Political centrists such as the LawPundit are extremely sensitive to changes in the momentum of current events. One such fundamental change has been the choice of Vice-Presidential nominees by the Democratic and Republican Parties in the United States.
In our opinion, those choices have drastically changed the entire Presidential Election picture.
What has happened to turn things upside down?
On the one hand, Barack Obama has chosen Joe Biden as his running mate. As an Obama supporter, but by no means a McCain detractor, we were aghast at this selection, which added practically no votes to the Obama camp. A Senator from a small state with a tiny constituency and with no national support was not what Obama needed – it was clearly the wrong choice, regardless of any talents which Senator Biden might otherwise bring to bear to the campaign. In our opinion, Obama had to select a running mate who would help him win the election by tapping the voting power of middle America, and that could only have been Hillary Clinton. An Obama-Clinton ticket would have had a good chance to win the election. An Obama-Biden ticket was substantially weaker. Obama played his political leanings in choosing Biden, but he did not play to win.
At the same time, John McCain apparently did his homework in seeking a running mate who could help to turn his campaign around, and he found that running mate in the unlikely personage of Sarah Palin, a young and formidably aggressive woman and five-time mother, who, more than any other Presidential or Vice-Presidential candidate, most readily reflects the mindset and attitudes of the mass of Americans. Palin is a political “American Idol“, a one-time beauty queen and “Miss Congeniality”, who has emerged like a Phoenix from her humble beginnings. Sarah Palin is a populist female Jesse Ventura, who calls herself a pit bull with lipstick. The Democrats are in serious trouble.
Through this selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate, we think McCain may ultimately prevail in the US Presidential election, because Palin will win enough of the votes that Hillary Clinton otherwise might have garnered for the Democrats to turn the election.
To top things off, McCain has adopted Obama’s slogan of change, is now himself maintaining that “change is coming”, and is distancing himself from the Bush administration, especially as far as the economy goes.
We think that the writing is on the wall. To WIN, you have to make the choices that winning demands, or you will lose. In his first truly important and contest-deciding choice, Obama failed, and McCain won. That’s what makes horse races.
This is not to detract from Obama’s historic and meteoric rise, but he will not make it to the Presidency this year. Maybe some years later, when he picks the right running mate and learns to make decisions that mean victory, rather than defeat.
Update: We find we are not alone in the opinions voiced above. See:
The Caucus – The New York Times Politics Blog – Defining Sarah Palin
where Kate Phillips and Michael Falcone write:
“Erick Erickson, editor of the mega-blog RedState, expressed equal parts shock and excitement about Mr. McCain’s choice just after the news broke: “Holy cow, this is a game changer if, in fact, John McCain has chosen her. Serious game changer. Wow.”“
“Glenn Reynolds, a heavyweight of the right-leaning blogosphere who is better known as Instapundit, wrote: “The Insta-Wife is ecstatic, which may bode well for that demographic….”“
Rasmussen Reports – Palin Power: Fresh Face Now More Popular than Obama, McCain
Los Angeles Times / Bloomberg Poll – Obama and McCain in a statistical tie
“I’m excited,” said Governor Mitch Daniels. “I’ve been hoping for decades to see a woman on the Republican ticket, and Governor Palin was worth waiting for: a reformer, a seasoned executive, and best of all, normal and authentic. Great choice!“