Saturday, August 30, 2008

Real Change For America

McCain Palin--The Right Choice For America

The Maverick Presidential candidate earned his non-conformist stripes yesterday with a bold (albeit risky,) blockbuster, historic selection of an unknown, Governor of a small state as his Vice Presidential selection. Oh, did I mention she is a woman?

Republican Presidential candidate John McCain's choice of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin shocked the political punditry, experts in his own party and the Governor's own parents with his selection he announced yesterday before 15,000 boisterous supporters in Dayton, Ohio. And the last part of this description is probably the most important reason McCain chose the unknown Palin as his running mate. She has created instant excitement and interest in a campaign that would have been hard-pressed to capture anything short of the typical "Rich Old White Boys" country-club atmosphere at Monday's Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

In a presidential year where "Change" is unquestioningly favoring the Democrats, the Palin selection gives the McCain camp its' only real hope at victory. Any other mainstream selection such as the heir apparent Mitt Romney, another no-name Governor in Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, abortion rights supporter Tom Ridge or another Maverick pick such as close McCain ally Joe Lieberman would have sealed defeat on November 4. Yes, Palin is risky but so were these other mainstream choices that others pushed so hard to be included on the ticket. Republicans cannot affort to run another generic Presidential campaign with the same rich, old white men ticket and expect victory in November against the Obama-Biden ticket.

And despite what the respected, Pulitzer Prize award-winning Washington Post columnist and Fox News Contributor, Charles Krauthammer called "suicidal" yesterday, Sarah Palin's selection is hardly the death knell he suggests. Yes, the McCain camp should be commended for waking up and running a tactically brilliant campaign the past 6 or 7 weeks. Yes, their efforts kept this campaign effectively even through the Democratic convention when the Obama-Biden 'Change ticket should have been up 20 points or more. However, history has proven that however brilliant the McCain camp could be, in a "Change Election Year", change always wins over experience, i.e., George W. Bush in 2000, Bill Clinton in 1992, Jimmy Carter in 1976 and John F. Kennedy in 1960.

So with the perspective of 24 hours for this news to sink in, here is why Sarah Palin is the right choice and represents the best chance for Republican victory this year:

1. She is a young, fresh face that instantly injects interest, enthusiasm and excitement into the ticket and immediately gives the Republicans a new leader on the national stage for the future.
2. She is a "hockey mom" from a western state who represents traditional family values that the core Christian conservative base was so desperately demanding.
3. Her historic selection as the first woman V.P. selection from the Republican party effectively eliminates the "Change" mantra from the Obama-Biden ticket.
4. She gives the undecided woman "swing voters" (most of whom are undecided) who will ultimately decided this election a reason to consider a McCain-Palin ticket.

That's it. There are other minor issues but these four are the main reasons McCain ventured down the Maverick Highway for his selection.

The beauty and brilliance of this selection cannot be summed up any better than the vitriolic, immediate response from the Obama-Biden campaign which descibed Palin as "having zero foreign policy experience," criticized her position on abortion and said she would just continue the unpopular policies of President Bush.

Realizing their mistake attacking the first woman Republican V.P. candidate with a charge that more applicably fits their leader, calmer heads within the Obama-Biden campaign later issued an immediate about face congratulatory release. Obama himself even called the Governor directly to congratulate her. Obama brushed asided reporters questioning the harsh response by saying political campaigns often have "hair-trigger" responses to issues. Regardless of the conflicting messages, I'll take the first response as the one with the most relevance. Palin's selection scared the daylights out of the Obama disciples within his campaign because her presence just took their "Change" mantra off the table.

Of course, such a bold decision is not without risks. But let's examine the Democats', and their acolytes within the liberal press, main arguments against the Palin selection and the impact they will have on this election:

1. Her inexperience wipes away the McCain camps main challenge to Obama that his inexperience makes him unqualified to be President.
2. She is not qualified to deal with Foreign Affairs.
3. Joe Biden will eat her lunch at the upcoming V.P. Debate.
4. She is the Governor of a small state who is not used to the limelight of the national media and has the potential to wilt in front of the forthcoming onslaught.
5. Oh, did I mention that she has not even been on "Meet the Press." Seriously, this point was raised as a vote against.

The experience argument is a weak one simply because the Republican's chose to place their inexperienced candidate on the bottom of the ticket. John McCain is the Presidential candidate whose qualifications for President are unquestioned. In contrast, the Democrats have placed their inexperienced candidate on the top of their ticket. Big difference that the McCain camp will have little trouble deflecting.

There is no question that Sarah Palin is no heavyweight when it comes to Foreign Affairs outside of her expertise with energy and her efforts to open up the Alaskan Wilderness for drilling. However, how much impact will she have on shaping a McCain administrations' foreign affairs policy? Will she be charged with negotiating peace accords with North Korea, Iraq? Will she be asked to deal with Iran? Will she be asked to look into Vladimir Putin's eyes in the ongoing staredown over Georgia and breakaway territories? No. These duties will be handled elsewhere in the McCain administration by his much-anticipated and experienced Foreign Policy team. If Dan Quayle, an unknown Senator from Indiana, can be Vice President, then don't worry about Sarah Palin.

I am sure that Joe Biden is licking his chops at his opportunity to clean Palin's chops at the upcoming Vice Presidential debate. However, the fact that people are talking about Biden and his experience even further illustrates how unbalanced the Democratic ticket really is. Palin was 9-years old when Biden entered the Senate in 1973. He is a career-Washington "insider" who is on the wrong side of Palin on several key issues--abortion, taxes and big government. Can he really face a 44-year old "hockey mom" from a Western state and attack her as inexperienced because he represents the "Change" America needs? Based upon her first performance yesterday in Dayton, Palin will do just fine against Biden in a V.P. debate. Besides, when is the last time a V.P. debate had any impact on a Presidential election? Lloyd Bentsen's famous line "Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy," to Dan Quayle in 1988 was funny even to Republicans but had no affect on the election outcome.

Yes their are political risks throwing a relative lightweight political newbie into the teeth of a national Presidential election 67-days before election day. The 24/7 focus, three hour news cycle today demands much from our political candidates. In a world where every word, every look and every nuance is debated ad-nauseam, Sarah Palin is fair game to the viciousness of a partisan Presidential campaign. However, the same case can be made for the off-the-cuff, short-tempered Joe Biden who has put his foot in his mouth more times than he cares to remember under the national spotlight of presidential politics. He is just as susceptible to a major gaffe or embarrassment to Barack Obama as an inexperienced Sarah Palin is to John McCain.

The fact that Sarah Palin has not appeared on "Meet the Press" is symbolic of the Washington-insiders and mainstream media's overstated importance to the election of an American President. Who cares if Sarah Palin has never appeared on "Meet the Press?" She will have plenty of opportunities to make her case to the American voters over the next 67-days.

So there you have it. A bold, historic, risky choice of Sarah Palin has wiped the slate clean three days prior to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Her announcement effectively erased any "Halo effect" from the Obama acceptance speech on Thursday and removes the "Change" mantra from beneath the Obama-Biden campaign. Risky, yes. Necessary, absolutely.

Game on!

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