Forgetting Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin. As much as I can’t stand her it’s time to move on. Despite racking up a $20 million debt as Mayor of Wasilla, despite supporting the bridge to nowhere before she opposed it, despite “clinging” to her family values while leaving a 5-month-old and pregnant 17-year-old to go campaign for a few months, unless the story about her firing of the state’s Public Safety Commissioner blows up (which it very well could), the Sarah Palin pick has already made all the difference it will make in this election.

She’s done the job McCain picked her to do. She energized evangelicals and closed the “enthusiasm gap.” James Dobson now supports the ticket and over 10,000 people came to their rally yesterday in Colorado Springs. McCain didn’t pick Palin after only one conversation because he just somehow knew she’d make a great Vice President — or President should the worst occur. He picked her for political reasons and it worked.

Palin has also unified the Democratic party in a way that the convention here in Denver never could. I have no poll to prove this, but from a few conversations I’ve had the Palin pick straight up offends former Hillary Clinton supporters. It’s not like they just wanted an extra X chromosome on the ticket, Hillary’s supporters respected her policy positions, values, and experience. As a conservative Republican, Palin has none of those qualities in common with Clinton.

As for the experience argument, McCain kind of shot himself in the foot with that one, but it didn’t work for Hillary and probably wouldn’t have worked for him anyway. Is McCain a hypocrite for picking such an inexperienced person for VP? Sure, but the more Democrats talk about Palin’s lack of experience disqualifying her for the position, the more people will wonder about Obama’s lack of experience. Better to let that one go, and fight the campaign on the frame Obama created and McCain has now joined: change.

Finally, even if Democrats succeed in convincing the American people to hate Palin, what does that accomplish? George Bush didn’t lose because of Dan Quayle, and Bill Clinton didn’t win because of Al Gore. Does anyone actually think that Kemp whoever-he-is guy had an impact on Bob Dole’s race? That Darth Vader Dick Cheney won it for GW? Without Wikipedia I’d have no idea who FDR even had on the ticket before Truman (John N. Garner and Henry A. Wallace, in case you were wondering), and as far as I understand it Harry Truman didn’t have much of an impact on that election, either. (Though that does bring up the very scary possibility that Palin could become President. *shudder*)

It’s time for Democrats to stop talking about why Sarah Palin shouldn’t be president and start talking again about why Barack Obama should be — and how John McCain, whatever his rhetoric, has voted with President Bush 90% of the time and we can’t take a 10% chance on change.

Read Jeff’s latest commentaries.

Colorado Independent’s blogumnist (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 as a legislative assistant in Washington, D.C., with a focus on military and small business issues.

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