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Drag on the ticket? You betcha!

October 23, 2008 - John Stack
It has finally happened. What many of us thought would have happened well over a month ago is happening. The Winker from Wasilla is palpably pulling down the Republican ticket. It is said that a vice presidential candidate can’t win the presidential race, but here it sure seems like this VP choice could drown one.
            One topic in this race is negative campaigning. A great statement about Americans is that it is not working this time. While McCain is seemingly staying above the fray, Palin is ‘going off topic’. She is disagreeing with the McCain camp on immigration, Rev Wright and North Korea. Now, it is a time honored political tactic to have the head of the ticket say one thing while their minions go out and rabble rouse. But is this really so with Palin? Or does she really disagree with McCain? Or, is she setting herself up for the future? I can easily see her as a Fox News analyst making 10 times or more what she makes as Governor of Alaska (and keeping her job as governor). Will she run for a Senate seat to position herself for even bigger things?
            The Palin pick seems to also have inadvertently exacerbated the ‘age’ question about John McCain. As much as she brings youth, sassiness and lunatic right wing ideology, she also underscores that McCain would be the oldest elected 1st term president. In an NBC/WSJ poll, the top concern about Palin is that she is not qualified. This hurts doubly. First, it reminds voters she is a heartbeat away from being the person ‘with a finger on the button’. Second, McCain claims he always has America’s interest first. John McCain, in defending her ‘She is a governor, the most popular governor in America. I think she is the most qualified of any that has run recently for vice president’. When was the last time a governor was a pick on a major party ticket? I can’t even think of one in my lifetime (1967-). One heck of an endorsement, eh? But, it also resonates with Americans that the Palin pick has lowered people’s perception that McCain can make good decisions.
            A big problem I think is that McCain overlooked what I think should have been a slam dunk pick, and no one would say it was pandering (as even dyed in the wool conservatives recognize Palin as one). That would be Carly Fiorina, the former head of Hewlett Packard. She is incredibly bright and exceedingly more accomplished than Palin. I was afraid she would be picked for the ticket, because she would have brought to the campaign real knowledge, background and intelligence. Heck, if she was vice president, I sure wouldn’t be worried about McCain dying in office. Now, though, Carly’s star has been tarnished. She is forced to defend the lipstick wearing pit bull. Someone she wouldn’t even have hired as the head of the steno pool at HP.


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