Sarah Palin’s (and John McCain’s) Grand-Slam Home Run
Posted by Jim Walsh on Thursday, September 4, 2008
All but the most partisan Democrats could not help but be impressed by Sarah Palin’s speech before the Republican National Convention last night (Wednesday, 9/3/08). Even the talking heads among the MSM (including Keith Olberman) admitted her speech was impressive. Her speech had the right balance of humor, seriousness, defiance and inclusiveness.
The only person alive who still might not be impressed with her is Susan Reimer of the Baltimore Sun (quoting from her article of 9/1/08): “You want to look good to the evangelicals? Choose a running mate with a Down syndrome child.” “I don’t know what I’ll do if she trots out the story of her 5-month-old baby to shore up the Republican base.” Can you imagine the uproar that would have ensued if a conservative columnist had written something like that about a liberal Democrat with a special needs child? And liberals wonder why conservatives distrust the mainstream media.
But I digress. I think more and more that McCain’s selection of Palin was a stroke of genius. The teapot tempest over her 17-year-old daughter will be a forgotten footnote in this campaign in two weeks. In the meantime, as Mike Huckabee jokingly but accurately noted, she has managed to unite and energize the Republican Party.
I heard some talk-show Democrats opine that by selecting Palin, McCain has blown his use of the issue of experience over Obama. I strongly disagree, and here’s where I think the brilliance of her selection comes in. McCain had repeatedly tried to hammer Obama’s lack of experience, and frankly it didn’t seem that he was getting any traction with it. If McCain had selected a Washington insider to emphasize his experience even more, I doubt that he would have made any further headway; the McCain-Insider ticket would be dismissed as politics as usual. But by picking Sarah Palin, the Democrats and the media couldn’t help themselves from attacking her lack of experience. And what did that do? It brought the experience issue front and center. And who wins that argument, even now? The Republicans. In one of the most memorable lines from her speech, Palin pointed out that her experience as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska was like being a community organizer, except with responsibility. The Republican vice-presidential candidate still has (at least arguably) better experience than the Democratic presidential candidate. Brilliant!