New York Post; by Kirsten Powers; August 30, 2008
SHE’S just a beauty queen.
She’s another Dan Quayle.
Following McCain’s announcement of Palin – the first female to be put on a GOP ticket for the White House, and only the second in US history – the Obama campaign skipped the niceties and blasted her as the “former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience.” She’s also a governor of Alaska (my home state), the first woman in that office and the youngest elected in state history. She has an 80-plus percent approval rating. She has turned the state upside down with her reformist zeal and has made enemies of the Republican establishment.
And she can talk energy policy, one of the biggest issues facing this country.
Is she a gamble? Definitely. But so is Barack Obama, who has himself dismissed experience as a prerequisite for leadership, despite his spot atop the Democratic ticket.
At this point, Palin is so unknown, there’s no way to make a clear judgment about her. But listening to Obama supporters take to the airwaves to shriek with indignation about her lack of experience is just a little too rich. Where were they when Obama, two years into the Senate, announced his candidacy for president?
One Obama supporter and political operative blogged, “In picking an unknown, untested half-a-term governor from Alaska . . . John McCain is following in a long line of reckless men who have rolled the dice for a beauty queen.”
Do we really have to do this again?
No sooner was Hillary Rodham Clinton out of the race, and a new woman is in the cross hairs.
On CNN, during a discussion about whether it was appropriate for Palin to accept this job when she has a baby, Dana Bash pointed out it’s unlikely anyone would ask this of a male candidate.
I can’t help wondering if this is a trap. The McCain camp watched and learned as Obama supporters offended Hillary supporters by their treatment of her. The McCainiacs had to know that this group is incapable of behaving, that Palin would bring out their worst instincts.
One top Republican said to me: “Just wait until she is debating Joe Biden and he starts attacking or condescending to her. Hillary voters are going to say, ‘Oh yeah, I remember this.’ ”
The McCain camp has already made clear it stands at the ready to scoop up these voters. Yesterday, Palin proudly acknowledged her historic selection, the candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton and the woman who paved the way for her, Geraldine Ferraro.
Ferraro told me she’s excited for another woman to be on a presidential ticket. She sees Palin as a risky choice – but also dismissed the idea that she’s unqualified.
And she rejected the idea that all the so-called “Hillary voters” would be repelled by Palin’s staunch anti-abortion views. These voters know the Senate will have a veto-proof Democratic majority, so that lessens the potency of that issue.
Howard Wolfson, Hillary’s top strategist, said “it won’t help with most Hillary voters, but it could help with some.”
“Some” of 18 million people is what the McCain camp is after.
The other potential trap is luring the Obama campaign onto the “experience” field. The early conventional wisdom says McCain’s pick was boneheaded because it takes the experience issue off the table. But it seems that it has done the opposite: The importance of experience is the topic of the day.
The more Democrats complain about this, the more Republicans can turn it on them and say, “If you are so concerned about the amount of experience of the vice president, what about the top of your ticket?”
Obama’s argument thus far has been that experience isn’t what counts; it’s judgment. By attacking the Republican woman relentlessly on this issue, Democrats are undermining their own man.