Friday, August 29, 2008

palin for vp

Well, I could eat these words, but I think it's a good choice. Here's my thinking:

1. McCain is, at heart, an in-your-face western maverick who is most comfortable as an outsider. Palin is, at heart, an in-your-face western maverick who is most comfortable as an outsider. Whatever else its limitations--and however much ink is spilled about pandering to the "Christian right"--his campaign now has an unmistakable reformist theme that he is likely to be comfortable with.

2. Any woman who has five children and serves as Governor--let alone rises to the top in by all accounts the ultimate good-old-boy state-- almost has to be good. This may sound patronizing, but I think it's just common sense. I'm a Republican, and I can tell you, women don't get anywhere in the Republican Party unless they're about 3.7 times smarter than the men. If you're attractive, as Palin is generally thought to be, it's probably more like 6.7 times.

3. The parallels to Dan Quayle are ridiculous. Quayle's problem wasn't that he was young or handsome but that most people concluded that he was lightweight. Whatever Palin may be, she's plainly not trivial.

There is another reason that goes beyond the current election. Win or lose, a VP candidate becomes a de facto leader in the party once the boss departs the scene. Young, socially conservative women have for some time been the emotional engine of the Republican Party: the party is literally not viable without them. In much the same way that the choice of Obama marks a recognition of generational shifts in the Democratic Party, the choice of Palin represents the same for the Republicans. Somebody much like this will probably be the GOP candidate for President within the next few cycles. McCain may be a few years ahead of the curve: but is that really so terrible?


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