Palin: Maverick Choice or Reckless Choice for McCain?

Channel surfing the news networks last night for reactions to Senator McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin, one pundit’s assessment stuck with me. CNN’s Paul Begala, a former Clinton consultant, broke “character” last night repeatedly to express his shock and anger at McCain’s choice of Palin. As a Democrat, he said, he’s thrilled because he thinks Palin’s a weak political choice. But as an American, he said, he felt it could not be any more reckless or dangerous to put Palin a heartbeat away from the Presidency, based not solely on her (lack of) experience, but the fact that she has allegedly only 1 meeting with McCain before he selected her. “I wouldn’t take someone to dinner, I’d just met once!” Begala decried.

Here’s more from Begala’s online assessment of the Palin choice:

“For months, the McCainiacs have said they will run on his judgment and experience. In his first presidential decision, John McCain has shown that he is willing to endanger his country, potentially leaving it in the hands of someone who simply has no business being a heartbeat away from the most powerful, complicated, difficult job in human history.”

When Begala worked for Clinton, people were surprised of his VP choice; Gore brought nothing “new” to the ticket. Begala says Clinton had four words to justify his choice: “Paulie, I might die.”

Is it overdramatic to bring the “death in office” factor into the voting equation? Many would argue “no,” in light of the fact that 8 presidents have died in while Commander in Chief. Add to that fact that McCain is a 4-time cancer survivor and that he will be the eldest non-incumbant candidate ever. (Then again, my grandfather repeatedly kicked Cancer and lived to 86. He wasn’t president, but he was my hero).

So, will the Palin choice have any real impact on the election? We’ll have to see, though the sense that I get is that a lot of Democratic female voters will see through this tactic when they learn about Palin’s conservative views on women’s choice, firearms, teaching creationism, etc. It may also turn out that Palin is an incredible President if she ever has to assume the role. That all said, this is a risky, risky choice that’s making a lot of people uncomfortable. Even/especially the Obama team, who just a night before had a larger TV audience for a 40-minute political speech than the Oscars and the American Idol finale.

In that sense, score one for McCain. But if Begala’s right, choosing this “hockey mom” to serve is like pulling the goalie for an extra offensive player on the ice.

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5 Responses

  1. Quite a few PUMA’s are thrilled with the pick.
    Then again, quite a few more standard republican-bearers are furious; I think, with good reason.

  2. God, I love it when you write.

  3. As a woman I have only one thing to say, this absolutely proves that McCain doesn’t get it!

  4. Now things are going to get interesting!

    I was all set to vote for a Democratic ticket (I’m a Libertarian) for the first time in my life. The GOP finally did something smart. We do need change, and frankly Obama would be good for this country but so is Palin. Either way, I give a damn about this election now.

    I don’t like big government, I believe in the right to bear arms, I am for net neutrality, and there is too much corruption in government. I am certainly not for McCain, but I am 200% behind Palin.

    Also, lets get over the experience issue. The lack of experience is a good thing for me. Obama and Palin are not as ingrained in the corruption of DC as Biden and McCain are. However, Obama is the top of the ticket, Palin isn’t!

    No matter what way we slice it, we won’t have another Bush, and that’s what really matters. Either way, the country does not lose.

    Mike: EXCELLENT article; your writing is fantastic.

  5. […] we here at thinPOP certainly got into the act…here and here and […]

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