Palin a drag on McCain, going rogue & planning for 2012
Filed under: politics | Tags: 2008 presidential election, Alaska, Barack Obama, Colin Powell, GOP, John McCain, Ken Adelman, Palin going rogue, Pennsylvania, pro-life Republicans, Republican Party, Sarah Palin, social conservatism, social conservatives, Tom Ridge, vice president |
This blog’s criticisms of Sarah Palin as a Vice Presidential candidate are well-known to its readers,so I won’t swell the record here with those points again. For them, see here, here, and here. Suffice it to say, her selection by McCain played a role in the decisions of a number of conservatives who have endorsed Obama, myself included—and add Reagan advisor Ken Adelman to the list too—along with decisions by many other solid Republicans who won’t be supporting the GOP ticket, including my Congressman and Colin Powell. Her addition to the ticket was pretty clearly a cynically executed political maneuver by John McCain, not one that put country first.
Now he appears to be paying the price for the decision. A recent poll shows that voter’s biggest concern with the Republican ticket is Palin’s perceived lack of qualifications. Another poll indicates that 59% of voters think that she is not qualified to be Vice President. If accurate, then at most 41% of Americans think that she is qualified (it’s probably lower due to respondants who gave no opinion). That indicates to me that probably almost everyone who’s not voting for McCain finds her unqualified.
Now, with McCain’s slim chances of pulling off a victory declining each day, one of his campaign aides has said that Palin is “going rogue.” She has been critisizing McCain’s campaign, saying they should have kept competing in Michigan and should stop using “irritating” robocalls to reach voters, even as the campaign was defending their use. A second campaign insider said that Palin seemed to be looking out for her own interests more than those of the campaign.
She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone. … She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else. Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom.
Possibly the words of displaced insiders on a campaign that’s behind big with just days to go. There is a history of tension between the #1 and #2 people on a ticket and their respective staffs.
But these are also possibly real insights from people who are positioned to know what’s going on behind the scenes. Palin does appear to be positioning herself for a run in 2012 “if” she and McCain don’t win on Tuesday; when asked if she’d just return to Alaska if Obama wins she said “Absolutely not. I think that if I were to give up and wave a white flag of surrender against some of the political shots that we’ve taken … I’m not doing this for naught.” She has also publicly broken with McCain over a federal marriage amendment, something that McCain opposes (he wants states to decide) but that Palin’s most likely constituency, social conservatives, absolutely love. These are not things that garner the type of attention that a guy needing a huge upset, come-from-behind victory needs to have in the week before the election.
She is clearly now a liability, not the asset she seemed to be in the days after her selection. A number of sources are now speculating about what might have been if McCain had selected another running mate. The guy that I would have liked to see, Tom Ridge, recently said in an interview that “I think the dynamics would be different in Pennsylvania [if I were the Vice Presidential nominee]. … I think we’d be foolish not to admit it publicly.” Ridge, the campaign’s national co-chairman, admitted that McCain “had several good choices and I was one of them.” (He later backpedaled saying he was “taken out of context” and that “Governor Palin will make a great Vice President” and, oh yeah, they’re going to win Pennsylvania too.)
Ridge was a popular Governor of Pennsylvania and has at least twenty times as much experience as Palin, most of it “executive experience.” McCain would be extremely competetive in Pennsylvania (21 electoral votes) right now if he’d picked Ridge, and would probably be ahead in Florida (27 votes) and Ohio (20 votes) as well. The biggest reason that he wasn’t picked is that social conservatives in the party would probably have objected to someone who is pro-choice being on the ticket.
I hereby propose an amnesty for any and all conservatives and Republicans who have previously endorsed or supported Sarah Palin’s selection as the GOP vice presidential nominee. Simply admit that she is, after further consideration, not the best possible pick and that you wish that McCain had selected someone else. Do this by midnight Monday and no questions will be asked. This doesn’t even require you to vote against McCain, just admit that Palin is not helping the ticket and shouldn’t have been selected. You can do so in a reply to this post if you’d like. And, whoever wins on Tuesday, let’s try to pull back together to keep our party from getting screwed up for next time, okay?