Kathy Petersen’s Blog

Did Sarah Palin help or hurt McCain’s bid?

Posted in politics by Kathy on November 7, 2008

I know that there were many people who did not like his choice for many reasons:

  • she is female, and “women should be keepers at home, so I can’t vote for him”
  • her experience was questionable (although I daresay she gave Obama a run for his money in this category, but of course the media found him eminently qualified with all of his months of experience)
  • while confident in several settings (prepared speeches, especially the RNC), she seemed too nervous or tense in others
  • it was merely a political choice, to try to get more female vote, and “we women are too smart to fall for that, and we’re insulted that you would attempt it” (despite the fact that more than one Hillary supporter tried to rally more women to her cause in the waning days of her bid simply because she also was female)
  • she was too conservative (but who are we fooling? Those who think she is too conservative were probably going to vote Obama anyway)

Perhaps there are others, but these are the ones that spring to mind. So, she may have cost him a few votes. Was it enough to make him lose? Tough question. The thing is, he could have picked far worse.

Had he chosen a white male, the media (and most certainly the Obama campaign) would have made much of the fact that it was just “politics as usual”, that Republicans didn’t offer anything new, yada, yada, yada. So, yes, I agree that his choice of Sarah Palin was more because she was a woman — to “shake things up a bit” perhaps — than because of what she brought to the ticket on other issues. Because he certainly could have found another governor with her qualifications and then some — my Governor, Haley Barbour (from Mississippi — yes, he’s a man, despite that “Haley” is almost always a female name nowadays!), was probably as strong a conservative as she was, and with much more experience, too.

Had he picked a someone like Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, J.C. Watts, Alan Keyes, or some other prominent person who was not white, he could have similarly “shaken things up” while choosing someone with more experience than Palin, and perhaps not running into some of the issues that were raised. (Of course, with the media in the tank for Obama, they would’ve found something else to complain about.)

Had McCain chosen some of the people whose names had been kicked around as possible VP candidates — Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Joe Lieberman (it would’ve been fun to have had two Joes for VP candidates — can’t you just imagine the debate? — “Say it ain’t so, Joe!” “No, Joe, I do say it’s so!”), or others who were on the liberal side of certain social issues — he certainly would have lost much of his base. As it was, he had to struggle to hold onto them, with a strong pro-life running mate. I, for one, could not have voted for him if he had picked one of those men.

When is it that Republicans are going to realize that the problem is not that they are too conservative — it’s that they’re not conservative enough?? I voted for McCain, reluctantly, because I was more worried about an Obama presidency than a McCain presidency. But elections are not won on “beating the other guy” — they’re won on “voting for your guy.” This was proven in all of the elections I can remember (from Clinton’s first win on). I especially think about Bob Dole’s unsuccessful bid in ’96 — he never energized his base — those that voted for him primarily did so because he was the only one with a chance to beat Clinton. It’s a case of “Elect me, just because I’m not him,” and it doesn’t work.

One of McCain’s problems was that he was too liberal, and turned off a lot of his base. Part of that was re-energized with Palin’s candidacy — she brought a lot of spirit back to the Republican Party. Yeah, she turned off a few of the base, I’m sure; and with the help of the nonstop barrage from the media drove a few more independents away, but I think she probably helped him more than she hurt him. He hurt himself more than she hurt him, I’ll say that! Conservatives didn’t like the choice between the liberal candidate and the more-liberal candidate, plain and simple.

My hope now is that these next four years won’t be too bad, and at the end of them, a true conservative (following in the footsteps of Reagan) will emerge to run for President and win.


3 Responses

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  1. sauer kraut said, on November 7, 2008 at 2:43 am

    Palin hurt McCain’s campaign not because she is female but because she’s lacking upstairs. And by that, I do not mean boobs. She is a boob. It’s scary to think anyone chosen to be VP answers questions as if she had failed basic high school civics.

    And then there are all those ethical and tax problems up in Alaska.

    With all the talent in this country, male and female, was she really the best choice for the GOP ticket?

  2. Kathy said, on November 7, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    As opposed to Joe Biden who after more than 3 decades in the U.S. Senate didn’t know which Article of the Constitution referred to the VP’s duties??

    And this of course doesn’t mention all the ethical and monetary problems from Obama breaking his word and going back on his previously stated positions numerous times, as well as his probably taking donations from people who were not legally able to give them and who also gave more than they were legally allowed? (Click here for a short post on how Obama twice promised to limit his campaign contributions, then reneged after McCain accepted public funds, limiting his own campaign’s ability to accept more donations.) I rather suspect that the Obama Presidency will follow in the moral and ethical footsteps of the Clinton Presidency, sadly. I just hope Obama can keep his pants on — in the Oval Office, especially. It bothers me that so many people only hear a fraction of the truth from the mainstream media, and so many other newsworthy stories are covered up, glossed over, and/or treated lightly.

    All that said, I agree with you that she was probably not the best choice, but I think she was a better pick than some, and that she overall helped more than hurt.

  3. matt said, on March 5, 2009 at 2:30 am

    McCain would have won or at least stood a much better chance of winning if he had chosen condaliza rice over palin.

    well known unknown
    black White
    experienced inexperienced
    non-hated now-hated

    i dunno, the choice is pretty obvious to me

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