I just love it when Republicans have to overcome attacks they used to nail Democrats with.
Consider McCain’s VP pick Sarah Palin, who supported the “Bridge to Nowhere” before she opposed it. And who ran up a $20 million debt as mayor of a town smaller than Lamar. And believe it or not, the McCain camp actually plans to run an ad claiming she’s somehow more qualified for the job of President than Barack Obama. Huh?! To strain a metaphor, this pig is drowning in lipstick.
Obama communications director Robert Gibbs responded to the Palin “Alaska Maverick” ad on a DNC conference call this morning with the following quip, “Well, obviously I think the assertion is borderline ridiculous. Look, if executive experience is really important on the Republican side, maybe she should run for president and John McCain should run for vice president.” Tut-tut.
Bookies overseas have already placed the odds of Palin dropping from the ticket at roughly 8-1. And Mark Mellman, long-time Democratic strategist, had a great column in The Hill blasting McCain for blowing his “first ‘presidential’ decision.”
First and foremost, it underlines his rash and impetuous nature. Whatever her appeals, what kind of person offers the vice presidency to someone he met just once before? What kind of judgment does that reflect?
Did McCain know that the Republican president of Alaska’s state Senate, a woman who hails from Palin’s hometown of 8,000, would rush to tell the press, “She’s not prepared to be governor; how can she be prepared to be vice president or president?”
Did McCain’s intelligence-gathering operation realize Palin was embroiled in a scandal, with a special prosecutor’s report on her alleged abuse of power due just weeks, or perhaps days, before the November election?
Did McCain know she had campaigned for governor on a “Build the Bridge to Nowhere” platform before he touted her opposition to it as a prime reason for her selection?
Did McCain know that her state’s largest paper would question the choice, exclaiming, “it’s stunning that someone with so little national and international experience might be a heartbeat away from the presidency”; or that the state’s second-largest paper would conclude, “regardless of her charm and good intentions, Palin is not ready for the top job”?
Finally, as Mellman also points out, the Palin pick undermines McCain’s “maverick” moniker. After settling on Joe Lieberman as his running mate, McCain rolled over for the far-right wing of his party and brought on a woman who may singlehandedly bring down the entire campaign.
Then again, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Palin energizes the evangelical Republican base that might have stayed home in November with a McCain/Lieberman or Tom Ridge ticket. Maybe that “energiziation” outweighs the drawbacks, and maybe she’ll completely blow us all away with her speech tonight.
Or maybe not, and right now Palin still seems like a really weird pick to me.
Colorado Independent’s blog-i-nist (blogger-columnist) Jeff Bridges has worked in Democratic politics for the last 10 years, serving as communications director for two congressional races in Colorado and two governor’s races in the Deep South. Bridges also worked for Sen. Ken Salazar as a legislative assistant in D.C., and currently serves on the board of directors for New Era Colorado and the Colorado Conservation Voters.