The "death's door" argument
An email from a reader:
The Democrats' main line of attack against Palin is this: McCain is at death's door; he could go any minute; we don't want someone with limited experience having to step in. (Let's ignore the fact that the Democrats want to put someone with limited experience in the Oval Office right away).
Of course, this argument fails if one assumes (as everyone who plans to vote for McCain does) that McCain will not only serve out his first term but perhaps a second as well. In the meantime, Palin obviously grows in experience with every passing month and year.
Now then, what about the Democrat side of the coin? Everyone says: "Well, if something should happen to Obama, we've got good ol' Joe Biden waiting in the wings." (Let's ignore the fact that virtually no one wants Biden as President -- after all, he was utterly and overwhelmingly rejected by the Democrats themselves during the primaries).
But wait a minute. Biden is old, too: he will be 66 in November. And he has a history of life-threatening brain aneurysms. For all we know, he's more likely to keel over than McCain is!
And if that happens . . . then guess who becomes President? Nancy Pelosi. Yes, the facelifted but brain-dead Nancy Pelosi. So, if we're going to play the "death's door" game, the Democrats lose.
MCCAIN'S MAVERICK PICK
Comment by Jeff Jacoby
If it did nothing else, John McCain's choice of Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate instantly changed the subject from Barack Obama's dramatic acceptance speech in Denver the night before. But that wasn't all it accomplished. With one stroke, McCain defied convention, galvanized Republicans, and gave Hillary Clinton's legions another reason to consider crossing party lines in November: It is McCain, not Obama, who will be sharing a national ticket with a gutsy and accomplished woman. The Palin pick is a vivid illustration of why the label "maverick" is so often applied to McCain.
Those who have observed the 44-year-old governor up close speak highly of her political skills and personal appeal. She took on her own party's ethically challenged leadership and beat it handily, and has gone on to earn stratospherically high approval ratings for her own performance in office. Unlike Alaska's better-known politicians, she is a spending hawk and a committed porkbuster; notably, she pulled the plug on her state's notorious $400 million "bridge to nowhere."
Palin is about as far from a "Washington insider" as anyone in US politics can be -- a striking contrast to Obama's running mate, six-term Senator Joseph Biden. Her family story is thoroughly all-American, authentic, and charming: The former beauty contestant and self-described "hockey mom" is married to her high school sweetheart, with whom she has five kids, ranging from the 18-year-old in the Army to the infant with Down syndrome. And it certainly upends familiar stereotypes to have a national GOP candidate whose spouse belongs to the Steelworkers Union and races snowmobiles for fun. Nothing "community organizer" about this candidate.
Of course McCain is taking a big gamble. Palin has been governor for less than two years, has no foreign-policy or national-security experience, and has never been through the gauntlet of a national campaign. Whether she can hold her own on the stump and under the withering glare of the national media, we will all know soon enough. Many voters will understandably read McCain's choice as cynical, in part because he has made such an issue of Obama's limited record. But surely Palin's lack of expertise on defense and international issues makes *Obama's* inexperience all the more conspicuous. The Democratic nominee is as green and untested as McCain's new running mate. (Arguably even more so, since Obama has never been an executive.) There is, however, one key difference between them: She's not running for president....
For all the ink and bandwidth devoted to the Veepstakes, it is almost always the candidate at the top who seals the deal with the electorate -- or doesn't. Palin and Biden will enliven the nine weeks remaining until Nov. 4, but barring some extraordinary development or colossal blunder, they won't change the outcome. The race isn't about them. It is about Obama and McCain. It is between the uplifting but insubstantial charisma of the former and the battle-tested experience and judgment of the latter.
Bureaucratic parasites: "Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has been checking up on the attendance records of federal employees. And he doesn't like what he's found. Civil servants have been away from their jobs without permission much too often in recent years, Coburn says in a new report. Records from 17 federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service show that workers were absent without leave for 19.6 million hours between 2001 and 2007, the study found. That's the equivalent of 2.5 million missed days of work, or 316 employees skipping out for entire 30-year careers, says Coburn, the ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on federal financial management."
The Timing of Hurricane Gustav 'Just Demonstrates That God's on [the Democrats'] Side?: "We all say things we regret, and many of us speak in public places - like, say, an airplane coming back from the Democratic convention - without thinking how they would look captured on YouTube. Having said that, former DNC Chair Don Fowler would be wise to apologize for his giggling comments suggesting that the timing of Hurricane Gustav making landfall, and the potential it could hit New Orleans, "just demonstrates that God's on our side."
Crazy Prediction: "Picture this scenario... One month from now, the Palin pick has proven a bonanza for the McCain campaign. A large chunk of Hillary's 18 million voters have been won over. Conservatives are unified and energized, and the previously-undiscovered "Maxim magazine vote" is suddenly giving McCain large margins among young males. Joe Biden will disappear from the campaign trail, and we will later learn it was to see a doctor. A previously-undiscovered, vaguely ominous health issue will be discovered, and Biden will sadly announce that he cannot continue as Obama's running mate. With a sudden need for a new one, Obama will turn... to Hillary Clinton"
For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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