Did John McCain just repeat George McGovern's fatal mistake? How long will Palin stay on the ticket? Will McCain recover any better than McGovern?Eagleton cost him the election? McGovern lost by an awful lot. But, certainly Eagleton damaged him badly.
It had nothing to do with Eagleton's particular problems, but how McGovern came to choose him, failed to adequately vet him, and then waffled when the problems arose, effectively costing him the election.
John McCain picked Sarah Palin to get the enthusiastic support of the evangelical, radical right. He didn't think it would matter that she has no national experience because he perceived he could argue Obama didn't either.Or he thought it would work as a magnet for attacks that could be turned around onto Obama. But Merritt doesn't see it that way because:
Obama presented himself for 17 months to the American people, they heard him debate more than a dozen times, they made their own decision that he was ready for the job and the Democrats voted him their nominee.Did they? I remember early excitement, among Democrats, followed by months of difficulty fighting back Hillary Clinton, who had let the nomination slip away by failing to do the math early on and to take the caucus states seriously enough. The Obama campaign figured out a clever strategy. Was this really the public vetting him? He pulled off a surprise early on, got some people very excited, and ultimately edged out the more qualified contender. How was that a decisive test? When the testing really got serious, Hillary surged. But it was too late.
Obama wasn't unilaterally appointed by a party's nominee in a transparent play for the evangelical and female vote. As if Sarah Palin could fill Hillary Clinton's shoes by virtue of her gender. As if women wouldn't see that Sarah Palin is the antithesis of Hillary Clinton on issues. As if anything would evoke Palin's lack of qualifications more than to compare them to Hillary's.Yes, the VP selection process is different and more nearly unilateral. But the person chosen must be accepted by the Party, and the position is VP, where at least there will be some time for seasoning. And as for Hillary, Obama's qualifications looked weak next to hers and yet he won. Nor can you say that all of the support for her was because of her qualifications -- that weren't that strong -- and her policies -- they weren't all that popular. The fact is that she pushed the idea that she was a woman and she'd be the first woman President, and some people responded to that. For them, Obama's failure to pick her for VP -- or even to vet her -- is perhaps rather irksome. Meanwhile, Palin is something new and different, and disaffected, shunned women may feel the pull.
As I'm typing this, Obama is being interviewed by Anderson Cooper about Gustav. Anderson's last question was how he would answer those who say that Gov. Palin, as mayor of a small town and Gov. of Alaska, has more experience than he does. He didn't miss a beat. He smiled and said Palin's town of Wasilia, Alaska had 50 employees. His campaign has 2500. The town's budget is about $12 million a year. His budget is 3 times that per month. He cited the legislation he's passed on emergency management post-Katrina and that many recommendations he made were adopted and are being put in place as we speak.It's true that Obama's biggest accomplishment is his success (thus far) in running a Presidential campaign. But isn't this a bit absurd? One qualifies to run for President by the very activity of running for President? I'm glad to hear that he smiled when he said that, because I don't think it's an argument you can make with a straight face.