Dover Bitch

Friday, August 29, 2008

Go long

(Cross-posted at Hullabaloo)

Like most of America, I can't say I know much about Sarah Palin. But here's a few instant (yes, you could say knee-jerk) reactions to today's news that she's on the ticket with John McCain.

  • McCain has definitely concluded that he wasn't going to win without doing something dramatic. Just like his surge in Iraq, McCain has decided to "Go long."

  • McCain got what he wanted and needed the most: Nobody is talking about the magnificent speech Barack Obama gave last night.

  • John "never surrender" McCain just gave up on trying to attack Obama's experience. It was a calculation he was willing to make. Interesting.

  • Palin is already benefiting from extremely low expectations. Really can't get much lower than a complete unknown. Biden will have to realize that winning a debate against her is pointless. He will need to share a stage with her, but win a debate against McCain.

  • Palin has already started blowing the dogwhistles:

    Now, no one expects us to agree on everything, whether in Juneau or in Washington. But we are expected to govern with integrity, and goodwill, and clear convictions, and a servant's heart.

  • She said Nook-yoo-ler.

  • Whether this pick is just another gimmick in a long line of McCain's gimmicks, it is striking to me that a man who told America that Obama is a big risk in an uncertain world has chosen a running mate who said this in her introduction:

    If our state wanted a bridge, I said we'd build it ourselves. Well, it's always, though, safer in politics to avoid risk, to just kind of go along with the status quo. But I didn't get into government to do the safe and easy things. A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not why the ship is built.

    It's been noted that McCain likes to roll the dice. He is now asking America not just to gamble on an unknown, but to gamble on a pair of gamblers.

  • Palin has an interesting personal story and in our superficial national discourse, that will be a plus for her. As much of a dull blade as Rep. Eric Cantor can be, I was actually worried that he would be the surprise pick. I'm less worried about Palin, but going with somebody other than Mitt or Lieberman was a good move.

  • I think we're going to see a lot more of Hillary Clinton over the next two months than I thought yesterday.

  • The fact that there are only a couple months before the election might help Palin quite a bit. Everybody knew Arnold Schwarzenegger already, but his initial victory in California was facilitated by the extremely short campaign allowed by the special election. There's less time for something really embarrassing to happen.

  • The vice presidential selection is not as important as everybody will make it out to be today. (UPDATE: As was pointed out in comments, in the case of McCain's age, it is a big deal. Good point. Damn, knee-jerk reactions.)

  • Even though Palin comes with a scandal in progress, I wonder if the Obama camp will get drawn into making a big deal about it. I think it will help blunt her claims to be a big reformer, but as I wrote above, the person they really need to defeat is John McCain.

    UPDATE: That didn't take long. Palin's big reformer talking point is already falling apart. Really, really falling apart.

    We've already heard all the great things that we're going to hear about Palin. Everything from here on out is going to be stuff they didn't want to talk about. This could get good.

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