August 29, 2008

Live-blogging the McCain VP announcement. UPDATE: "MCCAIN PICKS SARAH PALIN."

8:26: I don't know what it says about me, but I got up this morning and didn't think about the McCain VP announcement on my own. It wasn't until I turned on the TV news that the subject occurred to me. On the day Obama announced his pick, it was the second or third thought in my head after waking. This could mean that in my heart of hearts, I really have decided on Obama. It could simply mean that I'm more interested in Obama.

My blogging over the months clearly shows much greater interest in him, and that could be for any number of reasons. Some people might say, I'm just monitoring him, looking for things to attack, but an easier explanation is that he is just more interesting. He's new and different. His ongoing battle with Hillary Clinton made him more interesting. And she obviously also made his VP selection far more interesting.

On TV, on Fox, they are saying what they know is that Romney, Huckabee, and Pawlenty are out. [CORRECTED TEXT: I'd written "is up" for some strange reason.] Ah so, it's going to be a woman. I'm hearing this for the first time at 8:37 Central Time. I will reveal that, instantly, a chill ran through my body when I heard that, and I have broken a sob or two as I write this.

8:37: The Fox reporters are talking a lot about Sarah Palin. Exciting. To continue my theme of why I've been less interested in the McCain VP announcement, it might be that I'm just drained from watching way too much Democratic convention TV or that the Obama announcement was more interesting because it was first. But it might very well be that the Obama campaign had a great idea with its text-message announcement and, in particular, having us go to bed at night knowing or almost knowing that it would come in the middle of the night. That made me think of it immediately on awakening because the thought was: Quick, look at the web, get the answer now. I thought the text-message approach was annoying and dorky, but I should probably concede that Obama got inside my head.

8:52: There's talk about a jet leaving Fairbanks, Alaska late last night, and a woman in her 40s getting on board. Now, here's Charles Krauthammer saying that McCain should pick someone "as bland as possible." He refers to Palin as "a rookie out of Alaska" and says it might make sense to do something like this if he was seriously trailing in the polls and needed "a hail Mary." Krauthammer's idea of bland: Pawlenty would have been best. Second best: Romney. Or even Fred Thompson.

8:52: I haven't heard any talk from these Fox guys about the importance of jazzing up the Hillary devotees. I wasn't a Hillary devotee, as you know, but I am in the demographic group that locked onto her emotionally. Can you understand how we feel about women? I remember when Bill Clinton announced his first Supreme Court nominee. Most or all of the talk had been about males. Bill dragged out the selection process, and finally the announcement came: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I remember a conversation with my neighbor that day when I got home from work:
Neighbor: So what do you think of Clinton's Supreme Court pick?

Me: I'm so glad he picked a woman.

Neighbor: Really. You care about that?

Me: Yeah!

Neighbor: I mean, we already have a woman on the Court. It's not a first. At some point, it's not special to pick a woman. When will you not care about it anymore?

Me: When there are 5 women on the Court -- in proportion to the population. 5, not 4, because women are more than 50% of the population.
That was 15 years ago, and I was more radical then. But the feeling remains. It means something. I was resistant to Hillary (because I think she betrayed women by attacking women to support Bill), but I know the feeling of women my age wanting to see women get through to the top.

9:13: I was just checking Wikipedia to make sure I had the right year for the Ginsburg appointment. Scanning the article, I see that when she went to college (at Cornell), one of her professors was Vladimir Nabokov. Random new fact of the day.

9:21: I've switched to CNN, and at the bottom of the screen I see the words: "Sources point to Palin as McCain's running mate; CNN has not confirmed."

9:33: Here's the WaPo article: "Speculation Mounts on McCain's Running Mate Pick: Alaska Governor Palin Said to Be on McCain's Short List for Vice President":
Three senior Republican sources said they had been told Palin was McCain's choice. But those accounts came amidst conflicting reports about whether Palin had arrived here on a chartered plane last night or was still in Alaska.

Republicans have never nominated a woman for their ticket, and Palin's scant experience would make her a surprise choice. She was elected governor two years ago, and before that was mayor of Wasilla (pop. 6,715).
Yikes. I Google for a list of the states in order of population and see that Alaska is the 4th smallest state by that measure. [AND: I was about to add that we think of Alaska as really big, but it's tiny by population. Only Wyoming, Vermont, and North Dakota are smaller. Biden's state -- I mean Delaware -- is bigger.]


9:37: "MCCAIN PICKS SARAH PALIN." On the screen. Tears! Chills!!!!

9:42: On CNN now, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who keeps talking about how little we know about Palin, but is guessing that "she'll hold her own." There's some talk about how "we'll all be eating mooseburgers."

9:42: A key puzzle about Palin has to do with abortion. They're discussing this on CNN now. Palin is a woman and may excite the Hillary supporters. But if Hillary's supporters were big on the abortion issue, they shouldn't like Palin, who vividly embodies pro-life. But you know, even people who believe abortion should be legal (like me) can have immense respect for individuals like Palin who live their own lives according to pro-life values, who make their choice to continue their pregnancies. And those who care about the rights of the disabled -- like many liberals -- should have great respect for a woman who did not discard the fetus she knew would be born with a serious disability, as was the case with Palin.

9:47: Oh, good lord, Hutchison is mispronouncing "Palin." She's overtly unenthusiastic!

9:53: The best attack of Palin is, of course, that she is inexperienced. It's a little hard for Obama people to say that, though, because their guy is inexperienced. Does that mean the best attack is silenced? No, it will transmogrify into an effort to catch her saying something that sounds inexperienced. I haven't heard her enough to have any idea whether she has the nerve and the mental capacity to sound right all the time. She's never been exposed like this before. So many people will be salivating at the chance to make her look bad.

10:16: Let's think about Palin in a debate with Joe Biden. How will that work? In the comments, Henry says:
[P]eople with almost not debating chops routinely "win" political debates.

Often these debates are "won" entirely on facial hair and body language. Palin could "win" a debate with Biden just by not looking like a warmed-over stiff.

Even if the debates were real debates, the fact that Palin is inexperienced politically has no bearing on her debating skills.

We know she'd cream Biden in 1 on 1 basketball. The debates have about the same relationship to political experience as that.
I was just reading that in the comments, and now, I notice it's the topic on CNN too. I flip over to Fox for a second, and there's a smiling Palin, in a light green t-shirt and eating a vanilla ice cream cone. Voice over: "People love her."

10:21: More from the comments. This is from Peter V. Bella:
Man, the leftist whackos and nutroots are going to come out of the woodwork like cockroaches. Pallin wears fur, she hunts and eats moose burgers, she is a life long member of the NRA, and the worst, the absolute worst crime -- her husband is a fisherman who works in the oil fields in the off-season. Yep, a regular working stiff. The kind of guy they hate and are jealous of. Not a lawyer or a fuzzy headed policy wonk; not a professor of basket weaving or Mayan Mysticism, not someone who lives off the teat of government grants; but a real, solid, hard core, working man. A guy who gets his hands dirty every day. The average Joe American.

What makes her even more odious is she actually worked with her husband on the fishing boats. She really, actually worked for a living. The Gospel chorus is lining up to rage and rant; “my God, how can he pick someone like that? Working people, why, they, they, they, know too much about real life!”

PETA, the anti-gun nuts, ELF, KOS, MYDD, Huffingglue and probably a host of others will be gnashing their teeth, pounding their drums, shaking their chubby little fists and green tamborines, and going into full, foaming at the mouth, rabid attack mode. They are going to have heartastrokes over this.
10:35: On CNN, they're reading messages off their website, including the statement that McCain "is trying to out-minority Barack Obama." Earth to nameless CNN website commenter: Women are not a minority.

10:38: I'm going back to my first post about Sarah Palin, which was only last June. Excerpt:
Alaska! With Hawaii represented by Barack Obama, it would be cool to give the other latecomer state some respect at this time. It's always troubled me that Hawaii's been so far off and disconnected from the rest of the United States, and it's good that there's another disconnected state to keep it company. (You know when I was a kid in the 1950s, I heard discussion of Alaska becoming a state, and when someone said "I hear Hawaii is coming in too," I thought the islands were somehow floating over and would connect to the west coast.) Alaska's important too: oil-related. We're going to be talking about gas prices, and having the governor of Alaska will resonate.
10:39: We're over 200 comments, so switch the commenting to the new Palin post, here. And I'll carry on there too.


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Sloanasaurus said...

But yes - the first beauty queen President. I'm sure it will win Ann over.

Wow, the woman trashing begins in earnest. Hillary's backers are well aware of it.

Wasn't Ann won over by JFK, the first beauty king president?

downtownlad said...

My political instincts are better than almost everyone on this board. This is going to be a laughing stock. And for that reason - GREAT pick!

Maggie45 said...

I can barely contain myself, I'm so happy. I've been hoping for this for MONTHS! Ask my friends. Yay!!!!

Richard Dolan said...

Other than her gender and her short tenure as Gov of Alaska, I don't know anything about Sarah Palin. This is McC's version of the Quayle pick, and I hope it turns out better on closer inspection than that one.

Assuming that Gov Palin comes across to voters as sensible, grounded and capable, I think her nomination makes it more likely that McC will be elected. It certainly complicates Team O's problems, and they already had plenty of those to worry about. (If she bombs as Quayle did, then all bets are off.)

Unlike others, I don't get goosebumps imagining a person of little experience and no track record as POTUS or V-POTUS. McC's argument that being a quick study in on-the-job training is not a qualification for a chief executive let alone POTUS is compelling, and doesn't lose any force when it's the Repubs putting up an inexperienced and untested candidate for high office. But the V-POTUS position is obviously much less critical. The good news is that, by all actuarial logic, McC should live out his term if he is elected.

vbspurs said...

It's over 200!! This is officially the fastest-growing Althouse post. ;)

vbspurs said...


Palladian said...

I want to go fishing with her too! And I don't even go fishing!

For some perverse reason I keep thinking of a Hillary/Palin ticket in 2012. Is that weird or what?

Trevor Jackson said...

Aw, chickenlittle, I thought we were pals.

I think it's great Republicans have finally admitted that women can be seen as equals on the national political stage. You're only behind Democrats by about 24 years.

SteveR said...

I like it and unlike Ferraro in 1984, she has a real shot. I know my daughters were pretty jazzed up this morning as I drove them to school. Her relative inexperience aside, it represents change at least as much as Obama, IMO.

former law student said...

Palin has spent two years as governor of Alaska; that's two years more experience than McCain, Obama and Biden have between them.

Democrats should be heartened by this choice: The last one-term governor to become President was Jimmy Carter; the last small-state governor to become President was Bill Clinton.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Democrats should be heartened by this choice...

Rank-and-file, gun-clinging Democrats probably will; the DNC, not so much.

Palladian said...

"My political instincts are better than almost everyone on this board. This is going to be a laughing stock. And for that reason - GREAT pick!"

"I like your reasoning.

I voted for Bush last time, but can't bring myself to vote for Kerry. I'm going to vote Libertarian (Badnarik).

Downtown Lad

Posted by: Downtown Lad on November 1, 2004 12:19 AM"

Peter V. Bella said...

Hey DTL,

I am really surprised you are still living. I mean, I would have figured you would have suffocated by now, as you have had your head up your ass for so long.

Simon said...

downtownlad said...
"My political instincts are better than almost everyone on this board."

DTL reveals himself to be Xerox Joe "I think I have a higher IQ than you" Biden.

Pastor_Jeff said...

I think it's great Republicans have finally admitted that women can be seen as equals on the national political stage.

Classy. I think it's great that Democrats finally recognized deserved blacks full citizenship, a decade after Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock and a century after Lincoln freed the slaves.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Sorry - obviously meant to reverse "blacks deserve."

Glen said...

If you had to put inexperience in the White House, would you put it in the Presidential position ... or the Vice Presidential position?

And neither McCain or Palin are lawyers. No lawyers on the Republican ticket!

former law student said...

by all actuarial logic, McC should live out his term if he is elected.

On the average, yes. But family history matters. McCain has already outlived his father (dead at 70) and his grandfather (dead at 61). On the good side, his mother's father lived to be 95.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

So does John Hinderaker, who isn't known for being overly critical of Republicans.

I don't consider Hinderaker a member of the MSM. I think their reaction is telling.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

So does John Hinderaker, who isn't known for being overly critical of Republicans.

I don't consider Hinderaker a member of the MSM. Their reaction is telling.

jeff said...

"And she's a woman. Downtownlad hates women."

Oh, that's a bit unfair, don't you think? DTL hates everyone. Including DTL.

Randy said...

The irresistable image of the day?

Lem said...

More Hillary drama...

I want to come over
To hell with the consequence
You told me you loved me
Thats all I believe
I want to come over
Its a need I cant explain
To see you again
I want to come over

I know your friend
You told her about me
She filled you with fear
Some kind of sin
How can you turn
Denying the fire
Lover I burn
Let me in.

That's why in baseball the home team bats second.

Methadras said...

Yeah, the internet just blew up. I didn't even see Palin as a choice. Not my first choice either, but a very good choice nonetheless. Now that I think about it, it's a big fuck you to Obama, to Hillary, and totally swipes the rug from underneath a lot of the liberal/leftist platforms concerning womens issues. I hate to say this, but this was a masterful play.

This is what I said in the comments section of the entry regarding McCain's message to Mr. Barely:

"This is McCain's way of saying, "You know, I'm going to fuck you, but you won't see it coming nor realize that I've done it. But after I'm done, you will be left with a feeling of total satisfaction and will wonder when it is going to happen again"

I approve this message. Well played Senator."

Yup, the blade goes in, the blade comes out. Oh look, what Mr. Barely speech?

Hammerblow said...

You teach "law"? I'm surprised you can even spell it.

Ann Althouse said...

"Wasn't Ann won over by JFK, the first beauty king president?"

No, in fact I was for Nixon in 1960, but I was too young to vote, being only 9. I was not for Nixon in 1968, when he won, and I was also too young to vote. I was strongly for Goldwater in 1964, however. I first voted in 1972, for McGovern, and I've voted for the Democrat every time except 1976 and 2004.

BTW, I remember when I found out Kennedy was shot, before Oswald was caught, I thought it was obvious that Republicans had killed him. Everyone I knew was Republican and as far as I could tell, they hated Kennedy. So I witnessed no Kennedy love during that period, before he died.

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