Friday 5 September 2008

McCain Picks a Winner

I feel John McCain picked a winner in Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential Candidate. She has a compelling resume and an easily-packaged track record, despite the many inconsistencies between her words and her approach. Her experience in general economic development is affected by the fact that Alaska’s economy is totally different from the remaining 49 states: it runs a large budget surplus due to energy production. And of course there is “TrooperGate” and a range of other issues and voting positions.

Yet on stage in St. Paul on September 3rd, she made an excellent impression, in a speech rich in political theatre. She came across as full of common sense and quiet achievement. She appears to be an ordinary person who has done extraordinary things, without the benefit of coat-tails or the establishment. I believe this aspect of her track record, and her character – I have no reason not to. She started out by joining the PTA, and the rest is history, as they say.

To attack her for her inconsistencies or lack of foreign policy experience will backfire and is in any case inappropriate. Is this election really about foreign policy in the eyes of the average voter? I'd say that's a highly doubtful proposition - and always has been, except in the most superficial of terms. She certainly has more executive experience than Barack Obama, and resonates more strongly with Main Street. She is a strong Vice Presidential candidate, and if John McCain were a little younger, would be perfect.

In picking Sarah Palin, John McCain has reversed the tenor of the campaign and seized the initiative. This is excellent political work, particularly given the multitude of problems against which he is running: the economic fall-out of the credit crunch, the war in Iraq, the unpopularity of President George W. Bush, and the superior campaigning of the Obama campaign. The first day of the Republican convention opened in what appeared to be disarray, with less-than-spectacular results, with the uncertainty of cancellation due to Gustav’s landfall. Yet what a difference 2 days makes.

On Wednesday night, Sarah Palin restored momentum to the Republican campaign, rallied the troops, and made a very compelling case for herself and her party. I'm impressed.

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