gratuitously forfeited his most powerful argument against Obama. And this was even before Palin’s inevitable liabilities began to pile up.

McCain has one hope. It is suggested by the strength of Palin’s performance Wednesday night. In a year of compounding ironies, the McCain candidacy could be saved, and the Palin choice vindicated, by one thing: Palin does an Obama.

Obama showed that star power can trump the gravest of biographical liabilities. The sheer elegance, intelligence, and power of his public presence have muted the uneasy feeling about his unreadiness. Palin does not reach Obama’s mesmeric level. Her appeal is far more earthy, workmanlike, and direct. Yet she managed to banish a week’s worth of unfriendly media scrutiny and self-inflicted personal liabilities with a single triumphant speech.

I agree very much with Krauthammer's points. I do not agree that the choice of Palin "negates the theme of readiness" nor does it "fatally undermine" his case against Obama. McCain is not dead, and he's still at the top of the ticket. The other ticket has the least-prepared canididate at the top, and he's even less ready for office than Palin.

I think Krauthammer is also missing the point that McCain now has co-opted and even nearly stolen Obama's message of change by bringing onboard a now-popular change candidate in Palin. McCain can now preach this with conviction. So just maybe voters will believe both messages: McCain - ready to lead, and ready to change up things. I think it's doable.

And we can't forget that Obama put Biden - a 36-year insider - on the ticket of "change". So both tickets have mixed messages.

And perhaps many voters will take a bet that McCain won't pass away any time soon, and that Palin will have time to prepare for the weighty responsibility of the highest office in the land. Of course she's not totally ready now. But she will be. That's my bet.

Mo' betta' blues here at The Pantheon Journal.

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