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Coming 'Round on Palin

Over at The Corner on National Review Online, Ramesh Ponnuru has re-evaluated his initial evaluation (Cold Water on Palin) of the choice of Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate. Nice to see him come 'round.

As for the cons: I did not foresee the way the experience issue would play out. I thought that picking Palin would reduce the salience of the experience question: Any time that Republicans brought it up, Democrats would use Palin to make Obama look experienced. I did not imagine that the Democrats would instead raise the salience of the issue by going on offense against Palin's inexperience, because it seemed to me such a foolish play. And I don't think it's worked out well for them.

Here's how I explained that very (and not uncommon) initial objection to friends and family at the time of the choice:

Look, McCain has been making the 'experience' argument strongly and undeniably successfully in comparison to Barack Obama. And he is still down several points in the polls. The experience quotient cannot be made any clearer or better than the head-to-head comparison. So why are you arguing that he needs a new horse only to go back to the same well he's already tapped dry?

I think Ramesh - who is one of the most intelligent people you will ever meet - and others like him clearly out-thought themselves here. It's not that complicated, and it's the simplicity of straight-forward common connection so many sense with her, even beyond the conservative base.

Life beyond Manhattan. It's not all double-wides and polyester curtains. And it's rarely as complicated as we at times try and analyze it being (myself included.) It certainly isn't nuanced. Two cents from here.


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Comments (10)

Nothing wrong with a double... (Below threshold)

Nothing wrong with a double wide.

However, there is something wrong with culture bigots who like to make mobile home jokes.

Well, Paul, you should know... (Below threshold)
Steve Schippert:

Well, Paul, you should know that I agree fully. It was sarcasm directed at those who think that way.

You should also know, in case you doubt my sincerity, that I lived in one as a teen. And that I grew up quite poor, save for one brief (and squandered) spell of relief.

Food stamps? Went to the store for my mother and used them. Government cheese? Not a euphemism here. At times it was a staple.

When I left the Marine Corps after 8 years (largely because single parents are a deployment drag on units and I did not want to be one), I found myself struggling to support my daughter and I in the mid-1990's on about $17,000 a year in southern California. But, now as an adult, I refused to apply for or use government assistance (ie food stamps, rent assistance, etc) for which I clearly qualified.

Principles had taken hold, and I viewed it as my conundrum to figure out, not your taxpayer burden to bear. And I figured it out in a country where I was free to pursue and do anything my imagination, dreams and developing skillsets desired. All while never looking down on those poor like I was, and (this is important) never with disdain towards those more accomplished than I. ('More fortunate' is often used here, but that suggests luck, and success is rarely luck - and sustained success is never luck.)

So, now that you (and everyone else) know entirely too much about my personal history and struggles, I hope at least you leave knowing that a cultural bigot I am not.

And that's about all I really want to talk about on this. Should be sufficient, I hope.

"I think Ramesh - who is on... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"I think Ramesh - who is one of the most intelligent people you will ever meet - and others like him clearly out-thought themselves here."

I don't know about 'out-thinking', as my impression was that just about every political pundit went for the obvious first (Palin's "inexperience") without thinking out the several ways this could all play out.

Oh, and quit giving the Obamassiah all that credit for his "experience".

<a href="http://joustthefac... (Below threshold)

As I wrote at my blog when the pick was made, I thought that picking Palin, rather than taking the inexperience card off the table, highlighted Obama's inexperience. That turned out to be even more true when the Democrats and media (but I repeat myself) attacked her for that inexperience.

Guess what? They're still doing it. And the lack of electoral votes in New Pennsylvania will continue to hurt Obama.

As I have posted before, Mc... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

As I have posted before, McCain's pick of Palin is a brilliant move similar, in a mental sense, to General Douglas MacArthur's Inchon landing. In one move, MacArthur broke North Korea's string of victories and put them on the run. Similarly, in one move, McCain broke Obama's rise in the poles and put him on the decline.

Those who questioned McCain's judgement in picking Palin have now given rise to questions about their own judgement for not seeing the brilliance of McCain's pick. Who do you want as President; someone with experience and war winning judgement, or someone with little experience and poor judgement? I think the choice is rather clear, well at least for those who want America to prosper.

I agree Steve. There is suc... (Below threshold)

I agree Steve. There is such a thing as "over thinking" an issue and lots of well respected conservative writers did just that.

Perot (whom I did not like) played this theme brilliantly in 1992. I can hear it now...

" Ya know Larry, when I see a snake, I don't form a committee to discuss snakes. I just kill the snake, Larry.

Steve, you may not wish to ... (Below threshold)
LiveFreeOrDie Author Profile Page:

Steve, you may not wish to talk about it, but I enjoyed reading it. Great story. You could make it longer and inspire if you ever felt like it.

Great country this is. Lets keep it that way.

I'm not convinced. <... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

I'm not convinced.

McCain & his camp decided to put an emphasis on the 'Maverick' label to combat Obama's Change. He did sacrifice the experience issue. Palin experience is fine for VP for this race. And her executive experience is more than McCain, Biden & Obama put together. But three times zero is still zero so that's not hard to do.

McCain could have added someone with magnitudes more executive experience than Palin, and experience in the issues we currently face.

Time will tell, but he did trade great position on one argument for better position in a different one. The concern I have is the experience issue is more quantifiable. The Change issue is subjective. Opinion and bias imprinted on stories from the media are more likely to sway the latter.

Aside from that issue, most of what we are seeing in the 'Wisdom of the Palin pick', is the result of the tailspin that Obama, the Obama Camp, and the entire Left has been put into.

If that tailspin could have been exploited by a debate, I'd say it was worth it. But, there's a relatively short lifespan to that tailspin. They'll right themselves before the election and probably before the first debate.

That tailspin has gotten bigger than anyone expected and caused more damage than I thought it would, but it will remain if any of that is permanent or if it will fade.

Here's what I think happene... (Below threshold)
dooz:

Here's what I think happened to a lot of pundits: It never crossed their minds that McCain might have made his pick on merit.

Starting right out on Friday morning, most were evaluating how the choice of Palin would play out tactically, how McCain choosing a woman might cut into the feminist vote, how choosing someone with her views on issues could win back the conservatives, etc.

And I think this is where Obama & Co. blew it immediately and big-time. They immediately attacked McCain for tokenism, and Palin for lack of qualifications. But by doing so, they showed how they would have chosen any woman--for identity politicking, and they highlighted Obama's lack of track record even as they admitted--nay, declared--that experience does count.

On the other hand, my reaction (as one of those "regular people" the Dems look out for [yet I still haven't received a ticket for the Streisand concert]) was, "Wow! He actually picked someone worth picking!" And I went from underwhelmed to extremely impressed, and downright enthused (for the first time in decades).

And I think that's how a lot of "regular people" saw it, totally to the consternation of the pundits (on both sides).

An afterthought on the Obama camp's reaction: Their attack on Palin for being small-town, "regular people" bit them back hard; they won't be sitting down for weeks.

Some people are going to see (at long last, I say) that the Democrats are not "regular people", but total elitist fat-cats. It was the "rich and rich-loving, Old Boys'-networked" Republicans who chose a woman, and a "regular person".

But way more important, I believe, is that McCain (and the Republicans) chose someone who has a real track record of reform, of real change (and BTW happens to be a woman and "regular people"). (And it's all the more striking in contrast to "change you can believe in" being illustrated by choosing a third-rate party hack for VP.)

Ramesh may be intelligent b... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

Ramesh may be intelligent but his real world experience is almost zero and he's done nothing but write his entire career. He's a hot house flower who constantly gets outside his background and experience when he writes about science, economics, the military and often national politics. This is yet another example of that.




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