Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin: An interesting choice

The reactions to McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his VP nominee break into two camps:

The Democratic Camp: She's less experienced that Obama, and she's a hard core conservative that won't attract women.

The Republican Camp: She's a solid conservative that excites the base, and has the reformist credentials to out change Obama (and hence, will attract independents). And she'll attract disaffected woman upset with Obama's perceived slight of Hillary because he didn't even vet her for the VP slot.

Today's Washington Post had a number of pundits from both sides weighing in on Palin's nomination. Democratic pollster and author Douglas E. Schoen wrote the following: "An ardently pro-life, anti-gay rights woman is unlikely to appeal to whatever is left of Hillary Clinton's heretofore disaffected constituency after the Democrats' show of unity this week."

Schoen would be right on, but that's not the constituency McCain is trying to reach with Palin. Last year, in the months before the Iowa caucus, I read that Hillary Clinton's campaign was particularly focused on older women--especially those who were over the age of 65. The hope was, as it was expressed in several news outlets, that these women--who do NOT normally participate in the caucus process or vote Democratic in that process--might be convinced with the historic nature of the Clinton campaign to participate in the hopes of seeing the ultimate glass ceiling broken.

Well, those women were activated and many of them were activated for the sole purpose of voting for a woman on the national ticket. These newly activated woman are the ones that McCain hopes to reach with Palin. And these are EXACTLY the types for whom Palin's conservative record matters little. They already express skepticism with Obama, and perhaps the addition of Palin to the GOP ticket might convince them to vote for McCain this fall. I tend to believe that Palin, assuming she doesn't pull a Dan Quayle, can be just the game changer that McCain needs.

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