Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is preparing to give the most important acceptance speech by any Vice Presidential candidate in American history tonight. Now it is>"/>
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is preparing to give the most important acceptance speech by any Vice Presidential candidate in American history tonight. Now it is easy for those of us in the media to get caught up in superlatives. And every time there’s a national election, it’s the “most important in history”.
Usually the hype is a crock. Especially coverage of the Veepstakes.
Let’s face it. Electorally, who a candidate is for Vice President doesn’t matter. George H.W. Bush won in 1988 despite having Dan Quayle. This was after Lloyd Bensten (whom the Democrats should have nominated for President that year) disabused the Indiana Senator of any similarities he might have shared with a certain friend of his.
The political landscape is littered with the failed aspirations of would-be second bananas. Walter Mondale, Geraldine Ferraro, Joe Lieberman, John Edwards, Jack Kemp, Admiral James Stockdale, Nelson Rockefeller, Spiro Agnew, William E. Miller, “Sargent” Shriver.
Even Vice Presidents who have been in office, Quayle, Hubert Humphrey, Al Gore and Dick Cheney became presidential dead-ends. The only two exceptions have been Bush the Elder and Richard Nixon. Let it be noted that Tricky Dick 1.0, running as Dwight Eisenhower’s Veep, lost in 1960 and was forced into political exile for eight years.
In the past five decades, only two candidates for Vice President have made a difference in an election. Sen. Lyndon Johnson delivered Texas for Jack Kennedy in 1960. And the choice of Bush 41 allied liberal “Rockefeller” Republicans to Ronald Reagan's conservative and evangelical base in 1980.
The legacy will continue with Sen. Joe Biden. Whether Barack Obama wins or loses in November, all of America knows that, short of a national tragedy, Biden will never be President. Not when Hillary Clinton and other far more qualified and younger Democratic candidates are waiting in the wings.
That leaves Palin, a hockey mom, who can field dress a moose in the morning and take on corrupt members of her own party under the midnight sun.
When John McCain was vetting his Number 2, the most important qualification was selecting someone who would energize the Republican base behind him. Months after securing the nomination, Republicans were still apathetic and even antagonistic to the former naval aviator. Here in Washington, for example, Republican candidates and political operators were openly telling crowds of Republicans not to even bother donating money or volunteering for the presidential race; focus their attention instead on the Governor’s, or Attorney Generals or Eighth Congressional races.
The selection of Palin has changed that attitude overnight. Try to find a conservative talk show hust, Republican politician or GOP delegate that isn't pulling for Palin.
Her selection was obviously a calculated risk but it is one that has filled the inside straight dealt to the Arizona Maverick. She's the wild card in a deck filled with stereotypical conservative white guys.
And Palin brings something they can never hope to match. The first factor, which can never be understated, is the woman is an absolute babe. If McCain wins the election, Palin will become the country’s first VPILF. And for blue collar workers, NASCAR Dads and self-proclaimed rednecks, this is a compliment.
Not to be underestimated is the fact that she’s the only candidate in the race with actual executive experience. Democrats have already poo-pooed her credentials saying she’s only governor of a state with 670,000 people, about a third that of King County. But it’s also a state that is separated and bordered by two foreign countries (Canada, Russia) and possesses significant petroleum reserves. Keeping tabs on international fishing treaties and creating tax incentives for residents hit by high energy costs aren’t insignificant accomplishments.
When she speaks tonight she will have to either directly, or obliquely, address the problem of experience which supposedly she lacks while contrasting herself with Obama whom the obvious comparisons are made.
Every time the issue of experience is brought up, it erodes the empty slogans of “Hope” and “Change” and “Yes We Can”.
What needn’t be addressed are the two non-issues currently engaging the national media.
The governor’s 17-year old daughter is prego. Big whoop.
The other issue is the bizarre anti-feminist argument that has been bandied about since Friday, that a mother of five, with a four-month old child with special needs, shouldn’t advance her political career. You can almost hear Democratic pundits demanding that she take her bitch-ass back in the kitchen and make some pie.
Let the national media, Democrats and their auxiliaries in the progressive blogosphere paint themselves into the corner by being Puritanical prudes. The backlash is already happening. Conservative and independent women aren't going to sit around and let one of their sisters be dragged through the mud night and day.
Eight is Enough: For the past two weeks, the saddest panda of all has to be Barack Obama. He gave the political speech of a lifetime last Thursday, only to have it upstaged by some upstart from Wasilla, Alaska. This comes after his debutante ball being ruined by the Clintons who upstaged him at the Democratic National Convention all week.
For those playing the Obama Drinking Game, during his acceptance speech, the score is 16 drinks for mentioning “Change”, 4 shots for “Hope” and 1 mixed cocktail for harkening back to his days as a community organizer in Chicago.
The best line of all, however, was his homage to Dick Van Patten.