This seems like a highly risky pick.
On the plus side of the ledger for McCain:
--She highlights his reform credentials. I recommend this piece we recently published on Alaska’s political culture. Palin has challenged the corrupt Ted Stevens-Don Young axis that has dominated the Republican apparatus in her state. And more than trading punches with these aging pols, she has criticized her state’s ridiculous dependence on federal monies.
--As Howard implies, this continues the McCain strategy of attempting to peel disgruntled feminists and devout Hillary supporters away from the Democrats. If you watched this week’s convention, it’s clear how much these supporters mean to the Obama campaign. That’s why they allowed the Clintons to so dominate the initial days of the convention. On the other hand, I imagine that McCain settled on this pick a couple of days ago—before Obama did an effective job of quieting the Clinton revolt.
--Based on initial reactions, it seems like the conservative
base will love her. She headed the Fellowship of
Christian Athletes. The pro-life movement will swoon over the story of her Down Syndrome child. Given McCain's muddy record on social issues, he needed to deliver this kind of gesture.
On the other side of ledger:
--Doesn’t this undermine McCain’s experience argument? He will argue thatPalin is capable of running the country. Yet, she has notably less experience than Obama.
--She has even less experience running in a national campaign. How will she react in debates, at press conferences, etc.? Has she ever really dealt with the national press corps?
--I’m not sure it compares well to the Biden pick. Instead of picking the most qualified running mate he could find, he rolled the dice. If she doesn’t really impress in her debut outings, she could be viewed as a gimmicky pick.