The RPV’s changing veepstakes logic.

The RPV on the McCain naming Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate today:

“John McCain hit it out of the park with his selection of Governor Palin,” said Delegate Jeffrey M. Frederick, Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. “This is a bold, fresh, and exciting choice that clearly demonstrates that Republicans aren’t reading from a script, but giving the nation a real choice: between an inexperienced Senator running with a Washington insider; versus a true independent-minded maverick American hero running with a successful and dynamic female executive, a conservative and a reformer, who couldn’t be further from Washington-as-usual.”

The RPV on the potential for Gov. Kaine to be Obama’s running mate, six days ago:

Frederick added that Kaine’s weak leadership and lack of any signature accomplishment was too much even for Obama to ignore.

“Tim Kaine’s only virtue as a potential running mate is that he would not have overshadowed Senator Obama – as he is one politician in America less prepared to lead America than Obama himself” said Frederick. “But by every other measure, Kaine would have been a disaster for Obama: a first-term liberal governor with absolutely no accomplishments, who just abandoned his home state in the midst of a massive budget deficit to campaign for a promotion,” Frederick added.

Gov. Palin, fresh from a teeny town’s city council, with just two years as governor as one of the least populous states in the nation? Bold, fresh, exciting, successful, and dynamic. Gov. Kaine, three years into his term as governor, on the heels of four years as lieutenant governor, following a term as mayor of Richmond? Weak, first-term, no accomplishments, abandoning his home state to campaign for a promotion.

Got it?

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

34 replies on “The RPV’s changing veepstakes logic.”

  1. I think she actually is only 18 months into her term as Governor of Alaska. There was also briefly a bullet point on MSNBC or CNN about her being under investigation but I haven’t heard more about that. She is a former Miss Alaska, Governor Kaine doesn’t have that title so you see she really is more qualified….., um, not. I think this is an insult to women. There are many experienced and qualifed Republican women he could have chosen such as Kay Bailey Hutchinson, choosing this inexperienced woman is as if he is saying women are generic, it doesn’t matter which one you choose. Just my opinion. But hey, I’m happy he chose so badly :)

  2. First, Waldo…my compliments. Nice post. That’s really hard to refute, but I don’t think it diminishes the choice. I think it’s more a statement on RPV and, perhaps, political discourse in general in this country.

    Second, Alison, I love how Democrats all across are saying “I’m insulted he chose a woman.” People keep thinking he chose her for her gender; maybe I am in the minority, but I think he chose her for her qualifications. Crazy…I know…choosing people for a job based on their qualifications and not the color of their skin or the gender God created.

    And, by qualifications, I am not talking 16 years of foreign policy experience, an Ivy league education, etc. I know Palin doesn’t have that.

    What I am saying is that she has taken on special interests and won; she has refused earmarks and succeeded; she has been true in her personal life to her conservative principles; she has bucked the party system and “good ol’ boy” network and succeeded.

    I, for one, am thrilled with this pick. McCain and her will be a fresh start for this country.

    But either way, if you want to play the identity game, I am proud for America. Because, finally, we should be able to move away from that. Regardless of what happens and who wins, it will be an achievement for equal rights in America. Today is a proud day for America.

  3. It’d be nice to think that McCain picked Palin based on her record, but it isn’t reasonable to come to that conclusion.

    I called this in May in a discussion with a friend of mine (near-rabid Clinton supporter who thought it perfectly ok for disaffected Clinton voters to throw in with McCain), because it’s a smart move. A fresh-faced woman to both counteract the fresh-faced man AND try to capitalize on the brutal Dem. primary.

    Personally, I think it’s a potentially brilliant move on McCain’s part, because it’s potentially just divisive enough to swing a couple of states and just difficult enough to respond to as to flummox the Democrats.

  4. Come on now. Palin is a horrible pick for McCain. Sure she has successfully taken on bad elements of her state party, but now she is under a corruption investigation herself.

    She has no foreign policy experience, even admitting she hasn’t been paying attention to the war in Iraq. And it would be nice if this were balanced by some kind of executive experience, but I don’t think that 18 months as a governor of a small state following a tumultuous and ineffective term as a small town mayor makes someone qualified to be President. She won’t buck the special interests in Washington. She’ll be eaten alive.

    It’s a desperate grab at the fabled disaffected Hillary supporters whose numbers are greatly exaggerated and a gesture to the most right wing elements of our society. This pick basically signifies that John McCain has completely given up on moderates in his quest to become President and shows a startling lack of judgment on his part.

  5. Trust Waldo to nail the hypocrisy.

    Now let me give you the hillbilly perspective: Any doubt that the Republican Party will do anything to win the presidency, including recklessly endangering our nation with someone unfit for command is now resolved. Did you notice the “Country First” podium from which Miss Alaska Fish Camp Mayor was offered up? Orwellian. The battle line is bright, and clear; Republicans Hate America. It hasn’t been this easy since the British wore red!

  6. The main job of the vice president is to replace the president if he is no longer able to serve. John McCain is 72 years old and has multiple bouts with cancer.

    Sarah Palin may or may not have the ability to run this nation should (Gob forbid) anything happen to a President McCain.

    That in itself is a damning statement. We need to KNOW that his vice president can step in and do the job. Frankly, with Sarah Palin, we do not know.

    I hope we never have to find out.

  7. We need to KNOW that his vice president can step in and do the job. Frankly, with Sarah Palin, we do not know.

    Palin has more executive experience than Obama and Biden combined. The reaction from the left has been quite comical, actually. Whatever bounce the Dems might’ve gotten from the convention was completely negated by the Palin announcement, and her selection has the Obamalemmings pissing their pants.

    It’s going to be a fun autumn.

  8. The dude down the block that just sold me a six of Sierra Nevada has about 20 years of executive experience by your standards, Publius. Owns the place, but one of his guys didn’t show up. Someone to who isn’t afraid to his hands dirty, I think you’d cast that as. Shall we put him on the ticket, too? McCain/Singh 2008!

    What, too Brown?


    I agree it’s going to be a fun autumn, but only for those of us who take pleasure in watching people like you embarrass themselves as they smear lipstick on a pig. In the same way that I realize that not everyone sees the victories of say, PETA, in the same light that I might, you need to realize that not everyone is as batshit crazy as you and the crowd that sees Palin as anything other than an acknowledgment of the complete bankruptcy of the Republican party.

  9. A Presidential nominee’s choice of a running mate is important in that it gives the electorate an opportunity to see how that individual makes decisions and what kind of judgement the candidate has. At its core, this decision is a statement to the American people that, next to the candidate himself, this is the person most able to lead the nation.

    While there may have been, no, were, important reasons for Walter Mondale to have named a woman as his vice-presidential candidate, nobody, but nobody really believed that Geraldine Ferraro was most able to be President in the event of the death of a potential President Mondale.

    While there were political reasons for George H. W. Bush to have named Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, breathes there a soul who honestly thinks he was the most competent jurist to have been found in the land?

    No, political posturing aside, I suggest that nobody, including Sarah Palin, herself, thinks that she’s the best person, aside from John McCain, to be President of the United States. And for Senator McCain to make the risky calculation that this pick is good politics, with the knowledge that the American people may have to pay the price for his lack of judgement, we have learned something about him. It doesn’t inspire confidence.

    I’m reminded of Richard Nixon’s appointment of Harold Carswell to the Supreme Court bench. Although the nomination failed, it produced a memorable statement from Senator Roman Hruska, who, in defense of Carswell, told the Senate: “Even if he is mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they, and a little chance?”

  10. From O Brother Where Art Thou? :

    Junior: “Well people like that reform. Maybe we should get us some.”

    Pappy: “I’ll reform you, you soft-headed sonofabitch! How we gonna run reform when we’re the damn incumbent!”

  11. Publius,

    I don’t want someone to just have experience. I want someone who has done good with that experience. Palin left her town’s budget and tatters and in just a short time as governor, she is already facing a bipartisan investigation for abusing her powers. An abysmal job performance by any reasonable standards.

    The problem is that this is John McCain’s first executive decision, and he massively failed. He made a purely political calculation, and a bad one at that, without regard for the well-being of this country. And word is, he was bullied into making this pick over his own choice! He showed the poorest judgment imaginable. This is not someone I want anywhere near the red button.

    Honestly, if the unthinkable happens and the VP rises to be President, who do you want to be face to face in a showdown with Putin or Ahmadinejad? Palin or Biden? The thought of Palin on the other side of the table is simply horrifying.

  12. Come on people- Kaine would have been a joke. As for experience, an Obama-Kaine ticket would have had about as much experience as G. Washington has as the first Pres. The way I see it os Obama picked the one that he thought would bring age and government experience to balance out his lack of experience; McCain picked someone who balanced out his age and represented a historically marginalized group, something that Obama already has on his side. Both picks were strategic and make sense for the candidates. Back to Kaine- that would have been a pick that would have only been made in an attempt to carry Virginia, and Mark Warner would have been the best pick if that were the goal.

    Dan- assuming McCain could make it through four years, who would you rather face Putin- McCain or Obama? If that is all it is about, I’d pick McCain… and then Biden! Luckily, If Obama wins, I’d imagine that he wouldn’t attempt to match up with Putin in a tense situation, rather letting his Sec. of State (Hillary) handle that.

  13. “Kaine would have been a joke.”

    If that’s true and, if, as tomr suggests, Senator Obama’s only reason for choosing Governor Kaine would be to attempt to carry Virginia, then tomr has illustrated how Obama has met his first major test of judgement and leadership. Rather than choosing Kaine, he selected Senator Biden, a man who more than meets the qualification standard for a potential president. Compare that to Senator McCain’s risky political gamble with the security of the country potentially at stake.

  14. Kaine was a joke in an Obama/Kaine scenario because he would have done nothing to shore up Obama’s weaknesses. Palin is a fine choice in a McCain/Palin scenario because she helps McCain with age and his Conservative base.

    Aside: If Biden’s presence automatically negates a President Obama’s weaknesses shouldn’t McCain’s experience trump a Vice President Palin’s?

    Biden or no, Obama still lacks experience. Palin or no, McCain still has experience.

  15. Publius: I see the Republicans are all trading that little scripted lie. How predictable. You folks are suckers for a pretty fabrication.

    Don’t mistake the outrage, I trust Americans to see this reckless gamble for what it is. I’m sighting up on the people who conspired to create it. This is why I will vigorously petition for a special prosecutor in 2009. With sanction comes accountability. The sooner we lock a few of these perps up, the sooner our Republic will be safe from intentional ruin.

  16. Jason said:

    If Biden’s presence automatically negates a President Obama’s weaknesses shouldn’t McCain’s experience trump a Vice President Palin’s?

    I think this statement is the clearest example of how badly Palin defenders have to twist logic to make her selection make sense. If we presume that what they say is true, that McCain is a strong, experienced candidate in the way that Biden is as well and Obama is not, then why on earth would they pick a weak, inexperienced candidate to compliment McCain? Why not select another strong, experienced candidate to create an unstoppable ticket that Obama and Biden can’t match? Unless, of course, their argument is just for show and they know her selection was just to draw attention away from Obama’s speech and to try to poach dissatisfied Clintonites…

  17. Folks, if Palin is, as some of you claim, “a joke” of a candidate, then Barry O’ is no less of a joke. Of Obama’s 170-odd days in the U.S. Senate, 130-something have been spent campaigning for President. And the majority of his infrequent votes in the Senate were neither yes or no, but rather “present.”

    Palin is at least as qualified, if not more so, to be POTUS than Barack Obama. But seriously, I’m not surprised at all by the backlash from the far left (which most of y’all represent). It’s a natural reaction to lash out when you fear something.

    Many people place moral foundation, good judgment, and natural leadership ability above all other qualifications when choosing any executive, especially elected ones. In this area, Palin is clearly head and shoulders above any of the other three candidates. Make no mistake, there are many, many voters who would prefer Palin was at the top of the ticket, but we’ll take what we can get.

    I look forward to seeing how many PUMA Hillary folks she draws off… almost as much as watching her onstage with Biden.

  18. As I watch the Republican operatives enthusing over Sarah Palin as the perfect candidate for the heartbeat-away-from-the-Presidency position, I imagine each of them being asked the same question after knocking back a few stiff drinks.

    Interesting mental exercise, and it makes watching these shows a bit more palatable.

    (I’m referring, of course, to imagining, not to knocking back a few stiff drinks. Although…)

  19. WJ,

    The R’s comparing Kaine in Richmond and Palin in Moose Nose is absurd. Comparing running VA and AK equally so. Is there no “executive stuff” we can give to Gov. Kaine for his time as Gov/Lt. Gov/Mayor?

    Oh that’s right we’re Dems, not the chosen…


  20. The biggest difference is that the D ticket puts inexperience at the helm while R puts it #2. Another big difference is concerns on health and age. Palin is a concern to those who fear McCain’s age and health is in question. People who don’t fall into the agist trap aren’t as concerned.

  21. If I was hiring someone for a mid-level position at my white-collar job, I’d want to see one of the following before they even get an interview: at least a couple years of applicable experience, a relevant advanced degree, or really stellar outside experience.

    I don’t see why I should set the bar any lower for a vice president.

    My issue with Palin isn’t that she’s inexperienced, it’s that she’s not experienced, inspired, or particularly well educated.

    And to the Republicans who insist that Palin is more experienced than Obama: bullshit. You can say “executive experience” but I can say “foreign policy experience” and suddenly Obama is much better suited (Foreign Relations Committee). Obama had over 600,000 constituents during his years in the Illinois state legislature; Palin’s major accomplishment up until 18 months ago was being mayor of a town of around 6500, approximately a third the size of Waynesboro.

    For those of you who like the Palin pick, can you honestly say that you hadn’t previously criticized Obama’s amount of experience? Can you tell me that you disagreed when Del. Frederick and Karl Rove criticized Tim Kaine’s lack of experience? This isn’t a rhetorical question, I’m actually wondering.

  22. For those of you who like the Palin pick, can you honestly say that you hadn’t previously criticized Obama’s amount of experience?

    I oppose Obama not because he’s inexperienced, but rather because he’s whacked out, left wing commie pinko.

  23. Waldo-

    So many are so quick to point out Palin’s inexperience but are unwilling to concede Obama’s inexperience. I’m sure McCain feels good about his pick, even though she has no national political experience. Maybe he’s gambling that Obama will lay low on the inexperience issue based on his time served and his voting record.
    I do think that if Kaine had been nominated, the same posts attacking Palin would be singing Kaine’s praises; THAT was my point. Anyway, it would be pretty foolish of one to think that any McCain VP nominee would not be looked on negatively in this forum. Sorry for not making myself clear.

  24. It’s not about Ms. Alaska-Fish-Camp-Mayor. She is a ringer. It’s about McCain. The Hero, has been revealed as a reckless gambler. And his Party has decided to join him – rolling the dice with America’s future. I’m ready for that debate and I’ll win it.

    I spent last evening with nearly 500 fired-up Democrats in Rockingham County, sitting next to a physician. We discussed the prognosis for a 72 year old, two-time melanoma survivor and it convinced me that McCain is a fool in denial about his responsibilities to the nation.

  25. I. Publius,

    I appreciate your ad hominems and false characterization, but you didn’t answer the question: can you honestly say that you had you not previously criticized his relative inexperience and that you disagreed with the characterizations made by Rove and Del. Fredrick about Kaine?

    I know that conservatives’ distaste for Obama has nothing to do with experience or lack thereof, and that’s fine. I’m just trying to see if anyone is willing to claim that they’re not hypocrites.

  26. Ben – You are comparing apples to oranges. Kaine’s weaknesses are more relevant given Obama’s and that Kaine would have been merely a political choice, not a policy one. Obama needed a policy guy to back him up and that’s what Biden does.

    McCain, strong and experienced enough on policy, did not have to shore up anything with his choice but his political weaknesses, which Palin addresses. Palin’s weaknesses are only a problem if you’re going to discriminate against McCain’s age.

  27. Jason,

    I’m operating under the strange assumption that the VP nominee should be ready to lead as well because men younger than McCain have died after a month in office.

    In fact, in most situations where the VP takes over for more than the duration of a colonoscopy, he or she does not have the benefit of a VP and is usually taking over in the middle of a crisis.

    That is all to say, while Kaine’s weaknesses may be relevant because of Obama’s perceived weaknesses, so too are Palin’s relevant due to McCain’s weaknesses (in this case, age and history of cancer).

  28. I’m a little late to the conversation, but my view is that the striking difference between Obama and Palin on the experience argument is that Obama has been firmly in the public eye for an extended period and presented a long, substantive platform of policy proposals. Palin hasn’t had a lot of exposure on the national stage thus far and her personal political beliefs and stances on policy issues are pretty unknown. Republicans can call it ageist to discuss what happens if McCain dies in office, but that’s a reality that should be addressed for any candidate, regardless of age. The truth is that we really have very little idea of Palin’s views on foreign policy, the economy, health care, infrastructure and the like. She will now automatically adopt McCain’s policy positions as his VP, but what would happen if she were to take over the Oval Office? How would she deal with Putin or Iran? How would she handle the burgeoning health care crisis? Those are questions that I think we can answer about Obama, McCain and Biden, regardless of how we feel about the answers. I don’t know how Palin would necessarily answer those questions and that concerns me.

  29. I notice that until Palin came along, conservatives were NOT defining “experience” as “experience in an executive branch only,” because, of course, McCain has never governed anything either — he’s been a legislator, like Obama.

    But as soon as Palin appears, “experience” has to suddenly be equated with “executive experience” in order to bolster this claim that she’s somehow more experienced than Obama. So suddenly we’re not interested in “leadership” generally considered, or experience working in the real world, or engagement with policy — nope, all along the only thing we ever cared about was holding an executive position! Honestly, it’s true! (Until the next hot Republican prospect comes along from a legislative background, that is…)

  30. I forget where it was, but someone made the point that Palin’s youth shores up McCain’s “age problem.” That’s true in the sense that everyone is talking about how John McCain has an age problem, to wit: he’s had cancer numerous times, he would be the oldest president in American history, and while I certainly wish him good health, wishing don’t necessarily make it so: he’s far and away more likely to die of natural causes while in office than almost any past President we’ve had. Obama primarily had to nominate a partner; McCain’s pick has a greater likely of being a successor. We thus have to spend a lot more time thinking about this fish monger’s qualifications to be the President than we do, say, Joe Biden. And thank God she lives close to Russia, is under 45 and has been on the cover of Vogue, am I right?

    Of course, while the age argument referenced above is true in the sense that I’ve described, it’s not exactly true in the “politically helpful” sense.

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