August 29, 2008


The Palin Stunner (Chris Cillizza, 8/29/08,

John McCain's selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate is a stunning surprise almost certain to recalibrate the race heading into the fall election.

The McCain campaign had make little secret of the fact that they wanted to pick a woman as the Arizona senator's running mate, believing that the rift caused by the protracted primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton gave them an opportunity to pick up scads of disgruntled women. [...]

In choosing Palin, McCain also doubles down on the maverick argument; Palin is the face of reform in the Republican party nationally and is clearly not of Washington -- a key element of her biography given how negative voter sentiment toward the nation's capital is currently.

Palin is also strongly pro-life and well liked by conservatives of all stripes, and her selection will be greeted with a huge sign of relief among those within the Republican base who feared that McCain might pick a pro-choice candidate like Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) or former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge.

...consider that their lines of attack thus far are that the Governor is unqualified, which not only undercuts their own ticket but is sure to infuriate women and that the choice of Ms Palin represents a pander to the Right, which undercuts decades of Leftwing rigamarole about how conservatives hate women.

Her first appearance with Maverick had two especially impressive features: first her nods to Democrats like John Glenn and Geraldine Ferraro; and, second, her refutation of the Unicorn Rider's reactionary acceptance speech when she said a ship in harbor is safe, but that's not the purpose for which it was built.

Moreover, while Senator Obama talks about change but dodges townhalls, picks a Washington insider as his vp, and gives George McGovern's acceptance speech, Maverick comes out of the blocks with a woman vp from as far outside the Beltway as you can get.

-Stand By Your Woman (Karlyn Bowman 08.29.08, Forbes)

First, John McCain has changed the political conversation. If commentators waxed ecstatic about Obama last night, they will have to move on now. The Obama convention story is yesterday's news. A fresh face like Palin's and a photogenic family will dominate the headlines this weekend as the news coverage moves to Minneapolis.

And those headlines will generate GOP enthusiasm, a second factor that will be important in the fall. All spring and summer, the Democrats have been more enthusiastic about their nominee than the Republicans about theirs. Their excitement was palpable in Denver. The Palin pick will revive the Republicans and rally the conservative base that's been lukewarm about the top of the ticket. Republicans have a reason to be motivated, and they will go into their convention and into the election with a new energy.

In mid-August, Gallup looked at the gender gap among whites and found that McCain had a 20-point lead among non-Hispanic white men, but tied Obama among white females. A woman on the Republican ticket could move some women into the Republican column.

Third, the biography is boffo in political terms. Not only hers, but her husband's. Palin is a young governor with five children, one of whom is serving in the military. She is married to her high school sweetheart. She coached the basketball team. She comes across as one of us. Her husband is a card-carrying union member and outdoorsman.

Palin tough target for Obama to hit (Lisa Lerer and Tim Grieve, August 29, 2008, Politico)
John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate presents the Obama-Biden campaign with an unwelcome and unexpected challenge: How do you go after a 44-year-old mother of five without once alienating the female voters you’ve just spent the last week trying to win back?

The answer so far: Not very well.

Minutes after the McCain campaign confirmed that Palin would be the Republican’s VP pick, Obama spokesman Bill Burton dismissed the Alasaka governor as a lightweight.

McCain, he said, had put "the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency."

Almost immediately, the campaign seemed to reconsider its tough-guy approach.

Conservative Activists Praise Palin as McCain’s VP Pick (Susan Davis, 8/29/08, WSJ: Washington Wire)
John McCain’s selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate was praised by social and fiscal conservative activists today as a vice presidential candidate that will energize the conservative base, and perhaps appeal to Hillary Clinton supporters who have not warmed to Democratic nominee Barack Obama.

“This is the strongest pro-life team with the strongest pro-life platform in the history of the Republican Party,” said Ken Blackwell, chairman of the Coalition for a Conservative Majority. Palin, 44 years old, gave birth to a son in April with Down Syndrome, a factor that abortion opponents said gives her credibility and contrasts her against Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden who supports abortion rights. Both candidates are Catholic.

Palin, a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, is also popular among gun rights activists. Sandra Froman, who sits on the NRA Board of Directors, touted Palin as an “outstanding” selection and that gun rights activists would be “energized” with her on the ticket. McCain has a mixed record with the NRA, having supported policies they oppose, such as closing the so-called gun show loophole.

Transcript: TIME's interview with Sarah Palin (Jay Newton-Small, 8/29/08, TIME)
Time's Jay Newton Small interviewed Alaska Governor Sarah Palin by phone on Aug. 14, less than two weeks before her surprise selection as John McCain's running mate. [...]

What, on a real practical level here, the GOP has got to do, though, between now and the election, is to convince Americans that it is our energy policy that is best for our nation and the nation's future, that if we are to become energy independent and if we are to become a more secure nation then we had better start supplying our very, very hungry markets across the nation with American supplies of energy. And up here in Alaska we're sitting on billions of barrels of oil. We're sitting on hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of natural gas onshore and offshore. And it seems to be only the Republicans who understand that companies should be competing for the right to tap those resources, and get that energy source flowing into these hungry markets so that we will be less reliant on foreign sources of energy. In a volatile world, relying on foreign regimes that are not friendly to Americans, asking them to ramp up resource production for our benefit, that's nonsensical.

The GOP agenda to ramp up domestic supplies of energy is the only way that we are going to become energy independent, the only way that we are going to become a more secure nation. And I say this, of course, knowing the situation we are in right now — at war, not knowing what the plan is to ever end the war we are engaged in, understanding that Americans are seeking solutions and are seeking resolution in this war effort. So energy supplies and being able to produce and supply domestically is going to be a big part of that. And the GOP agenda is the right agenda in that respect, but the GOP is going to have to prove to Americans in following weeks that we can safely, responsibly and ethically develop these resources. That, of course, has been a problem for the GOP. And a problem up here in Alaska. We have state lawmakers serving time in prison right now... other lawmakers whom the FBI is probing right now... because they have been found, some, to be corrupt in oil and gas issues, having taken bribes. That does not bode well for the GOP. And that's gotta change.

What has been your crowning achievement in office so far?

We have protected our state sovereignty by taking on the big oil industry interests, making sure that there is not going to be any undue influence on the oil industry, that our state administration and our state lawmakers will be making the decisions we will be making... based on sound, solid, unbiased information, not being corrupted by, in the case that I'm speaking of now,[an] oil service company's undue influence that has corrupted some lawmakers. We have set in place ethics laws, overseeing agencies and offices to make sure that never happens again in Alaska. So that's something we're very proud of. And we have allowed measures to be put in place now where we can prove very, very sound and strict oversight of oil and gas development so that we can prove to the rest of the nation that we are ready, willing and we are able to safely develop our resources. So that Alaska can be contributers, we can be producers, so we don't have to be takers from federal government. but can be supplying the rest of the U.S. with American resources finally.

Gov. Sarah Palin: Midnight runs and caribou dinners: Coming Saturday Sept. 6 in the debut issue of WSJ. Magazine, a conversation with Gov. Sarah Palin about her unusual workout and fitness routine. Preview excerpt (JEN MURPHY, August 29, 2008 , WSJ Magazine)

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Posted by Orrin Judd at August 29, 2008 3:51 PM
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