It Could Have Been Worse

Word is that McCain had wanted to choose Joe Lieberman as his running mate, and the GOP Powers That Be wouldn’t have it, because Lieberman supports abortion rights. So the “maverick” caved and chose someone else.

I think Lieberman would have been a much more dangerous choice for us than Palin will turn out to be. Joe may be persona non grata on the Left, but I think most people who are not politics nerds, which are most people, don’t understand why us lefties don’t like him. They see him as a moderate bipartisan who talks about Gawd a lot. The choice would have assured people that McCain intends to break with the extremist body of the GOP.

And the Dems sure as hell couldn’t have said he isn’t qualified to be veep.

The next question is, how carefully was Palin vetted? She wasn’t a complete surprise, as I’ve seen her name mentioned a few times in the past several weeks as a possible veep pick. The McCain campaign claims she was well and thoroughly vetted. Josh Marshall has reason to doubt this.

Oliver Willis calls it, I believe:

Increasingly, I’m beginning to believe the Palin pick is the latest manifestation of John McCain’s impulse control problem, a thread going through his entire life – from cheating on his first wife with Cindy McCain, advocating for war with Iraq right after 9/11, chanting “bomb Iran”, as well as his numerous flashes of rage both physical and verbal against his congressional colleagues. As Paul Begala notes, McCain picked someone who isn’t up to the job in a way that would endanger us all – and all based on what his ego is feeling at the moment.

There is speculation that Palin will end up being the GOP’s Thomas Eagleton and will be replaced on the ticket before November. I wouldn’t count on that. I think the true believers on the Right will support her and believe her to be an asset to the ticket no matter what happens between now and November.

But that’s OK. Obama will never win those votes, anyway. The real question is, how will independent voters perceive her? Those are the votes Obama needs. And I’m not much worried. As I said, Lieberman would have been much more dangerous.

On the minus side — I understand President Bush will not be attending the RNC convention because of Hurricane Gustav, which disappoints me terribly. But you know how our president likes to take charge and stay on top of things during hurricanes. In fact, McCain questioned whether the convention would be held at all.

“I’m afraid … that we may have to look at that situation and we’ll try to monitor it,” he told Fox News. “But you know it just wouldn’t be appropriate to have a festive occasion while a near-tragedy or a terrible challenge is presented in the form of a natural disaster. So we’re monitoring it from day to day and I’m saying a few prayers too.”

Yep; wouldn’t be appropriate. Not at all.

14 thoughts on “It Could Have Been Worse

  1. I totally agree about the danger if he picked Lieberman. All this talk about a fundie revolt–what are they going to do? Run Roy Moore? Hardly. Stay home? And let the Antichrist win? And all their bitching would just make McCain look moderate by comparison.

    The Palin pick is extraordinarily good for the Democrats, and doubly so if Troopergate causes him to ditch her.

  2. A governor with a 80% approval rating while 87% of Alaskans are positive that she’s lying about her hand in having or trying to have her ex brother-in-law fired. Governor Palin appears to be very well-spoken, an advocate of political reform and yes a self-described hockey mom. But she’s also a blatant liar who didn’t think her plan to attempt to cover up her oldest daughter’s pregnancy would ever come back to haunt her.

  3. …it just wouldn’t be appropriate to have a festive occasion while a near-tragedy or a terrible challenge is presented…

    I have to agree with that, but since when have Republican conventions been “festive occasions”? They’ve been getting steadily scarier since 1980.

    Re: pregnancy story, going anywhere near that one is a loser for our side. Fake or not, it’s a minefield and unnecessary in the face of Palin’s other liabilities like her all-too-Republican ideas of executive power and privilege.

  4. Agree with you that we’re lucky he didn’t choose Lieberman. This excerpt from Digby – who grew up in Alaska and has family there, is illuminating:

    “…Here’s the most interesting thing: my brother in law and his girlfriend, both teachers, card carrying NPR listening, Riverdance loving, Jim Lehrer watching diehard liberals …. quite like the woman. They don’t like her social conservatism, but it’s so prevalent in Alaska that they hardly notice it. What they like is that she took out Frank Murkowski, cancelled his secret backroom deals, sold the Governor’s private jet and told the oil companies to wait in line. They like that she is giving checks from the surplus to every Alaskan to help pay for the astronomically rising costs of heating oil up there. They see her as a down-to-earth, post-partisan problem solver. Others may as well.

    “And obviously, she’s a huge hit with the religious right. They know a genuflection when they see one and are very pleased that McCain showed them the proper respect by picking not just a social conservative, but a full blown creationist fundamentalist. They will enthusiastically vote for her and feel good about being “feminists” when they do it. (The media will likely have “learned their lesson” from the trashing they gave Hillary Clinton and will be much more careful this time. Nice how that works for the Republicans.)

    “So, I wouldn’t be too smug about Palin. She’s got something about her that the people who know her really like. She has an 85% approval rating up there, which includes quite a few liberals. Her western state appeal is an amalgam of right wing populism and libertarianism, something that shouldn’t be discounted among swing voters who might also find her to be an attractive working mom who manages to run the state while taking care of her snowmobile champion husband (Arctic NASCAR) and their five kids. (A politically incorrect friend of mine in Alaska called the ticket “The Maverick and the MILF” and it may work better than we think.)

    “Palin is so unknown that something even more significant than “troopergate” may yet emerge. Alaskan politicians are all just one degree of separation from each other and the big money oil interests that fuel the state. Who knows what could come out? But I would not assume that her inexperience or her small state background will work against the ticket. It could play well in the western states, a couple of which are necessary for the Democrats to win in the fall.

    “She’s obviously a disaster from my perspective — her extreme social conservatism is an immediate disqualifier for any office, much less the vice presidency. But I really hope the Obama campaign does not take to heart some of the “advice” it’s getting about going after Palin with snappy slogans over her picture that say “this is what McCain thinks is ready to lead?”

  5. Maha, I agree that the daughter pregnancy story is thin. But it does explain why an over-40 mother to be (I understand these are generally considered to be high risk pregnancies) of a downs syndrome child (I understand that these are also considered high risk, as some 50% are born with heart defects) would choose to finish a speech then fly from Texas to Alaska to have the child. If it wasn’t to claim motherhood of a child born in Alaska while she’s in Texas, then it shows very poor judgement toward the health of the unborn child.

    On a related note (and I know I’m off topic here), every story I read about the baby’s birth say that she knew it had downs (so she had genetic testing – something you generally do as part of the process of choosing to have the baby at all), then “chose” to have the child anyway. I keep seeing that word, chose, in every one of these stories. She made an informed choice to go ahead with the birth, a choice that she would deny to all other women.

  6. The real question is, how will independent voters perceive her?
    Shouldn’t the real question be how will independent voters perceive McCain for picking her? She’s a pawn put into play for identity politics She also strongly represents pandering to the Evangelicals and disgruntled Hillary supporters. My feeling is that McCain just reduced the contest down to raw numbers where stupid voters vs. informed thinking voters will be the criteria for wining. Stupid might normally have the advantage, but facts on the ground, and at the gas pump, and in the White House have altered that reality.

    One powerful indicator is that 40 million people tuned in to watch the Democratic National Convention (primarily to hear Obama?). That represents a staggering amount of participation in the political process that one could assume is receptive to Obama’s message of real change.

  7. Dave and Roschelle–

    You have to drop this pregnancy thing. Now. If this gets into circulation, the blowback will be incredible. The blogosphere will be knocked out of the conversation for the duration of the election. Just stop.

    And this has no more than a miniscule chance of being true: a woman of Palin’s age is hundreds of times more likely to give birth to a Down Syndrome baby than a woman of her daughter’s age. The photographic ‘evidence’ is really weak against numbers like that.

  8. Yup; Joe-mentum was evidently personally vetoed by Karl Rove, on grounds of being Jewish pro-choice. Joe would have been much more popular among the independents and possible Reagan-Dem crossovers; Sarah is purely a play to hold the far-right base in line.

    Meanwhile, Dubya and Darth bailed on the RNC in St. Paul… fascinating, as to just who is panicking over the last second audible,,,

  9. I’m very glad that the theocrats in the GOP rejected Lieberman. He would indeed have been more of a threat than Palin. There’s the whole ‘post-partisan’ spin, plus he’s known, and, given his previous nomination, you can’t dispute his qualifications for the office. I don’t know where Palin stands viz Israel, but she certainly can’t be as strong for it as joltin’ Joe.

    I find it interesting that part of the reason she is well liked in Alaska, if indeed she is, has to do with her ‘acting like a Democrat.’ That is, she kicked out a Republican scumbag, supported a windfall profits tax on oil companies and gave lots of money from that to just plain folks. Because of the weird environment of the Alaskan economy and political scene, Republicans there end up doing things that would be decried as extreme socialism if they were suggested in DC.

    I’ll give $50 to the first reporter who asks “Governor Palin, as part of your campaign for offshore drilling, would you suggest the Federal government enact a yearly royalty payout to each citizen, like you have in Alaska?”

  10. I don’t know where Palin stands viz Israel, but she certainly can’t be as strong for it as joltin’ Joe.

    Palin could be worse, she could be as bad a John Hagee, Palin is an Assembly of God believer…If she is true to the teaching of that denomination…Then Israel is sacred, and can do no wrong. There is no distinction between spiritual Israel of the bible, and the modern day country of Israel in the minds of Assembly of God believers..The State of Israel today is considered the fufillment of Jehovah’s promise to Abraham, and therefore it is untouchable.

  11. Never mind about the pregnancy story, this is far bigger – Palin is connected with a dominionist church which is in turn connected with Joel’s army, an extremist heavily-armed group of fundies who support violent imposition of theocracy.

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