Alaskan Speaker of the House Says Palin Qualified…Technically

Hands down, my favorite quote of the day. Not because I want to be crtical of Sarah Palin, but because this is a priceless verbatim. Top Alaskan Republican John Harris, the speaker of the House, when asked about her qualifications for VP, replied with this:

“She’s old enough. She’s a U.S. citizen.”


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.

Palin? Who’s that? Oh…Wow.

Senator John McCain pulled off a stunner pick yesterday as someone who was on NO ONE’s list to become the VP nominee. Sarah Palin 2-year governor of Alaska presents some powerful upsides, but a couple of potentially huge downsides. But there is one observation I can make about the choices of Senators Obama and McCain. In Obama’s choice of Senator Joe Biden, we saw a candidate trying to fill what voters saw as holes in his governing resume. In Senator McCain’s pick, we saw a candidate trying to fill what voters saw as holes in his political strategy. Ultimately, I don’t think voters pick a candidate based on the VP choice. But I think it’s a useful window into a candidate’s thinking.

So a few upsides of Alaska Governor Palin:

1. She sews up the base

She a gun-toting, hockey playing, anti-abortion super mom, who would drill through her own National Preserves if Uncle Sam would only let Exxon come north.  

2. She’s a woman

Sad but true, her simply being a woman gives McCain a bank shot at still-offended Hillary voters. Never mind that being a woman is basically the only thing Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin have in common, a woman she is, and it gives McCain a chance. 




3. She is media gold

Cindy McCain isn’t a very public person. You get the sense that the McCain family would rather not be in the limelight. The Obamas have dominated the so-called soft media set. An attractive female governor mother of 4 with a work-a-day husband certainly helps McCain on that front.

And now some downsides….

1. Who?

I don’t know about you but Alaska politics has never been too prominent in my mind. Governor Palin, presents a Washington Outsider to be sure, but as governor of a state with a population smaller than 1/4 of Brooklyn, her street cred isn’t necessarily high.

2. Ready to Lead?

Obama has been slammed over and over again for his lack of experience, especially on foreign policy. It was a staple of the McCain campaign. Many saw the VP choice of McCain as more important than Obama’s simply because of McCain’s age. At 72, he will be the oldest man to ever be elected to a first term. Things happen and so the VP needs to be someone that can take over at a moment’s notice. People will wonder if a two-year governor of a tiny (population-wise) state can run the country.

3. The token woman?

Ramesh Ponnuru of the National Review wrote:

Can anyone say with a straight face that Palin would have gotten picked if she were a man? 

That criticism is one you will curely never hear from team Obama. But none the less many voters are going to wonder if McCain simply found someone that hits all the right political triggers, not someone who could help run the country, or God forbid, take over the White House in an emergency. 

Bottom Line: It’s a risky and bold pick from the Maverick.

OMG: It’s Like Obama Drunk Texted Me at 3AM

The question of who will be awake and ready at 3AM in an emergency has been answered. It’s Barack Obama…and he’s text messaging more furiously than a valley girl with a bedazzled Sidekick.

Much was made of Senator Obama announcing his running mate via text message. And I’ll admit, I bought into it. I signed up because I wanted to be a part of it, both as an interested supporter and as a marketer curious as to how the campaign was going to leverage mobile technology to engage the voters. I have to say, I was disappointed on all counts.

I equate what happened to the girl who gives a fella her number and the guy says he’ll call her tomorrow. In this case, I’m the girl and Senator Obama is the slick dude who got me to let my guard down. I waited all day by my phone for the text message. I kept my phone on vibrate, even during a client presentation, because I was waiting for my candidate to reach out to me. To make me part of a special, collective, unifying community moment. And I hear nothing…all…day…long. It’s not until 3AM (3:19 on my cell phone records) that I get a text message. Does the Obama campaign think its followers are all ragers on the East coast? Did they think we were going to stay up all night waiting for his call?

Did Obama make the right call on Biden? I think so. I like Senator Biden a lot and found him to be a refreshing voice, if a dissenting one, during the Democratic debates. But this text announcement was a lost opportunity to get everyone all abuzz at once. To send people madly scrambling from their cells and PDAs online to spread the word. Which begs the question: If the Obama campaign was going to spread the world with half the world asleep, why bother? It’s like sending a marketing email on a Friday, when no one is going to pay any attention. Weak. Lame. Disappointing. A little hurtful even to those of us who were waiting on the other end of the line.

Assuming I had been awake, my reply would have gone a little something like,  “TTYL, B. Slpng.”

Obama Chooses Biden

Barack Obama has tapped Joe Biden to be his running mate. Looks like David Brooks and I both got our wish!

I’ve like Biden as a candidate for a long time, I am thrilled and shocked that Obama actually picked the guy I wanted take a look at this taken from a post back in our Policythought days….

However, once the dust clears and one of them is the definitive nominee the name under theirs on the ticket should be Senator Joe Biden. Senator Biden has demonstrated consistent cogent understanding on the war in Iraq and the history of the conflicts of the middle east. His proposal of a federalized system of governance was right before and it is right now as an effective way of building a future in Iraq that’s not “Stay for 100 years” and not “Get out in 60 Days.

Smart pick all around. Biden is a working class hero with incredible loyalty and intelligence. This pick gives Obama a balanced ticket.