When I heard about John McCain’s vice presidential pick, I smiled. I thought he was handing the Democrats the presidency on a golden plate. But as the week progressed and the polls came out, I was surprised to see that Sarah Palin is gaining ground with Republicans.
I suppose the initial wave of support she is riding is fueled both by her speech at the Republican convention and the subtle victimization she plays out so well. Why have a candidate with an actual resume when you can put your arm around your pregnant teenage daughter and look like a long-suffering everywoman?
It’s obvious that McCain is trying to court Clinton voters with this pick, but it leaves one to wonder how that will be accomplished. Clinton voters were typically older women who support equal rights and opportunities for their gender. Palin believes that abortion is wrong under any circumstances and wants it banned.
How McCain thinks Clinton voters would reconcile themselves to this woman whose values differ so fundamentally from their own is astounding. Not only does it show a complete denial of reality and a lack of judgment, but he is also isolating women voters by picking a person who claims such an extreme view of women’s rights.
Palin is no Clinton, so forget having any kind of national experience. In fact, forget experience in a state that actually has a connection to everyday politics. If you’re ever running for president, pick a mayor of a town of 9,000 and fly by the seat of your pants to November.
In a way, though, I can see the logic of his pick. John McCain, whose public speaking leaves much to be desired, made the best possible selection in terms of who could throw down a good rant.
Democrats are used to being dazzled by savvy speeches. They’ve been listening to them for nineteen months. But toss in a dynamic performance next to the perpetually stiff and unapproachable McCain and you have a sight that Republicans haven’t seen in years – stage presence.
The convention only emphasized this. Mitt Romney, the former favorite, said all the right words, but lacked the magic. And forget the strategic placement of party turncoat Joe Lieberman. Palin, as much as I hate to say it, looked like a Reagan in heels.
We all know that the purpose of the vice president isn’t to preside over the Senate or to travel abroad, and Palin performs her task very well. She gets her hands dirty with smear campaigns and attacks on the party while McCain transcends the fray and raises the mantle of new politics.
But did he pick the right candidate to take his place in the semi-likely event of his death? No, but what he did pick was an attack dog who, when placed next to McCain, makes him look almost natural. And in the end, it’s what’s on the outside that matters.
Libby Davis is a sophomore news editorial journalism and history major from Coppell.