Imagine The GOP Convention Without Sarah Palin

In the aftermath of the desultory Republican convention, particularly John McCain's awful speech, I think we can say with some conviction that the best thing John McCain has done politically in the last week is choose Sarah Palin as his running mate.

The McCain confidant and informal advisor Mike Murphy condemned the choice and perennial Republican blowhard Peggy Noonan proclaimed the race "over" as a result of the pick. It is clear now that if McCain had not picked Palin it would be absolutely over. Murphy wrote:

About the loneliest precinct in the GOP these days is the one reserved for troublesome Republicans who think Gov. Sarah Palin was a poor VP choice, even after The Speech. Well, here I am. Hello? Anybody else? Wow, there is a big echo in hereÖ In my postings here and my appearances on NBC Iíve made the case that as far as helping John McCain win the election is concerned, the choice of Gov. Sarah Palin is a mixed bag. McCain get's a fellow reformer, but also pays the very heavy price of making a pick I think will only play well among the Republican base he already has.

Today, after Gov. Palinís much applauded speech, my doubts remain. Again, itís not that I donít find her appealing. . . . What I donít like is the effect I think Palin will ultimately have on the ticket. With all her charm, she is still a pick aimed squarely at the Republican base. In a high turnout Presidential year, I am not worried about turning out the base. Iím worried about everybody else we need to win and I fear that among those voters, Sarah Palin will be a dud.

(Emphasis supplied.) As I wrote yesterday, I think the speech the McCain campaign had Palin deliver was a mistake, but Murphy really has no understanding of the importance of base enthusiasm, ESPECIALLY in high turnout elections. It is not surprising then that Murphy is the Bob Shrum of Republican presidential politics - he never wins.

After the worst nomination acceptance speech I have ever seen, it is clear that the John McCain campaign would be dead today if not for Sarah Palin. And the reason is John McCain is a ridiculously bad politician. McCain is truly a Media creation. If not for the fact that he has gotten the best press of any politician not named Barack Obama for the last 10 years, he would be a mediocre Senatorial footnote.

Without his Media base, and, make no mistake, Barack Obama is the Media Darling of this race, John McCain is nothing politically. Indeed, John McCain will be best known for selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate. Because he is going to be crushed in November.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    Murphy and Noonan were caught out being themselves
    and what else could he do

    It was a setup (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by goldberry on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:19:25 AM EST
    to lower expectations for Palin.  Worked like a charm.  

    BTD (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:28:54 AM EST
    I have been mulling over what you wrote yesterday. While I agree with it mostly, I think you missed something. Where Palin was extremely effective was making a cultural appeal to voters. This is the thing a lot of Dems overlook or miss altogether.

    Yes, she didn't make an economic appeal but neither really is Obama.

    All in all, from what I've seen Palin really delivered for the GOP and Obama has made a huge mistake going after her initially.

    Yeah, McCain's speech was boring but does it make a difference? I guess we'll see.

    Hoe long did Obama (none / 0) (#74)
    by Faust on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:46:37 AM EST
    "go after her"? For an hour? His campaign was pretty excellent about Palin compared to everyone else.

    Would almost be as bad for the GOP (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by barryluda on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:37:24 AM EST
    as TL without BTD.

    Welcome back!

    true that (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:15:44 AM EST
    I read that as you saying... (none / 0) (#101)
    by Oje on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 11:20:41 AM EST
    BTD's work is good for the GOP. That seems insulting... Correct me if that is not your meaning.

    Not my meaning at all (none / 0) (#111)
    by barryluda on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 12:37:46 PM EST
    My point was supposed to be just that I'm really glad BTD is posting again, with J.

    I certainly didn't mean BTD posting is good for the GOP, nor did I mean (and just see now how it might be seen that way) to compare J to McCain.  I've enjoyed all that J and BTD have written since I started to read this blog during the Clinton/Obama race and TL quickly became my favorite blog.  I now am happy to see some good political commentary also coming from TChris (I just didn't hear much from TChris before now; maybe I just missed it).

    In short, I was just trying to make relevant an off topic post about how much I appreciate BTD (and J and, now, TChris).


    Imagine the GOP convention (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Steve M on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:47:59 AM EST
    if Sarah Palin had actually said something of substance, instead of just repeating one high-school level jibe about Obama after another.  It's hard to believe people see greatness in that.

    Oh, wait, there was also the point where she rattled off a list of foreign countries to prove her deep understanding of foreign policy.  That was convincing.

    Not that I disagree with this post, of course.  I think we agree in all respects.

    Yes (none / 0) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:53:15 AM EST
    The speech McCain had Palin give was not the right one.

    By the way (none / 0) (#41)
    by Steve M on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:04:10 AM EST
    I think we have seen who the real cultists are this week.  Creepy stuff.

    Explain (none / 0) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:04:46 AM EST
    The GOP convention (none / 0) (#45)
    by Steve M on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:09:25 AM EST
    doesn't nominate candidates, it creates deities.  They were the same with Bush in 2004, when they said he had been sent by God to lead us.

    These people are now talking about Sarah Palin in the same breath with Ronald Reagan.  I find the hardcore Republicans to be cultists in the extreme.


    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by eric on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:24:15 AM EST
    I don't know if cult is the right word, but it is something close.  It is somewhere between following the leader of your high school clique and worshiping the next great culture warrior.

    I have a Republican acquaintance who has commented that Sara Palin could be the American version of Margaret Thatcher.  I kid you not.

    Another Republican thinks that she was so "tough" that the "Obamacrats" should be afraid.  This is from a guy that is about the biggest sexist that I know.  I don't think any of this is hyperbole - I think they believe it.

    U-S-A!  U-S-A!  Yikes.


    There is a reason that (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by Faust on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:39:15 AM EST
    Christian fundamentalists are part of the GOP coalition. Sarah Palin was chosen in part FOR THEM. It's not just a cult of personality. It's the cult of fundamentalist religion.

    One can argue that both sides get passionately "religious" about their candidates. Ardent Hillary and Obama supporters showed us this crazed dynamic during the primaries.  But I think undergiding the GOP is a special explicit love of the irrational that takes the dynamic one step farther.


    AMEN! nt (none / 0) (#51)
    by tres on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:15:09 AM EST
    Count me in; they have become a cult. (none / 0) (#58)
    by Lil on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:23:48 AM EST
    It is the myth that (none / 0) (#64)
    by MKS on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:28:31 AM EST
    they have to have.  If the image is good, they can ignore reality quite well.....

    Reagan was about image--restoring America's sense of self.....concrete issues not so much, and results not really.

    Kathryn Lopez wrote that McCain was now leading a religious revival....And the social conservatives are (were) so close to actually being permanently defeated and withdrawing from organized political activity.



    They pride themselves (none / 0) (#78)
    by MKS on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:49:58 AM EST
    in a weird way in denying reality.  Denying reality is how they view religious faith.  It is about the heaven they can't see.....about having faith.

    They need and get validation of their personal religious faith by having a government that goes by faith too, rather than by facts.

    The facts do not matter much to religious conservatives--especially if there is something contra the facts that they can have faith in.  They believe in faith not facts....If you make them see the facts, they see that as threatening their religious faith.  

    The really dangerous religious conservatives can use facts to create arguments to give a patina of reason to what they do--but they do not rely on reason or facts....they are just tools to be manipulated....and to manipulate.

    Now they have a religious heroine....That is all they needed....No pretense of ability or track record is needed.

    The most effective thing in piercing the religious conservatives' armor that I have seen was The Da Vinci Code.....as told to me in e-mail correspondence by a Pastor who was trying to debunk it in a prominent political blog...That seemed so odd to me....


    Meh (none / 0) (#66)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:29:44 AM EST
    all political parties play that game.

    Cult of Personality is not just for Communists.


    But when combined with (none / 0) (#80)
    by MKS on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:53:21 AM EST
    religious fervor, it becomes very powerful and hard to puncture....

    And certainly (none / 0) (#106)
    by Jeannie on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 11:28:48 AM EST
    not just for Republicans!

    It was a pep rally talk. That's all it was. (none / 0) (#71)
    by ctrenta on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:39:18 AM EST

    Isn't that what George W. Bush was know for, cheerleading? Just because she can give a good talk, doesn't mean she (or anyone for that matter) is still the right person for the job.

    I just don't think great speeches... (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by cosbo on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:50:13 AM EST
    winning the debates,or even being a great politician is enough to win elections. What seems to win or lose elections is...

    1. Character
    2. Dirt

    What kind of character and can we live with his dirt?

    From my perspective, the GOP so far has been easy on Obama. I think the McCain strategy seems to be keeping it close to Obama in the polls and then start with the gutter politics towards the end of the campaign.

    I just don't believe we're seeing the GOP's hand clearly. Something feels really off in this election.

    Imagine the DNC Convertion without Hillary,Bill (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by delacarpa on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:50:49 AM EST
    is also something that we must consider. Where would Obama be with the women voters that finally decided to back Obama. Sarah Palin also sealed the base of McCain as did Hillary for the DNC. We will see all the polls soon and once again it could a fight to the finish.

    It would have been bad (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:52:12 AM EST
    So it sure would have been smarter (5.00 / 2) (#95)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 10:56:20 AM EST
    of Obama to put Bill Clinton in prime time.

    Imagine the larger audience that would have brought that night.  Now, I can't even remember who got the prime time slot.

    Of course, it also would have been smarter for Obama to not be so obstreperous about putting the Clintons on the convention docket in the first place.  


    Caveat ... (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:52:17 AM EST
    I think McCain's speech was an attempt to fight the most enduring criticism he receives.  That he's the grumpy old man of the race.

    The image of him that's effectively ridiculed here.

    Not sure that works.  In a race of Mr. Wilson vs. Dennis the Menace, Mr. Wilson might win.

    But it did implicitly strike at an Obama weakness: That he's young and cocksure.  Especially when McCain cast his POW experience as stripping him of that aspect in himself.

    Of course this doesn't really fit his biography.  McCain returned from Vietnam as cocksure as ever, boozing and womanizing and finally dumping his disfigured wife for a richer, prettier model.

    But since he showed his "maverick" side in the pick of Palin, maybe he needed this "awful speech" to fill out the week.  

    Come now (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:55:31 AM EST
    that speech was just plain awful.

    Did I say it was a good speech? (none / 0) (#46)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:10:53 AM EST
    That wasn't my point.

    it was pretty awful (none / 0) (#48)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:14:00 AM EST
    I would say it was a D + for an acceptance (none / 0) (#57)
    by Exeter on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:23:40 AM EST
    speech, but a "B" for McCain and this race.  His top goal at this convention was to solidfy his very fractured base and he did that.  Yes, he could have reached out to independents more and let them know that the "old McCain" is back, but "candidate McCain" must be the one that delivered that speech to solidify the base.  

    I have a feeling McCain is planning on going to the middle now, but the plan is to do it after the convention.


    oh I agree (none / 0) (#65)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:29:18 AM EST
    and I think there was no real effort to compete with Obama in oratory.
    it would counter one of their best arguments.
    I didnt think McCain did all that badly really.
    but I thought it was sort of rambling. I  heard a comment last night from someone that I thought was dead on.
    it was a quote from Oscar Wilde I think that said something like the worst thing about this book is that front cover and the back cover were to far apart.  or something like that.
    it was long.

    heh (none / 0) (#76)
    by Faust on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:48:43 AM EST
    it would counter one of their best arguments.

    You mean the one that they don't apply to Sarah Palin?


    Sara Palin (none / 0) (#83)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:57:41 AM EST
    is a pretty good orator but thats not what I mean.
    but of course you know that.

    America has as much a history ... (none / 0) (#94)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 10:52:04 AM EST
    of rejecting skilled orators for the Presidency as it has of accepting them.

    I've always agreed with those who say that Obama's appeal is more Adlai Stevenson than JFK.

    And if McCain's speech communicated that he's dull in the manner of Ike, he might have reached some people.

    Though Ike is before my time.  He's in the living memory of a large portion of the voting population.

    The dramatic effectiveness of the anticlimax is often underestimated.  And that's chiefly what I was trying to say.


    So sad, BTD (5.00 / 4) (#49)
    by goldberry on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:14:35 AM EST
    If anyone is going to get crushed in November, it's going to be Obama.  
    He was in York, PA yesterday and OH the day before.  Let me tell you a little something about York.  It is in the PA bible belt but it went overwhelmingly for Hillary.  My sister and brother, both fundagelicals live there.  They were both able to put aside their distaste for the abortion issue and get behind Hillary.  Now, she's no longer in the race and Sarah Palin comes out and Bam! they're right back into the Republican camp.  Obama could have won them if he hadn't come off like such an arrogant snob.  He might have gotten them if he had offered Clinton the VP slot.  There was a fragment of hope that if he'd let the convention go on as it should have in a fair, honest and transparent manner, he could have won their votes.  But he gave them nothing.  Nothing by scorn.  
    So out comes Sarah and she panders to their social conservative values and they're gone.  Seeyalatertater!  
    He will never win those voters back and now he's got a problem.  He's pissed off so many people that instead of campaigning in CO and VA, he's going to fricking York, PA to make sure he doesn't lose PA.  PA should be a state that he doesn't have to worry about and yet, there he is in York.  
    He's finished, BTD.  Darragh Murphy said he would be done in by the Republicans by the end of September but he's speeding things along.  I give him another week.  

    Heh (none / 0) (#60)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:24:55 AM EST
    Right. (none / 0) (#107)
    by Jeannie on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 11:32:33 AM EST
    And the negative ads haven't even started. It has been mild so far. Just wait until the real nasty stuff begins - maybe next week.

    you heard it here first (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by rise hillary rise on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:25:17 AM EST
    the narrative for this race will not be Obama vs McCain, but Obama vs Palin. Biden is irrelevant. the media will watch Hillary and see what she does.

    agree with what you wrote BTD, but I will go farther and say that if McCain wins it will be because of Palin, and only because of her.  and a large part of the credit for her success so far was the widespread panic and sexist attacks coming from the left, which cemented her as a hero to the hard right. this was a huge mistake.

    things they like about her:
    she comes across as tough, smart and attractive.
    her femininity doesn't challenge "traditional" men. but she is as tough as they are.
    she embodies "republican family values" (yes even the pregnant daughter)
    even though I disagree with her on practically everything, it's hard not to kinda like her "spunkiness" so to speak.

    she puts an appealing face to some appalling stuff. her "brand" can paper over the Bush legacy, at least long enough to get these clowns into office.

    I really wish that I could support the democratic ticket.

    Sarah Palin keeps the spotlight (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:49:06 AM EST
    shining on the issue of whether Barack Obama's resume is substantial enough to trust him as President.

    in a nut shell... (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:54:13 AM EST
    I think this was the swiftboating of this campaign.  

    tey can also use attacks (none / 0) (#110)
    by isaac on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 12:22:21 PM EST
    on her to respond with obama dirt they would look bad bringing up first, esp. the AIP stuff; oh yeah: what about ayers?, etc

    Biden will be riding the rails (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 10:00:53 AM EST
    Amtrack express.  Man was that the dumbest narrative in history or what.

    She's George Bush 2.0 (none / 0) (#79)
    by Faust on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:52:41 AM EST
    Intelligent, female version of GB imo. People found GB "appealing" in 2k as well. Heck lots of people find Obama "appealing." God save us from appealing politicians.

    Or for a more intelligent (none / 0) (#99)
    by Faust on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 11:17:32 AM EST
    and sophisticated theory of historical recapitulation, see: Perlstein

    Sen. McCain took a gamble (none / 0) (#88)
    by Politalkix on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 10:09:37 AM EST
    Let us see how it plays out in 2008. If McCain-Palin somehow win, I think Republicans will retain the Presidency for the next 8-12 years. Gov. Palin will then crush Sen. Clinton or any other Democrat in 2012 or 2016. If McCain-Palin wins, IMO, the political backdrop for future elections will be very different compared to those in 2008, 2000, 1996, 1992. Cold War II will start in 2009 (in addition to the ongoing "War on Terror" against "Islamofascism"). Palin would be Reagan II. Progressives will have a much smaller playing field in the future, the country would move invariably to the right. Conservative and neoconservative domination of the culture war would be total.
    I am however an optimist. The elections in 2008 will be close; however I still believe that at the end Obama-Biden will pull through.

    I'm bookmarking your prediction (5.00 / 2) (#92)
    by Roz on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 10:30:42 AM EST
    and will come back after the election.

    As a genuine independent voter (hate parties, hate politics, and have developed what can only be described as a morbid fascination with political blogs) who has always voted for the Dem presidential ticket, but has long had a favorable opinion of McCain, I must say I don't see what most commenters (and bloggers) on this site are declaring they are observing and know.

    Perhaps Obama will indeed win the election handily. Certainly, he is the odds-on favorite. But let me just say, in summary and for the sake of brevity, I think you are out of touch with how middle America will respond to McCain's speech, Palin's speech, and the McCain-Palin ticket.

    If you are going to vote for McCain (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 11:25:10 AM EST
    it seems to me that means you are a Republican calling yourself an Independent.

    Which is fine. But don't kid yourself because you aren't fooling me.


    Who's fooling? (none / 0) (#119)
    by Roz on Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 07:56:08 PM EST
    Well, one, I never said who I was voting for.

    I'm not sure whether you are accusing me of lying about my party affiliation (or lack thereof), or simply stating, erroneously I think, that McCain will get no votes from Independents, much less Democrats.

    You are wrong on both counts, which brings me back to my original point.


    How long before Palin... (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 11:27:57 AM EST
    ...replaces McCain at the top of ticket?  

    The religious right carried the 2004 election... (4.50 / 2) (#11)
    by ctrenta on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:17:30 AM EST

    ... they can carry it again in 2008. Picking Sarah Palin wasn't just throwing a bone to the "Rapturefarians." It was covered in meat. She's everything they want in a veep. They could come in big (maybe bigger) numbers again. There is a method to this madness. They aren't dumb.

    But neither is the electorate (none / 0) (#20)
    by Todd on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:38:45 AM EST
    A lot has happened in the last 4 years in Democratic infrastructure in terms of the internet and just basic presence in more States. I really believe that we have finally a much deeper bench in terms of registering voters and getting people involved. It's hard to see this when all we have is 2004 to rely on. And it's certainly not revealed in what we see on TV. But remember that Bush has been under or at 30 percent approval for quite some time.

    You (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:41:33 AM EST
    can't rely on Bush's approval ratings to win this election. Pelosi's are even worse than his. Obama is going to have to make a case for himself. He's going to have to tell voters why they should vote for him and start talking specifics.

    Tell the people who shop at Wal Mart how you are going to make their lives better in 10 words or less


    outside our fringe and the right's fringe (none / 0) (#23)
    by Lil on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:46:40 AM EST
    the average person barely knows who Pelosi is; I doubt her approval numbers mean anything compared to Bush's. I do agree that Obama needs to make a good case for himself.

    BTD, I am delighted by your optimism "Crush" sounds good to me.


    Why (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:49:29 AM EST
    the stinky approval ratings then? It seems that if people didn't even know who she was then the ratings wouldn't be so bad.

    I'm not saying (none / 0) (#34)
    by Lil on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:55:14 AM EST
    she is well liked; I just don't think people have much of an idea of who she is and what her role is. I believe she is unpopular in a generic way. Bush on the other hand is the leader who got this country in a stinking mess and people know what his role was supposed to be. Someone like my brother for instance, he's voting for Obama, but I bet if I asked him who Pelosi is, he would have no clue.

    Democrats don't like job (none / 0) (#55)
    by MKS on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:21:11 AM EST
    Congress is doing primarily because of the war and other progressive priorities left undone....Republicans don't like Congress because it is Democratic.  

    Not relying (none / 0) (#28)
    by Todd on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:50:34 AM EST
    On that, it's just a reminder. The campaign has now officially started and I'm happy that a very strong foundation has been put in place for Dems.

    Well, at the Wal-Mart I go to... (none / 0) (#89)
    by NealB on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 10:09:41 AM EST
    ...once in a while here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, all I'd have to say is Go Obama! and they'd cheer.

    We need immigrant votes (none / 0) (#68)
    by ctrenta on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:37:33 AM EST

    Remember how many people turned out for demonstrating against immigrant reform? Those were numbers the antiwar movement could only dream of. They're there. They're motivated and Obama is is best person to represent their interests. I think they outnumber the religious right. It's just a matter of getting them out to the polls in larger numbers.

    On McCain Getting Crushed (none / 0) (#2)
    by glanton on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:05:22 AM EST
    Which states do you think that Obama will take in November, that Kerry didn't get?

    If Obama is about to "crush" McCain then there os going to need to be serious state flippage, as well as successful defense in Blue states.  

    Colorado, Iowa, NM, NV (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:07:05 AM EST
    possibly Ohio, Virginia and the first time I have said this, Florida.

    I wouldn't count on it (none / 0) (#10)
    by JAB on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:14:12 AM EST
    Obama already went from an 8 point lead a few days ago to tied at 42 (CBS poll).  McCain will get a bounce, and then it's a sprint to the finish.  But they are starting from 0 now.

    Cherrypicking polls (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:20:02 AM EST
    is always a dangerous game.

    yup (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by andgarden on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 11:06:59 AM EST
    Let's see where the polls are in a week.

    Wow (none / 0) (#12)
    by glanton on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:17:54 AM EST
    Well I hope you are right. I am trying to be optimistic, that Obama will win, and some days I think it more than others.

    i'm so used to republicans winning (none / 0) (#56)
    by sancho on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:22:01 AM EST
    presidential elections, absent the clinton years, that i just cant believe they will lose until it happens. but for now, i'm saying btd has it covered (has he been truly wrong yet? not so far) and trying to allow myself to look forward to seeing them lose.

    Ineresting barometer (none / 0) (#67)
    by MKS on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:34:16 AM EST
    BTD as source of optimism.....His media theory on Obama appears to be holding up.

    But we now have the Republicans running a religious crusade, so the lay of the land has changed....


    And why not? (none / 0) (#73)
    by Faust on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:44:16 AM EST
    The reason he is a good touchstone for optomism is that he has extremely strong bull$hit detectors.

    I hope he is right (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by MKS on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:54:56 AM EST
    if biden has to drop out, (none / 0) (#102)
    by sancho on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 11:21:58 AM EST
    snark, how about btd for vp? i think he can handle palin.

    NV (none / 0) (#18)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:30:24 AM EST
    and VA are likely gone. Maybe it changes Fl, we'll need polling to see.

    Well (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:39:25 AM EST
    We are all entitled to our opinions. I do not share yours.

    I am curious (none / 0) (#40)
    by NWC80 on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:03:18 AM EST
    as to why you think VA is likely gone.

    Well (none / 0) (#44)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:07:40 AM EST
    for one VA is the homebase of the Falwell/Robertson movement that will now show up in droves to vote for McCain. Also McCain will probably do well in the VA beach area since he's a navy veteran and there's a huge naval base there. I don't see Obama surpassing what Kerry did in 2004. He'll probably do well in the same areas Kerry did but won't expand the demographics in the state.

    Firing up the Base vs. Expanding Demos (none / 0) (#97)
    by NWC80 on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 11:05:40 AM EST
    Although I agree that it is obvious that McCain's Palin gambit will crank up the energy amongst the movement conservatives, I think it may end up having a deleterious effect in the exurbs of DC among moderate Republicans and independents.

    As her positions (and by extension, his) become more widely known, there may be more of a backlash than one might think initially.

    Just to use one example - McCain's pro-life stance.

    I am reminded of the ex-Clinton delegate, Debra Bartoshevich, who became a spokesperson for McCain in their ham-handed efforts to woo women who stated in a press conference something along the lines that she was not worried about his pro-life position. There was a sense that some felt that McCain had a position that was not in fact diametrically opposed to a women's right to choose.

    After Sarah Palin's extended rant, there is NO question where this ticket stands on that issue. I suspect that McCain will have a much harder time muddying the waters on these issues and thus will have a more difficult time reaching the bulk of middle of the road voters.

    In between all the chants of "Drill Baby Drill", it was made abundantly clear that attempting to be a maverick, did not entail moderation. The base can only get you so far - even in Virginia!

    The other element is that it will be interesting to see how well Obama's efforts to expand the electorate play out. I would be very surprised if the ground game that this campaign puts into play does NOT surpass what Kerry achieved in the state. In fact, he obviously has to in order to succeed.


    Isn't (none / 0) (#108)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 11:41:44 AM EST
    Kaine pro life? I don't know that the issue is going to be a make or break issue with a lot of voters.

    Ground game? Maybe it will work this time but I've heard that so much that to me it means that if you have to depend on a ground game then you've already lost.

    We'll just have to wait and see what the next round of polls show. Rasmussen is showing a convention bounce for McCain. Since that's a national poll, most of his pick up could be in red states like GA instead of purple states like VA.


    How about we actually have (none / 0) (#91)
    by IndiDemGirl on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 10:26:09 AM EST
    the election and count the votes before we declare states "gone."

    And the McCain campaign doesn't see VA as gone or they wouldn't have recently bought ad time there.  They also have been forced to buy ad time in NC.  The McCain campaign has to advertise in these traditionally red states because they are not "gone."


    The (none / 0) (#109)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 11:43:37 AM EST
    GOP also has said that they believe that Obama now has no chance in NC with Palin on the ticket.

    Obama spent money advertising here in GA but it didn't mean anything so I don't know if advertising really means a whole lot.


    Just cuz the GOP (none / 0) (#113)
    by IndiDemGirl on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 02:15:29 PM EST
    says it doesn't make it true.  You know, they do spin things.  If Obama has no chance in NC because of Palin the McCain campaign wouldn't be wasting money buying ads in a red state.  They didn't buy ad time there in 2004.  They didn't do it a few months ago.  They're doing it now because the polls are close.  Whether Obama can win NC, keep it close, or Palin will put NC out of contention remains to be seen.

    But I sure as heck am not taking the GOP's word on it.


    Truthfully (none / 0) (#115)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 02:35:36 PM EST
    Obama really doesn't have a chance in NC. Outside of the research triangle and some other places, he won't play well. In the senate races, Helms always won by pulling in rural and working class voters. It's how McCain will carry NC too. Kerry lost NC with Edwards on the ticket.

    Obama isn't Kerry and things do change. (none / 0) (#116)
    by IndiDemGirl on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 02:57:40 PM EST
    You may be right, but it is important to contest NC and my state, Indiana, and VA.  It helps downticket Dems like Kay Hagan.  It helps build the organization for the future.  Just the increased registration on Dems, and espeically AAs may change the outcome of races.  

    And the latest poll shows McCain with only a 3-point lead.  IS NC a lock for Obama?  No.  DOes he have a chance?  Maybe - a small one.  Should he make the attempt.  YES.


    Explain Florida (none / 0) (#114)
    by s5 on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 02:19:08 PM EST
    Even with my consistent bullishness on Florida, I've always believed it would be a loss for Democrats, that the state was essentially gone forever. I'm interested to hear why you think otherwise.

    oops (none / 0) (#117)
    by s5 on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 05:56:48 PM EST
    I meant bullishness on Obama.

    Sorry BTD (none / 0) (#3)
    by JAB on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:06:03 AM EST
    Peggy Noonan did not declare the race over.


    Now, maybe she's backpedaling, but Palin won her over.

    Sarah Palin killed. And more than killed.


    I didn't watch any of either convention.  I'm sure McCain gave a flat speech (although I read the text and some of it was good).  But some voters may prefer someone who shows a fighting spirit, even if they don't agree with his policies, rather than someone who is a good orator and doesn't seem to stand for anything.


    CYA (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:07:33 AM EST
    and damage control.

    If she was caught saying this stuff (none / 0) (#63)
    by eric on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:26:25 AM EST
    candidly, off camera, it would be believable.  This is just her doing her job to be a Republican pundit.

    Dreadful speech (none / 0) (#6)
    by Coral on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:08:00 AM EST
    I was appalled at how badly written it was. And the delivery -- wow. What if he had picked Lieberman or Ridge as VP?

    I'm not so sure as you about November results, but I hope you're right.

    Lieberman or Ridge (none / 0) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:09:17 AM EST
    means 8 point loss at least.

    The speech (none / 0) (#33)
    by Dave B on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:53:40 AM EST
    The speech may not have been so bad if not for all the red meat thrown out by the previous night's speakers.  His bipartisan pleas sounded very off key against that backdrop.

    Mc Cain is (none / 0) (#8)
    by elmey on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:11:44 AM EST
    one of the weirdest candidates I've ever seen.
    He wants to win, but I'm not sure he wants the actual job.  You'd think any politician would have at least one good speech in them (especially with six months to practice) but I guess not.

    He wants a life-time achievement award (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by ruffian on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:25:00 AM EST
    rather than a job.  That was the impression I got after this convention.

    BTD is right - Palin gives him the only shot he has at winning.


    He doesn't give good speeches (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by fercryinoutloud on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:39:03 AM EST
    and doesn't claim to be an orator. Especially he finds it hard to talk about himself, and easier to talk about others.

    His delivery last night will win no awards but most of the speech said what he needed it to say. Some things were left out but onlookers will always find things that are left out so it is no big deal. An election is not won or lost on an acceptance speech.

    At this point Palin was good to secure his base which is something he had to do. The Republicans entered the convention disjointed and leave it united. Mission accomplished.

    Now the question is can McCain and Palin get enough independent/moderate voters in the key states to win as the GOP has done in elections past. Same hold true for Obama. I say small town America is now leaning McCain which gives him an advantage.

    The average of the polls is tight, and we shall see if McCain gets a small bounce. If so this thing is tied and the long knives of the GOP are about to be unsheathed.


    Kind of like... (none / 0) (#17)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:29:07 AM EST
    ...George W. in that respect.  Being Preznit is hard work!

    Short term gain (none / 0) (#9)
    by thentro on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:13:42 AM EST
    No one knows anything about Palin yet, and she has a long way to fall. I predict that her short term gains will end up being a long term (well, 60 days) negative. But I do agree, she is a life raft for the McCain campaign.

    Great reality-based analysis (none / 0) (#13)
    by Exeter on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:19:54 AM EST
    For me the convention and McCain's speech was a sidedish this week: It was all Palin all the time.  And that is bad Obama.  The Obama surrogates and the media's attacks on her experience have backfired in the worse possible way: 39% of undecideds feel that she has MORE experience than Obama (and that poll was taken before Palin's speech).

    In as much (none / 0) (#25)
    by tres on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:48:35 AM EST
    that Palin has solidified the religious right base, she also provided an already energized progressive base a reason to become more so. She is polarizing. I don't know if that will play to the middle well and she has yet to give an interview to the press and is not scheduled on a Sunday morning talk show, unlike the other candidates. If this continues it will most likely raise more questions among undecided and independent voters.

    Most voters don't (none / 0) (#72)
    by fercryinoutloud on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:44:04 AM EST
    watch Sunday morning talk shows. Sunday talk is a way to get your points out to the public via the press in the aftermath of the interview but it is not the only way.

    Approach to Media (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Pianobuff on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 10:32:45 AM EST
    Her approach vis a vis press interviews/Sunday shows was more than telegraphed in her Wednesday speech.  They will be on her terms.  If pressed, they have a nice list of names on the major news outlets that have questioned her ability to juggle jobs, quality of motherhood, etc. that they will use as justification to cherry-pick which shows she wants to appear on.  In this case, the media sort of did it to themselves....

    Apparently Gov. Palin is going back (none / 0) (#100)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 11:17:36 AM EST
    to Alaska and is scheduled for 30 fundraisers b/4 the election.  I say "apparently" because I read it on Huffington Post.  But, given she is Governor and all the emphasis on her family and whether she should spend more time with them, seems a brilliant plan.  Oh, and Lieberman is purportedly her tutor on foreign policy issues.

    BTD (none / 0) (#36)
    by Polkan on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:57:08 AM EST
    I was intrigued by your post on Palin's speech being a mistake. And now I'm very surpised on your reaction to McCain speech.

    I make a distinction between fiery orators and drones, but frankly I wasn't expecting him to outshine Palin or Obama and I think most of the country didn't either.

    In my opinion ther gambit was: use Palin as the energizer bunny and the attack dog, then use McCain as the wise bi-partisan maverick with "scars to prove" he is a fighter.

    It's clear that neither would ever sway a partisan. But I think they were not the audience of McCain.

    Would you agree that tactically he did the right thing (although in bad style) and there is a Part I/Part II logic to how Palin's and his speeches relate, especially when it comes to independents?

    let me offer this as an independent (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by kimsaw on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 11:03:32 AM EST
    and a strong supporter of Clinton. McCain's speech was not awful nor was Obama's speech transcendent  as Oprah offered.

    I found more passion and character in McCain. Obama's performance was overshadowed by the spectacle, a grand image offered for a man who wants to be king. He offered it was about us, but his presentation celebrated him. I listened to his words, but the fireworks only lit up the sky.

    As a voter still looking for a dog in the race, I'm willing to listen to both.  I want to support the Dems, but Obama has not built trust with me in the same way Clinton did. Don't offer up their sameness on the issues, without Clinton and Edwards who really knows what Obama's plan would be. What has he really done as a leader besides campaign? What political risks has he taken? He hasn't thought substantively outside the box as much as he stayed safely inside it.

    McCain I know as a candidate I would have voted for him years ago. We have a history together.  I don't agree with him these days on many issues. As an independent, do I waste my voice or pull the lever?  

    I know Palin's speech offended some, but after listening to Romney, Guiliani and Palin, I think McCain's judgment in picking Palin was spot on.  This is a political campaign and the woman delivered. The problem with her sarcasm was that it hit too close to home. Woman aren't supposed to do that unless well you're Roseanne and Palin is no Roseanne. I liked that show. A lot of us bitter clingy folks did.

    I'm waiting till after the debates to make my decision. I read someone's post on TL describing how they may strategize as a voter and it got me thinking. The writer offered that they may split their vote. Perhaps vote for McCain and then vote down ticket for Dems. This may be an alternative I can live with.  My rational? I don't really trust Obama or a Democrat Congress to work beyond their own interests. I don't agree with McCain on a lot of issues, but I do believe he and  his wife are like the Clintons willing to serve for the common good. I like checks and balances. Government- 3 branches, working on behalf of the American people. Now that would be change I can live with.


    I think he was trying to do the right thing (none / 0) (#37)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:58:39 AM EST
    and failed miserably.

    It was an awful speech awfully delivered.


    True (none / 0) (#62)
    by Polkan on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:25:44 AM EST
    the delivery was terrible.

    But it also frame the message and allowed them to extend this to the stump and commercials, while playing good cop/bad cop.

    I guess I'm trying to figure out if the speech has a singular significance that determines much of the outcome.


    It's all about the benjamins (none / 0) (#38)
    by Katherine Graham Cracker on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:59:47 AM EST
    BTD: New Ras poll has Palin more popular (none / 0) (#39)
    by Exeter on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:00:53 AM EST
    than Obama and McCain.

    Well (none / 0) (#42)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:04:16 AM EST
    I never trust Ras but more importantly, Palin is not at the top of the ticket.

    Yes she is... (none / 0) (#50)
    by Exeter on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:14:59 AM EST
    That's why the left is attacking her with such intensity! You know-- like the GOP did with the popular Bentson in '88; )

    cbs (I think it was) (none / 0) (#47)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:13:03 AM EST
    has the race tied again
    42 42

    I don't have your optimism (none / 0) (#54)
    by ineedalife on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:19:38 AM EST
    McCain is known for delivering speeches poorly but being relatively dynamic in town hall and debate settings. Obama the opposite. McCain is widely seen as kicking Obama's hiney in the one side-by-side event they had.

    There are three debates ahead. The conventions were Obama's strong suit against McCain's weakness. But the field is changing. If they go into the debates tied I would be very nervous about Obama's chances.

    Education? What For? (none / 0) (#84)
    by Uncle B on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:59:32 AM EST
    For McCain's new lap-ornament, Every red neck knows, "A woman's place is in the home, barefoot, pregnant and chained to a kitchen sink" - It's the American way! let the ice caps melt, let Darfur starve, let the oil run out, let the yellow hordes have my job, let the wars rage on, let inflation starve me out, let deflation choke my wallet, let OPEC ream my ass, let Wallstreet steal my mortgage, let Bin Laden run free, let Iraq prosper while we go in debt, let gas go to $12.00 a gallon, let The Big Three build super cars, let the stock market fall, let the Euro soar, But don't touch my 'sacred cow' let the American sexpots we love stay as they are, over-indulged, ignorant, large-breasted sex machines, at home at the sink, and ready to do service for me! Go! Palin Girls Go!

    Actually missed the speech as I slept (none / 0) (#104)
    by Redshoes on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 11:27:00 AM EST
    through it.  Literally, but I agree with those commentors who suggest that non-partisans respect McCain (even though he's a less than dynamic speaker) and probably view Sarah Palin favorably even if they disagree with their politics.  My boss from the mid-West, now living in the Northeast, liked that she stuck up for small towns (mind you he was from a large mid-western city but here on the East Coast feels like even cities west of the Mississippi get marginalized in national politics).

    Also just spoke with a friend in Russia who followed both the DNC and RNC proceedings from there.  He thought the Democratics were much better on policy and if he could vote would vote for Obama but felt that McCain has a "compelling" story and is "worthy of respect."  

    Reading the tea leaves will be difficult this year as there are 3 critical variables re: November

    1.  How energized the republican base will be on 11/4.
    2.  How many newly registered voters will actually vote.
    3.  The Bradley effect.

    How those variable interplay dictates the results -- as far as I can tell right now it's a jump ball (a nod to the fact that for the last week this has been about the Obama-Palin contest).  

    Palin Overshadows McCain (none / 0) (#112)
    by intensiveks on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 01:05:15 PM EST
    I watched CNN's telecast of the McCain Address after Sarah Palin's intro at the RNC.
    To a question whether Sarah Palin "overshadows" McCain I would say Palin held so much centrestage that McCain is "palin'" into a lesser light.
    Sarah Palin has shown a charisma of an Indira Gandhi the late PM of India.
    Sarah is so electrifying,so clear about what she spoke that she beats McCain hands down.
    There is already talk of Sarah Palin being upgraded to PREZ of the US.
    Let's hope the GOP does a "reshuffle" of sorts in its hunt for the prized Elections.


    I see Palin as a potential game-changer (none / 0) (#118)
    by Trickster on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 06:59:56 PM EST
    I had the good fortune to miss Palin's and McCain's speeches, but from everything I hear Palin's was a real stem-winder and McCain's wasn't. Next task is to see how she handles a press conference. She could fall as quickly as she has risen, but as of this particular moment in time, she is the biggest star in the GOP.

    If she holds, I think it was a great pick for McCain. It might seem kind of perverse, but picking somebody inexperienced highlights Obama's weakness. If it comes down to comparing Obama to Palin, Obama loses by the very virtue of the fact that the comparison is being seriously made. And I really think that's what McCain's folks had in mind with the pick.

    McCain has some very clever minders. They have controlled the story almost every day, and that's most of the job. Even Obama's convention speech was 99% reactive.

    Obama MUST get the initiative back somehow. That's his real task. He's still the favorite, but if he stays in reactive mode from now to November he will lose. His campaign has been very cautious so far, but they need to figure out a way to unleash some drama.

    So far, I'm not heartened by his reaction to the GOP convention. He has come out fighting back. That's not what he needs. He needs to MAKE the story, not try to spin the story someone else has made.

    Unfortunately, I think his campaign lives in fight-back mode. That's about all they did in the spring. It was enough then, because the media hated Clinton. They don't hate McCain.