Saturday was the day that newspaper editorial boards across the country had a chance to make their first assessment of Republican Presidential nominee John McCain’s choice of vice presidential running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
Besides being stunned at the announcement, many express serious concerns about her qualifications — and that includes many newspapers that are staunchly conservative. The two largest papers in Alaska, who know Palin that most of us (including John McCain, reportedly) the Anchorage Daily News and Fairbanks News-Miner, are in this group.
She has never publicly demonstrated the kind of interest, much less expertise, in federal issues and foreign affairs that should mark a candidate for the second-highest office in the land. Republicans rightfully have criticized the Democratic nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, for his lack of experience, but Palin is a neophyte in comparison; how will Republicans reconcile the criticism of Obama with the obligatory cheering for Palin?…Most people would acknowledge that, regardless of her charm and good intentions, Palin is not ready for the top job. McCain seems to have put his political interests ahead of the nation’s when he created the possibility that she might fill it. It’s clear that McCain picked Palin for reasons of image, not substance. – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
And it’s stunning that someone with so little national and international experience might be heartbeat away from the presidency. – Anchorage Daily News
But of course, here in Oklahoma, we have a paper run by that other kind of conservative Republican: so hardcore partisan, they can’t tell reality from spin. And, most important, not the least bit interested in actual governance. So their editorial, while actually hedging their reaction a bit (you just know they had columns already written with full-throated praise for McCain for selecting Romney or Pawlenty), was just another opportunity to slam the Democrats with thoughtless abandon and childish wit — their specialty.
McCain throws a curve with Palin
THE wisdom of Sen. John McCain’s selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as running mate — dousing the afterglow of Democratic nominee Barack Obama’s blockbuster speech in Denver — certainly has short-term benefits. The long-term verdict is still out.
No question, the McCain campaign played a tactical ace in presenting Palin to America so soon after Democrats broke camp at their convention. As expected, Obama gave a great speech, but Palin’s debut quickly dominated news coverage.
Her resume is thin, just two years into her first term. But Obama is hardly the one to criticize someone else’s experience. Palin is the only member of either ticket to be in charge of actually running something.
Palin’s value is in potential ties to so many critical constituencies, starting with women. She signals McCain believes women of middle-class, bluecollar and suburban households, many of whom voted for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, might be attracted by someone so much like them.
Palin is the mother of five and started in politics at the local PTA. Her husband is a member of the steelworkers’ union. It’s easy to see Republicans sending the hockey mom anywhere hockey is played but especially Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, all key to the election.
The risk in Palin basically is one evening this fall, when she meets Sen. Joe Biden in the lone vice presidential debate. If Biden makes her look small, her value to McCain will be small as well.
With high risk comes high reward — clearly the calculus McCain used in choosing his running mate.
The claim that “Palin is the only member of either ticket to be in charge of actually running something[,]” is laughable, seeing as how Obama has organized a historic campaign and movement that toppled the Democratic Party’s presumed candidate, who was supported by almost all the Party operatives and apparatus. If that doesn’t show executive skill, I don’t know what does.
But I think we could learn a lot about the rabid Right’s thought process (if you want to call it that) by seeing the Oklahoman editorial board’s pre-written and now unpublishable sceeds about the McCain-Romney and McCain-Romney tickets and all the wonders they would do for America. Ah, what might have been…
[apparently the link to the editorial at NewsOk.com is not available as of this writing. I guess the webmaster has Saturday off — although every other major daily paper in the nation seems to have managed to get their text online. ]