Saturday, September 6, 2008

Getting Palin wrong

I've been catching up on stuff in my personal life over the last couple of days, so I haven't been blogging. But there is so much going on that requires attention.

I have to admit that I completely underestimated Sarah Palin as a potential vice president. When I read her bio a couple of months ago, I dismissed her as a lightweight - one and a half years as governor? Mayor of a small town? Of course, I was very much aware that Barack Obama has a thin resume, as well, but at least he is a US Senator.

What I didn't get was the thirst among the religious right for a leader. Totally missed that. I assumed that they considered George W. Bush one of their own. Apparently either that isn't enough, or they want another president like him, or they are disappointed in him, just like the rest of the country.

I also didn't think McCain would choose her. I didn't think he had any good choices, but I figured he would go with the least worst, which I figure was Romney. Wrong on that one.

One of my first reactions to the Palin choice is that McCain is going to lose a chunk of the professional class, and many of those he loses will be Republicans. By that I mean doctors, lawyers, real estate agents, stockbrokers, etc. My guess is that many of those people understand and respect Obama, because they've been to grad school, and they appreciate the importance of a great education. Many have faced the same choice he and Michelle did: climb the corporate ladder, or work to change the world?

For many of those people, the contrast with Palin will be strong, and will only get stronger. They will pay attention when she makes a mistake about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The first impression that Sarah Palin made was impressive, and many conservatives were fired up because of it. But many people will be reserving judgment, and listening carefully. Because she's so new to the national scene, many people do not have an opinion of her yet.

Of course, people vote for the president more than the vice president. McCain's age, however, makes the issue of his vice president a key one. It's also significant because if McCain wins, and serves out this term but retires after only one term, Palin will be the front runner for president. If McCain serves two terms, she'll be in that much of a better position. Even if McCain loses, she'll be a front runner for 2012. Unless she loses her next election for governor.

So voting for John McCain this time around is voting for Sarah Palin as a leader of the Republican Party for years to come. As that realization sinks in, more and more people will start to wonder not only about her qualifications to be president, but about John McCain's judgment in choosing her.

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