You Don’t Know Her Name

Barack Obama gave an awesome, awe inspiring, inspirational, sensational acceptance speech. It had a little something for everyone and appealed to both populists and pugilists. He showed he could do the dance of politics while dazzling the proletariat. It was great. And everyone agreed. Even Pat Buchanan and the boys on FOX News. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann went off, on air nonetheless, over the lone, rouge Associated Press wire editorialist who dared to say otherwise. The fireworks, the cheering crowds. Say what you want, as Papa Snob said while admiring the 85 thousand plus in the Mile High city, “That’s impressive.”

And you know that’s what the opposition thought too.

Which explains yesterday’s “‘Hail Mary’ pass.” And I didn’t call John McCain’s pick of Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin for Vice President of the United States, a Hail Mary. Republican strategist and CNN commentator Ed Rollins called it that. In the history of “WTFs” this one was huge. Right up there with Britney Spears shaving her head bald and Julia Roberts marrying Lyle Lovett.

I wasn’t the only one who smelled a strong whiff of desperation.

Let’s stop pretending this race is as close as national polling suggests. The truth is McCain is essentially tied or trailing in every swing state that matters — and too close for comfort in several states like Indiana and Montana the GOP usually wins pretty easily in presidential races. On top of that, voters seem very inclined to elect Democrats in general this election — and very sick of the Bush years.

McCain could easily lose in an electoral landslide. That is the private view of Democrats and Republicans alike.

McCain’s pick shows he is not pretending. Politicians, even “mavericks” like McCain, play it safe when they think they are winning — or see an easy path to winning. They roll the dice only when they know that the risks of conventionality are greater than the risks of boldness. (“6 things the Palin pick says about McCain,” by Jim Vandehei and John F. Harris,

I still don’t know how I feel about the Palin diversion — because that’s what she is — a diversion, a MacGuffin, for something else. A MacGuffin for what, I’m still not sure. Perhaps just to hijack the news cycle. What’s obvious is that he did not pick her until the wee hours of Friday morning. There was no promotional material, no signs, barely a bio up on the woman and when McCain introduced her he visibly had to look down and read her name off of a piece of paper. (Skip to the two minute mark on the video.)

They’d only met twice and Friday was that second meeting. And the age gap loomed large as Palin looked closer to 34 than 44 and McCain looks closer to 82 than 72. People said they looked very “father/daughter,” you could go even further and argue “Grandfather/granddaughter” if you didn’t know that Palin had five kids and was celebrating her 20th wedding anniversary.

I have to admit. I’m rather confused. Some think this is part of some larger, genius GOP trickery, but the GOP has been … um … lacking in the genius factor this election. They’ve mostly looked old and out of shape, a sliver of their usual bare-knuckle, poo throwing selves. After all, the Dems haven’t been know for getting their hands bloodied in a fist fight for years now. It’s not like they’re hard to attack. It’s more that the GOP is so demoralized and pathetic, that the Dems are running rampant with Barack Obama doing Tiger Woods-fist-pumps all over the place.

The best attack they could come up with was, “Oooo! Look at that black guy. People like to hear him speak! He’s popular! Everyone thinks he’s all cool and junk but he’s really not and is like, totally a secret Muslim!

And Obama murdered that schoolyard taunt in his acceptance speech. The one that more than 38 million Americans watched. (Not counting the C-SPAN and PBS audiences Nielsen doesn’t track. The Snob family watched it on C-SPAN.)

Perhaps the Obama campaign is even better off than I thought. Maybe we could win? Why else would McCain pull such a high risk/reward pick? It doesn’t make sense. When you’re ahead, you play safe. When you’re worried you hijack a news narrative with a gimmicky, condescending veep choice.

And this opened up McCain’s age issue for debate, something the Democrats were holding back from. And it killed their whole “experience” argument. (Which I suppose wasn’t working anyway. Who was the last president we actually elected based on “experience?” Oh, yeah. Bush 41 — the one-termer.) And dear Lord, did they even consider that Hillary Rodham Clinton was HELL BENT on being the first female to get into the White House via Electoral College? She was already going to campaign for Obama out of obligation. Why poke the bear? If she says anything even the slightest eschew Clinton will destroy her.

I’m sure Palin is politically savvy and bright. That’s obvious. But she can’t have a slip up. Not even a little one. The time is too short between now and election day. One gaffe could kill her, unlike with Obama, Biden and even McCain, who are known entities and can weather a misspoken word or too. She can’t fumble. She can’t falter. She can’t make one false move.

Which again begs to ask, why did McCain pick her? What is he up to?

Since I’m going that this was not something that was “planned” and is more about insecurity than trickery I’m going to posit that the McCain campaign saw something in their internal polling that scared the shit out of them. Perhaps it was the fact that the “experience” argument wasn’t sticking or that the statistical dead heat didn’t convey how he was really doing in battleground states. Maybe it was all the kumbaya of the DNC convention and Obama’s home run hit of an acceptance speech that really drove home the fact that the Republicans, demoralized and depressed, were facing a lackluster convention that might get usurped by Hurricane Gustav.

If that’s the case, McCain knew he needed to do something brash. McCain needed to pick someone who could A) make a play for disaffected Clinton supporters before they switched to Team Obama; B) make a play for moderates and centrists wh
o are dazzled by the historic nature of the Obama campaign and C) satisfy the Christian conservative base who don’t trust John McCain.

For that McCain was going to need an unconventional woman with culture wars credentials. Amazingly, a lot of Republican women who make it to the big stage in politics are pro-choice. Leaving the plucky Alaskan governor the last woman standing. She was for making abortion illegal — even in the cases of rape and incest — causing the hard right to squeal with joy.

So McCain has a woman, but she so far right on cultural issues (from teaching Creationism in schools to seeing homosexuality as immoral) that she might freak out the moderates and centrists if they ever get to know her too closely … and believe me, the Dems plan on making the world ALL TOO FAMILIAR with Palin and her views.

Hell, she once supported Pat Buchanan in his run for the presidency.

Will this gamble work?

Obviously McCain hopes so. All eyes on Palin have taken the bright lights off Hopey McHopington and Mad Dog McGraw. But all eyes on Palin also means all eyes on Palin. Judgmental eyes waiting to see what she says and does and prying into her personal life, something the nosy media and blogosphere will happily sift through.

I think Obama and Biden, who are obviously at a position of strength, should lay back a bit and let the press do its work. See what this “Palin person” is all about. Let Rahm Emmanuel and the other Democrats push the “WTF!” factor and the age issue. Hang back. See what McCain is up to. Does he actually have an ace in the hole or is Palin one big bluff?

Let McCain have this news cycle. He wants the ever watching media eye on him for a while, so bet it. Have his “own” manufactured hype of a “historic” ticket, go ahead. This “me too-ism” only adds to the desperation factor. Let’s see if car has a motor in it, before we charge blindly into what could be the most obvious trap in the history of politics.

26 thoughts on “You Don’t Know Her Name

  1. The woman doesn’t even have impressive educational credentials! She has a Bachelor’s in Communications from some state school in Idaho. Now I’m not knocking the major but give me break! To think this woman could possibly become commander in chief is a tad bit scary. Talk about lack of judgement McDummy…

  2. OHMIGOD, no you didn’t sick Rahm Emmanuel on her. Why do I get a visual in my head of a pitbull with a poodle in his slavering jaws. Emmanuel is probably the only person in Congress who is actually crazier than Joe Biden. And I’m not talking about ‘the crazy,’ I’m talking certifiable.

  3. the Hillary women should be insulted. what was the McCain camp thinking?”I reckon we just stick a vagina on the ticket and call it a day.” **cigar smoke in the air as they stroke their white beards in agreement** Biden better not hesitate to hand her ass to her in the VP debates. contrary to what the MSM is babbling about, we women will not be offended if she runs off the stage crying.

  4. I agree – I think we should just give Palin enough rope.BTW we are all so interested in your politics here in New Zealand – and my readers love your photos 🙂

  5. i love the ad obama came up with after mccain announced palin…

    he stayed on target by stating the obvious…nothing has changed…palin ignored…and now i hear that the ron paul supporters are ready to do major protesting in mn along with hurricane gustav…

  6. I don’t care where a candidate has gone to college. There are plenty of idiots who graduate from ivy league schools all the time, so what does that matter? she got to be governor of a state, didn’t she? have you ever been governor of a state, or even a lieutenant-governor? I don’t think so. I personally think that an honest, clear-thinking citizen is a much better candidate for vp than some corrupt, bloated Washington insider with loads of experience. Of course I would rather have an honest, clear-thinking experienced person like Colin Powell…What is more scary than Palin becoming president is Obama becoming president. Why can’t you see that he is a hollow individual? It seems rather clear to me.- Max

  7. McCain didn’t count on one little group he PO’d: young women who did not like Hellary Clinton and did not vote FOR Obama as much as AGAINST Hellary. A lot of us could have gone either way or skipped this election altogether. Max – some of us GET that Obama is a hollow individual. Since when has that stopped someone from being elected? However, Palin is just plain SCARY! She was the governor of a state with a population of 650,000 for 18 months! That qualifies her for the presidency? I don’t think so. Obama’s State Senate District had more people than that. Prior to that she was the mayor of a city with a population roughly about the same as the block I live on in suburban LA. She is also a nutjob who likes to kill moose – but I expected McCain to go with a nutjob (although not one that kills moose). He had to or else the Evangelicals would stay home and Obama would win. I get that, too. However, he could have gone with a nutjob with more experience rather than try to pander to women while trying to appease the Christian Right.

  8. Biden better not hesitate to hand her ass to her in the VP debates. contrary to what the MSM is babbling about, we women will not be offended if she runs off the stage crying.txbabe98, I *WANT* her to runn odd stage crying. Biden authored the Violence Against Women Act. Unlike Palin he has a credible record on Women’s Rights – he can feel safe in going after her.Ironically, Women’s Issues were the last thing on my mind this election. I don’t vote with my second X chormosome when ga$ is $4 a gallon.It’s still “The Economy, Stupid” and I don’t think Palin has any experience in that arena. I have a Bachelors and 2/3 of a Masters in Communications (from a better known school) and the economy never came up in class. PS: I had very little interest in Joe Biden until Sarah Palin came up. I just thought, “Barack went with the safe choice.” Suddenly, I love the guy.

  9. Why are you so pessimistic about Obama’s chances. The man has run the most brilliant campaign in presidential election history, toppled the most powerful political machine of the last 30 years, organized millions and registered hundreds of thousands, and has raised a ton of money. Yet you still doubt him. It’s one of the things I can’t stand about your writing. The man has been doing his thing for nearly two years now on the campaign trail, and every other post you write tries to plant the seeds of doubt for November. It’s stale, Snob. Give the man his due.For those of you who want real pro-Obama analysis without “the sky is falling and he’s gonna lose cause he’s black” doubtful writings of Snob, please bookmark Al Giordano’s blog. He’s a former community organizer and declared in April ’07 that Barack, the underdog, was going to win Iowa. Also lots of info on there on how to quit wringing your hands and actually get involved so that he can win.

  10. ks: Wow. One line I mention my own concerns at times about this election and I’m a huge defeatist? And you assume it was over race when … ahem … I didn’t mention racism?I’m sorry. I’m an Obama supporter. I plan to vote for the man. But I’m also a realist. It’s tough to become the first anything. It’s tough to become president. So I’m not going to stick fingers in my ears and go “la, la, la, la” when I have a concern. It’s called being a realist or pragmatic. I’ve routinely described myself as a pragmatist, not an optimist (or a pessimist, for that matter.) I don’t go into things blindly. I listen to other opinions. I discuss things. I hear alternative views. But if you just want to read someone who you can agree with 100 percent of the time and won’t kill your buzz by considering that this election still involves a degree of difficulty, please do read something or someone else because I can guarantee you I’m not going to be Miss Mary Sunshine for anybody. Not even candidates I like. No one knows what is going to happen between now and November and the Democrats have found NUMEROUS ways to lose elections without the whole “blackness factor.” I don’t recall Al Gore, John Kerry, Michael Dukakis, Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter, George McGovern and Humbert Humphries losing an election over their “ethnicity” or “gender” considering they were all white men. But they all lost. Leaving Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter (a one-termer) the only Democratic presidents between 1968 (when LBJ declined reelection) and 2008.That’s 40 years. That’s why I’m not all “whoo hoo, he’s going to kick everyone’s ass.” I’m not saying “don’t vote” or “vote McCain,” I’m just saying I won’t believe it until he’s president.I’m sorry my one-line blew your high despite the fact that I routinely write about Barack and his wife quite positively and voted for him in the primaries and will vote for him again in November. I’m sorry that I cannot be a “T-shirt wearer” and be blindly devoted to his campaign.Shield yourself from my horrid bad vibes! Happy Trails!

  11. Great post ms. snob. I thought I left a comment yesterday but it was killing me trying to remember who Mitt reminded me off. It was Guy Smiley!!! haThis pick was ridiculous. She clearly wasn’t well vetted because already we are hearing about Tropper Gate, Baby Gate etc. I agree that Obama and Biden should sit back a minute. Something doesn’t smell right with this pick.

  12. Obama-Biden should not address Palin. McCain is the guy running for president. Let the press and female surrogates take down Palin on her extremist views and poor record in Alaska.Karl Rove selected her as a sop to the AmTalibangelical wing of the GOP, Obama never had a chance with them anyway. Now they are energized, but Palin’s extremist views, particularly on reproductive choice will drive away moderate women who might have been open to a female candidate.

  13. One thing I wish would be noted about Grampy McSame’s “historic moment” is that its about, uh, 24 YEARS late to be historic. Seems like the historic ground of female vice-presidential candidates was trod upon a QUARTER of a CENTURY ago. Palin is a throw away veep pick to protect any potential presidential candidate for 2012. Could it be that nobody credible wanted to be on a losing McCain ticket?

  14. You have a very accurate view of this VP pick. Personally, I think she was chosen to break Obama’s news cycle and she will pull an Eagleton to McCain’s McGovern along about Wednesday so that the RNC can put a better VP choice in. I think McCain’s people vetted her enough to be pretty sure the troopergate and babygate stuff won’t stick, but I don’t think they will be able to stop the stuff that comes out of her own mouth. But hell, if I know so much, why aren’t I running.Also, fantastic post. You have a great flow to your writing and it is a joy reading your work.

  15. Snob.Your writing must be getting real good cause now you’re getting attacked!You are not alone when it comes to the inherent belief that the culture of power will always have tricks up their sleeves that are beyond our imagination.If you reverse the situation there’s no way no how Obama could be 72 and running for president! There’s no way that he could have McCain’s history and be the Democratic Nominee!Obama has been damn near flawless; even blowing sunshine out of his ass… and still the race is this close. That tells you a lot about the attitudes of our country. We’ve got a long way to go. This race isn’t about Obama being a leader of the free world as it is about busting the cherry of what it means to be black around the world. The culture of power doesn’t like it one bit. It’s called fear. Fear that Obama will do to whites what they have done to us. Fear that Michelle will inspire black women to escape being a Hottentot. Fear that black men will have choices and options if they just use their brains. Fear of a Black Planet.

  16. soaquarian: I’m with you the Eagleton equation. I can’t see her lasting til November. Especially with all the rumors swirling around on the web about her character and her family. I’m not going to get into rumor mongering on the blog myself (at least not yet, but everyone else, feel free to post it and discuss it in the comments!), but I’ve heard and read enough to go … hmmm, did they properly vet this woman? Methinks not!One false move and Palin goes down.Anonymous 9:41 am: Thanks! Some people just need an excuse to promote another blog. I don’t blame them. But you don’t have to trash me to do that! And “Fear of a Black Planet?” Totally. Fear of a Black Hat, even. Fear of a Black Everything!What’s crazy is that despite all that’s been done to black people the vast majority of us don’t want revenge. We still just want to be treated fairly. We’re not the Palestinians, but then, they’ve got a messed up situation going with the Israelis that is not analogous to our own personal “Jihad,” aka struggle.

  17. Snob,Great post, to start. The thing that’s really starting to bug me now about this is all of the talk about how Biden will have to “go easy” on her because she’s a woman, and so he doesn’t come across as a vicious, unchivalrous, sexist asshole.I mean hell, she chose to go here and play ball with the big boys (the situation is what it is). So, IMHO, she needs to be able to take the heat (in a debate with Biden), or she needs to get the hell out of the kitchen. The thing I liked about Hillary was that she could take it, but my gawd, she could most certainly dish it out. Already folks are trying to dig into Biden’s “attack dog” abilities by prematurely making Palin out the female victim. But, maybe that’s what McCain was after to begin with…I’m with you–I hope Obama’s/Biden’s folks are digging up some STUFF on her that they can feed to the press–I mean hell, they don’t have to really dig up anything–she’s already handed them a number of flogging points straight from own mouth. You probably already heard, but I think she just got her first passport last year. WTF??? I’d love to see her take a geography quiz.And, for all the folks that can’t think themselves out of cardboard boxes and want to say that she’s “more qualified” than either Obama or Biden because of her experience as governor of Alaska–hell, Dubbya was governor of the Lone Star State for five years before he became president–and look at where all that “experience” got us. I think that argument is total horsepucky.I’m just sayin…

  18. My issue with you is not based on that one comment. It’s a pattern with you. And it’s almost as tired as your obsession with your supposed “light” skin. You’re very very brown honey, not yellow. Get over it, already.

  19. ks: Dude, I’m not holding you hostage here. And whatever your assumptions are the reality is if you don’t like it, don’t read. (Or you can continue to feed my ego by replying.) OBVIOUSLY (as you so astutely have pointed out) I am a self-centered defeatist who is obsessed with being light-skinned when I’m actually not light-skinned. (Oh dear Lord, I’m brown. I think I’ll go hang myself!) I am obviously too insignificant for you to even bother. Why does anyone read me at all???? So why do you read me? I thought you were saying that you wouldn’t or at least were suggesting others to read someone else. If you keep coming back here I’m just going to assume that you secretly love me and want to add to my visitor count.Makes me no difference.

  20. I wont lie. I am worried about this VP pick. I finally realised that there are certain PUMAs (hard core Clintonites) that Obama can never reach and this current VP pick is a gambit directly for that ilk. I suspect that deep down inside these PUMAs are resentful of the fact that the woman who will be sleeping with the president is a Black woman. They are used to f***ing Power, they see it as their sole right. They hate that the kids that the whole world is fawning over are a Black woman’s children. They HATE it. You know the Black woman is supposed to be the perenial best friend but never the main act. With Michelle as the First Lady and Jill Biden as the 2nd everything these women thought of themselves has been swept away……Now enter the pretty cookie-cutter from Alaska. The PUMAs can claim their feminism back without owning their racism…well, well,well…Geraldine Ferraro alert.Forget that she is running on the ticket that wants WAR WAR WAR and thinks that the economy is a-okay and doesn’t care about your healthcare, at least these PUMAs will be f***ing power again and that is all that matters

  21. @anonymous 2:35pm – I think the PUMAs you are referring to were GOPers who voted in the Dem primaries just to cause problems. Sarah Palin is the opposite of what Hillary Clinton stands for – she’s a social, fiscal conservative wingnut – the only thing she and Sen Clinton share is they both have to sit down to pee!Rove/McCain picked Palin over many better qualified GOP women because she met the Daddy Dobson test. Only wingnut women will fall for this play – others will see her as a female Clarence Thomas- the least qualified affirmative action pick.

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