Comments and observations on social and political trends and events.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

McCain's V.P. Choice

In response to John McCain’s announcement of his choosing Alaskan governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, Robert Bidinotto posted on August 29 his as-usual excellent analysis. My apathy mixed with antipathy for the candidates on both sides prepared me to expect the worst and to be unimpressed with McCain's choice. However I heartily agree with Bidinotto’s assessment of Palin's demeanor and message. I think this is a clever choice on a number of fronts. It does hamper McCain's early criticisms on Obama's lack of experience but I don't think it's a fatal error. As Bidinotto said, Palin has the most experience actually running a government than any of the other candidates.

Below I have provided some snippets from Robert’s analysis. I particularly agree with his comment on Obama as a self-proclaimed agent of “change.” When I read Obama’s Blueprint for Change there is precious little deviation from the traditional liberal mantra that the government is the cure-all for all ills.

Politically, this is a brilliant move. Absolutely brilliant. I say that with the caveat of my abiding philosophical disagreements with both McCain and Palin on certain issues. But the overarching issues of this campaign for me are national security and energy policy, and on these, the GOP wins over the Dems, hands down.

If a candidate for president is trying to brand himself as a force for political "change," he shouldn't pick as his running mate an aging liberal fossil who's sat in the Senate for 36 years -- an old-boy-network Washington insider. That completely undercuts his "change" message, communicating instead a desire to pander to the Establishment and a clinging to "business as usual." It informs voters that the "change" message is utterly phony.

By contrast, if you are campaigning as an independent-minded maverick, you'd lose credibility by selecting a standard old-school politician as your running mate. You'd want somebody who underscores your outsider, maverick image and message. And if you select such a person, it communicates to voters: I'm the real deal; I mean what I say; you can trust that my actions will match my words.

Ask yourself, strictly from a branding and marketing standpoint, which candidate now comes across as the authentic and genuine agent of "change" -- McCain or Obama.

Obama is increasingly coming across as an empty suit, an ambitious phony with a dubious background; Biden is just another stock liberal. By contrast, McCain is showing independence and daring; his biography backs it up; and so does his running mate.

I’d say McCain’s choice was courageous. We’ll see if it was a brilliant decision after the election.

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