from being a heartbeat away from miss alaska to being a heartbeat away from the presidency

Oy, the Republican presidential nominee I thought would be the toughest for the Democrats to beat chooses the Republican vice presidential nominee I thought would be the toughest for the Democrats to beat.

Kind of takes the euphoric edge off watching my candidate give the best nomination speech of my lifetime. Maybe Palin will end up coming across as wildly inexperienced.

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

29 thoughts on “from being a heartbeat away from miss alaska to being a heartbeat away from the presidency”

  1. I agree that this is a good chocie for them to recapture the disgruntled Hillary supporters (35 and and up white women who seem to think the election is about people not ideas)

    And now either ticket is historic (although we have nominated a woman VEEP if you recall)


  2. I think she helps emphasize McCain’s maverick reputation as well. And she hunts and has a developmentally disabled child.

    My dread notwithstanding, she does seem a super risky pick. It took Obama at least six months on the campaign trail to grow into being Obama.


  3. I disagree. Sexism has the young, beautiful, beauty queen hockey mom with no political experience beat before they even get started. This was a bad move by McCain.


  4. I also think she will be a tough choice to attack successfully without further alienating an already angry wing of the Dem Party. She’s got the maverick thing going for her as well.

    I didn’t love the speech — perhaps my expectations were too high?


  5. Palin will generate a lot of favorable press initially. But three years ago, she was the mayor of a tiny town in Alaska, which kind of kills McCain’s experience argument against Obama.


  6. I think there will be plenty of ways to attack Palin without her sex entering into it. You know, which is how it should be.

    That said, I have my doubts about how well she’ll fly among Republicans. It’s a high risk/high reward strategy for McCain. If he can split the Democratic vote, great, but he might alienate his own base.


  7. Yes precisely why she is dangerous — attacking her too much pisses of the PUMAs (you know, Party Unity My Ass, the people who say they will NEVER vote for Obama because he stole the job from the qualified woman).

    The dems will have to balance squashing her (Tina you are right, she is easily squashible on substance, experience, etc) with not pissing off the pissed off democratic base further. Newsocprof is right — the balance will be hard to strike. Too wimpy and the dems can’t even beat someone who was amyor of a small town in Alaska 3 years ago. Too tough and the democrats have proved again that they hate women (I don’t believe that, I am just saying what the Republicans will say).

    So many lives at stake at home and abroad. In my lifetime the stakes have never been so high.


  8. Oh Drek, you are so cute! of course sex should not enter into it but the way it works is this:

    Dems: Legitimate critique of some bad policy of hers.
    Reps: It is unconsciounable how they are belittling this woman unfairly! They are treating her like shit because she is a woman! It is just like what they did to Hillary Clinton in the primary. The Democrats hate women.

    It is absurd, but watch, it will be real soon.

    I am having flashbacks to the Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination – like, WTF are you people thinking?!?!


  9. sbenard: Actually, that’s a great point: Dems are totally going to want to use Hillary as their top surrogate for attacking Palin. I assume she will go along with it, especially since the idea that a McCain victory would set her up for 2012 is perhaps diminished a bit with Palin now being the person who would be the sitting VP in this scenario.


  10. As a different angle, and then I really must stop obsessing about this, I wonder if the wisdom is that Palin will [bother] with feminists’ heads, but the jujitsu-meta-wisdom is that Palin will gratify conservatives who are gleeful about anything they think [bothers] with feminists’ heads.


  11. I just can’t imagine that any serious feminist (or many knowledgeable Hilary supporters) would throw their support to McCain just because his VP pick is a woman. Palin is against abortion rights and same-sex marriage. She’s not just playing at being a social conservative, as some might say McCain is; she’s a real social conservative.

    Looks like a Dan Quayle pick to me.


  12. I presume someone will get around to asking Palin whether she believes the flexible work/family arrangements, non-traditional career setup, and extensive childcare support she enjoys are things that should be made more widely available for American families in general.


  13. I think Jeremy was on to something @ 14. Palin is perhaps most dangerous because she shores up support among the uber-conservative right on social issues and the like. One of McCain’s biggest vulnerabilities was that support among social conservatives was tepid. There is a real fear that those voters might stay home. There was doubt as to whether McCain would be able to mobilize the same coalitions as Bush in 2000 and 2004. I think this move helps him with the right.

    So Palin might be dangerous for those supporting an Obama presidency not because she will bleed off Clinton supporters, or so-called PUMA’s (Is it just me or does PUMA’s make some not so great allusions to the sexist slur “cougar”?), but because she affirms his conservative credentials.


  14. Jeremy, I thought this post was tongue-in-cheek, but you’re actually serious? This is a disastrous pick for the Republicans.

    Sbenard nailed it: one of McCain’s few credible arguments was experience. Two years ago, Obama was a US senator, while Palin was the part-time mayor of an Alaskan town of 6,000 (Northern Exposure was a lovely show, though). Ten years ago, Obama was a state senator — Palin was the mayor of an Alaskan town of 6,000.

    This is a true “hail Mary” and confirms that McCain’s only hope is building a coalition of hardcore wingnuts, disaffected Hillary fans, and racists.

    Republicans will try to claim sexism when Biden destroys Palin in the debates. But Sbenard is right here again: the Dems will use Hillary, Pelosi, Sebelius, and Napolitano, among others, to do the job.

    I was expecting a 2-4 point Obama win, but this potentially pushes it back into landslide territory.


  15. So as I read more I am more and more convinced that this was a collosal failure of a pick. Who let him do this? You would think Cheney would still have enough oomph to have some effect on this.

    AT THE SAME TIME (sorry to yell, but I just had to do the same on my blog to people getting really cocky about this mistake), we cannot underestimate the Republicans. Look how everyone (including us) is talking about this today. They pulled a media coup. Are we going to pull one the night after his speech? Let’s see (GOD I hope so).

    Remember how they stole Florida, pushed a state law matter into federal court and then won? These aren’t pushovers and a boatload of the US electorate is easily swayed.

    For example, I am over chatting up some of my friends on another weboard (jazz music) about this woman. All these jazz lovers also seem to be animal lovers also and so I have pointed out that she wears fur and hunts. THAT IS ALL THEY NEED and they all vote! Luckily, Romney once tied a dog in a carrier to the top of his car and drove 12 hours or something like that so they were against him in the primary. When I thought he would pick Romney I was SURE going to remind them, but this is even better. But I digress. . .

    So be confident — and make your donations and do your canvassing also. Unless you are for McCain. And then just hang out and watch tv.


  16. Regarding the Biden-Palin debate, I don’t know. She’s a state governor, not Admiral Stockdale. People were looking forward to watching Gore trounce Bush in the debates and all it did was lower expectations of Bush’s performance to where people confused Bush’s not looking that bad with winning.


  17. Here is the most pitifully naive thing I might ever say:

    Do they actually think that women will just vote for anyone, as long as it’s a woman, even though she’s not at all like Hillary Clinton, what with being a lifetime member of the NRA, anti-choice, homophobic, against any government intervention whatsoever in health care, etc. Do they actually think that women who would have voted for Hillary Clinton would vote on a ticket with this person, just because they share the same genitals? Uh… they wouldn’t, would they?


  18. On a different note, I’d like to point out that she’s the governor of Alaska. That’s a state with population about the same as Forth Worth, TX, but less than the population of, say, Columbus, OH or Indianapolis, IN. Okay, Delaware isn’t a huge state either, but it actually has 180K more folks than Alaska. Why do I bring this up? I don’t know, it seems like something relevant to mention in terms of possible popularity. It’s not like millions of people have ever voted for her.

    Lucyloud is right, btw, it’s offensive to suggest that people would vote for someone just because of her gender. I’ve always hated those “let’s get a woman in the White House” movements that disregarded political positions. Like I care if someone’s a man or a woman if the person is anti-choice, homophobic and all the other things this woman is.

    LBN is also right, you cannot underestimate Republicans. Some of them are very smart, they won those elections somehow after all.


  19. recall that what really got large numbers of women to pay attention to Hillary was when the right wing media started their hyper-sexist coverage of her campaign. I think the right leaning media coverage of Palin is going to do something similar to turn women away from the McCain/Palin ticket. That is, the more they (insultingly) assume that women will vote for Palin simply because she is a woman, the more pissed off women are going to become. I especially think the subset of Hillary supporters who have not been that keen on Obama, even saying they were not going vote in November, will now realize the importance of voting for Obama. If I am right (and I may not be), the Palin choice could unify the democratic party in a way that no HRC speech could ever have done.


  20. One point that’s getting glossed over here: what may end up pushing more former Clinton supporters who would never vote for McCain* toward not voting at all or voting Green is if Democrats/vocal Obama supporters end up engaging in more misogyny in response to the selection of Palin, rather than attacking her policies, which are pretty much the polar opposite of what Clinton stood for. I.e., calling Palin a bimbo and making comments about her looks (“VPILF” et al.), impugning the number of children she’s chosen to have and/or her skills as a parent because she’s taken on this candidacy when she has a baby with Down’s at home, etc. It’s not only (or even primarily) the right who’s engaging in this kind of sexism, and there are already several examples of this out there with regard to Palin.

    *As an aside, it’s my opinion that the “PUMA” thing is being way overblown. I believe the majority of former Clinton supporters who aren’t enthused about Obama are more likely to stay home/vote Green, and the former Clinton supporters who now support McCain were likely moderate/right-leaning voters who chose to cross the aisle specifically to support Clinton in the primary. The PUMA hysteria (word choice intentional) seems all out of proportion to the actual numbers of people who would vote for McCain purely out of spite, and it very conveniently provides an opportunity for a sneering/scolding/”you stupid irrational women” response that many seem all too comfortable with.


  21. Yesterday in class one of my students–a McCain die-hard–suggested that Biden was a poor choice because he would be “just like Cheney” in that he has more experience and judgment than the president. This struck me as a rather novel argument, difficult to sustain in any reality-based universe but nevertheless more creative than the talking points I’d heard thus far.


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