Saturday, 30 August 2008

Reviving the experience argument

John McCain’s choice of little-known Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate at first blush does somewhat undercut the McCain’s campaign’s effort to go after Barack Obama on his lack of experience. Nevertheless I think there is a way to keep attacking Obama on inexperience without it rebounding against Palin.

I think McCain’s best argument with moderate voters—who, since Palin has now shored up the GOP social conservative base, are the only voters he needs to worry about—is that he’s the best positioned candidate to deal with a Congress that is, and will be after this election, well to the left of the average American voter. Even assuming Obama is willing to govern from the middle and represents something other than “politics as usual,” his inexperience—surrounded by a vice president even more liberal than he is and Democratic congressional leaders with more experience and savvy—will lead to an orgy of congressional spending and incompetent lawmaking not seen since the first two years of the Clinton presidency, when a similarly naïve Clinton who promised to govern from the center was steamrolled by a corrupt Congress, his wife, and every liberal interest group in Washington. Without any GOP resistance in the White House, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, and Hillary Clinton—not Barack Obama—will be setting the domestic and foreign policy agenda. And can we really afford another four—or eight—years of an inexperienced presidency hijacked by an ideologically-committed, far-more-experienced vice president primarily concerned with foreign affairs, a vice president who took—some might say plagiarized—political inspiration from one of the weakest left-wing political party leaders in modern memory?

All that said, I basically agree that the Palin pick is born from the same desperation that led Walter “49–2” Mondale to the door of Geraldine Ferraro; it didn’t work for Mondale and it probably won’t work for McCain either, but then again nothing is working for McCain now, so why not take a shot?

Sunday, 26 June 2005

Lining up the redshirts

The Baseball Crank notes that Joe Biden is throwing his hat—or at least his hairpiece—into the ring for 2008, while the SoCons are apparently in the market to coalesce behind a single Republican contender already, according to this piece linked by John Cole—after all, there’s only 1,226 shopping days left before the next presidential election. All hail the permanent campaign.

Of course, the drawback of predicting the “redshirts” at this point is that, unlike in Star Trek (or, in general, when using the Law of Economy of Characters*), you don’t know who is going to buy it until after the fact.

* These two laws intersect in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, where the Valeris character clearly only exists to be one of the villains (and the assassins get dialogue in the transporter scene just so we know who they are when they turn up dead); had Gene Roddenberry not been a complete idiot when it came to drama, the Valeris character would actually have been (as originally scripted) Saavik and her betrayal might have meant something. See, for example, Talia Winters in Babylon 5 (“Divided Loyalties”) or Jayne in Firefly (“Ariel”) for counterexamples.