Thursday, October 09, 2008

Election ‘08

A great deal has happened since we here at Browneph endorsed Senator Barack Obama. It’s about time I revisit the race to the White House and talk a little bit about what is happening.

I, for one, hate talking politics, particularly when the political race becomes infused with charges of racism. Discussing politics this election season has become akin to discussing hip-hop music, a genre I’m getting too wise to enjoy in public let alone discuss in the company of people I don’t know intimately. And arguing for one candidate over another is like arguing for the primacy of one religion over another. In the end, you win few converts unless your tactics are baseless or are based on unverifiable but logically sound claims of the superiority of your religion.

So for the moment, let’s set aside the guilt by association tactics of late. Let us briefly table the heartbeat away from the presidency allusions and talk a little bit about something I think no one seems to be discussing; how did Gov. Sarah Palin manage to suck the momentum out of the McCain ticket?

Gov. Palin seemed, to me, to be one an intelligent vice presidential selection for Sen. McCain. She was fresh and this new appeal managed to galvanize the Republican base in a way that ensured this would be a strongly contested race. All she had to do was appear in control and embrace her “I’m a Washington outsider” appeal.

Imagine, if you can, a Charles Gibson and Katie Couric interview that wasn’t disastrous. Those interviews were so devastating for the McCain campaign that right leaning political pundits were scrambling to conceive of a favorable context to put it in. It was a field day (or week) for left leaning pundits, some of whom took the interviews as comedic and others who were furious with it’s implications. Among the latter was CNN’s Jack Cafferty who called Gov. Palin's performance “pathetic.”

The Vice Presidential debate could have provided the Democratic ticket the opportunity to put the nail in the coffin, but a different Sarah Palin showed up; the Sarah Palin who we saw was, for better or worse, the Governor we should have been introduced to from the very beginning.

I’m of the opinion that the economic crisis added fuel to the Palin-sparked campaign fire that Sen. McCain was desperately trying to put out. Had it not been for the Himalayan blunder of Gov. Palin’s interviews, Sen. McCain might have had a good foot to stand on when the economy took a turn for the worse.

It will certainly be interesting to see if his campaign can manage an October rally before it's too late.

1 comment:

Brother Spotless said...

To use a sport analogy, Palin reminds me of a 2nd string quarterback who replaced the starter and was initially very successful (started with a 5-0 record; 10 TDs/1 INT). However, come playoff time, it's clear why the QB was not a starter at the beginning of the season (threw 3 INTs and zero TDs in a loss).

Palin came out of no where and originally set the political stage on fire. She rallied the base, threatened to attract many of Clinton's supporters, and her presence really had Obama and the rest of the Dems on their heels.

However, like a 2nd string QB, as time went on the opposition figured her out. It's not that she isn't smart, she's just not ready for the level of scrutiny that exists on the national stage.

For instance: in Alaska, she doesn't have to know the specifics concerning the US/Pakistan relationship; now she does. That's akin to a QB who never had to read an NFL-level defense in college, and therefore got away with only looking at 1 WR at a time. He continues this, and after awhile, defenses just watch the QB's eyes and go where he's looking.

I bring this up b/c it's not fair to blame the 2nd string QB for the playoff loss, especially when he's the only reason the team reached the playoffs.

Similarly here, Palin is the only reason this race is close. Before announcing Palin as his VP choice, not only did McCain have zero momentum, he also lacked GOP support. Palin brought him the GOP. Now she's throwing INTs all over the field, which sucks, but they knew she was 2nd string from jump. Can't blame her now for being exactly what she always has been...