Holy shit is John McCain an idiot! I mean seriously, what the hell was he thinking by picking Sarah Palin as his running mate? Scratch that, I know that no real thinking was involved at all. This just felt right to his stubborn gut and everything else was a rationalization. And I'm sure once he tossed out the idea and heard his handlers explain why it was dumb, it just made him want to pick her even more.
Because as even Andrea Mitchell concedes, McCain just lost his strongest attack against Obama. For as much as they attacked Obama for being famous, that was only because the experience attack never really needed to be made because it was so obvious. And now McCain has lost that completely, as he's picked someone with even less experience than Obama. Honestly, message discipline was one of the few things the Bushies ever really got right, and it's as if the McCain campaign is determined to get everything wrong.
Gimmick for VP
And I'm sure that picking a woman seemed like a stroke of genius to the insular thinkers in McCain's campaign. But it was a huge HUGE blunder. A catastrophe. I'm guessing they saw the Obama-Clinton primary and decided that the female thing was what helped Hillary go where all the other challengers failed, but that's entirely wrong. Sure, her supporters liked the whole Female President thing, but it was the Clinton Factor that got her there in the first place. And had the Big Dog himself been on the ticket, he'd most likely have won. The fact that Hillary was a woman was an extra bonus to her supporters; not the main prize.
But even worse, it absolutely reeks of an Affirmative Action pick. That's the big reason why I was really hoping Obama wouldn't pick a woman VP. Because everyone would assume, probably correctly, that it was just a gimmick. And that's exactly how McCain's pick looks, but even worse. A female heading the ticket would be bold and might sway a few people, just for the novelty. But a female VP choice behind Hothead McCain will be little more than a footnote in history, much as Geraldine Ferraro was.
And the Affirmative Action Gimmick angle could really hurt McCain, as there are quite a few sexists in the Republican Party who absolutely hate this sort of Affirmative Action pick and who are going to be totally pissed about this. Sure, they might not say this is their objection to her, and they might insist that it doesn't affect their presidential decision at all. But all the same, if McCain suffered from an enthusasim gap before, which he did, then he now just pushed that into negative territory.
Expect many of the sexists to stay home on Election Day, as the only woman they want in the Whitehouse is the First Lady; and they expect her to remain docile.
A Visit to Loonland
And just to see what the other side says, I made a trip to RedState to see what those goons have to say, and while it wasn't exactly what I expected, it fits exactly with the Stubborn Gut nature of McCain's decision. Because they love it. They really do. Erick Erickson inexplicably insists that this is "an epic win" while Jeff Emanuel attacks Democrats for pointing out that she's a desperate wildcard gimmick and that her lack of national stature hurts her.
And in every case, the part that the RedStaters like the best is how McCain faked-out everyone and how unconventional (read: Risky) the pick is. In other words, their contrarians hearts are in love with the idea. They even go as far as to insist that Palin's got some big experience stick to club Obama with, failing to ever note how briefly she's held office or that she's three years younger than Obama. I'm serious, of the four posts up so far, they never mention that she's only been governor for one and a half years, while insisting that she's got experience that destroys Obama's. These people are truly delusion.
But of course, this all spells doom for McCain. Because contrarians are in the minority by definition, and if they like something, it cannot be popular. And their viewpoints cannot be shared by a majority of people, or they'd shift their views. And so if they think this is a stroke of genius, you can be assured that it was a tremendous blunder. Contrarians are necessary as a sort of ballast against the majority and it's always important to have certain people adopt opposing attitudes, in order to keep the conversation healthy and safe. But these people don't belong with the rest of us and if they adopt a position, it's safe to put your money on the other side. They're not always wrong, but they might as well be.
And so this is going to cause a big hurrah on a slow news day, but as the days pass and it all sinks in, McCain's going to quickly realize what a blunder he's made. This was a horrible choice and McCain just made his bad campaign worse. And as Carpetbagger points out, all this goes to show what an odd president McCain would be.