Monday, September 01, 2008

Competing Images

I was planning to go to Minneapolis/St. Paul on Tuesday, but have changed plans in lieu of the Republican National Convention decision to scale back activities and Hurricane Gustav. These competing images will be easier to observe from my base of operation in Baltimore then in St. Paul. I’ll continue to blog and give my thoughts. So let’s get at it.

The selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has dominated the news cycle since her announcement on Friday. Here’s what we do know at this time.

1. She’s the Alaska Governor. (FYI, Governors have armies…the National Guard)
2. Palin is the first woman ever selected by the GOP to be nominated for Vice President. She’s an every woman kind of candidate. Hockey mom, devoted to her children(a total of five, one has downs syndrome), active in the PTA, and more comfortable doing outdoors sport than most women.
3. Her age 44(legal to be President) is a plus for those who’ve seen McCain’s age as an impediment.
4. Not afraid to take on the status quo. She bucked the Alaska GOP by taking on corruption.
5. General positive views from the constituents at the core of Republican brand…social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, and young Republican women.
6. She has a son who is going to Iraq.

On the flip side, she’s got some major league challenges that are advancing faster than the campaign can react to.

1. Questions about her experience. This line of attack I believe is invalid. Neither President, nor Vice President has the pre-requisite experience to deal with the issues confronting a nation. I go back to Pearl Harbor, who knew; crash of the stock market, who knew; the resignation of Richard Nixon, who knew; and 9-11, who knew. All you can hope for is a cadre of smart and competent people to give the advice you need to make decisions. Conversely, the GOP’s line attack of experience seems to have been thrown out with the selection. Some will see this as hypocrisy.
2. Pandering to women. The Republicans seized on the disaffection of Clinton voters and obviously selected her in an attempt to grab this group of Democrats. In her initial speech she talked Clinton and her “18 million shattered pieces glass.” Female solidarity is potent, but many of her stances are the antithesis of a Clinton voter. Governor Palin is anti-abortion, she believes in drilling the Anwar, and has embraced the so call “ownership society.”
3. The latest revaluation, her 17 year old daughter is pregnant and unmarried. Talk about family values, abstinence only, and a perfect family; throw that crap out the window. This woman is going to have answer some uneasy questions (remember John Edwards). Hunkering in your room is going make it worst. Do the Governor David Patterson thing (remember he went before the media and laid out he had a an affair(s) and used cocaine while a Lt. Governor), call a press conference tell all that you know and say this will be last time you will talk about this subject.
4. OBTW, Palin is being sued for the firing of the Alaskan Public Safety official. According to the Alaska Daily News ( she’s also hired an attorney to litigate. What else is on the horizon?

Democratic Senator Barack Obama reacting to the Palin’s daughter said, “People’s families are off limits so let’s back-off.”

Convention Changes

It’s one reason why I’m not going St. Paul. Hurricane Gustav has played havoc with what the GOP wants to do. President George Bush and Vice President Dick Chaney have opted to stay away from convention. Not a bad idea. The President was scheduled to speak on Monday night. Instead Laura Bush and Cindy McCain made an appeal to convention goers and the public to help those who in the Gulf region.

The first lady told the crowd, “We’re all Americans with shared American values.” The governors in the gulf region are all Republicans. Three of the four governors (Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was too busy) produced tapes for the convention.

During the tapes CNN dumps coverage switches to Hurricane coverage. MSNBC and Fox News stay with speeches use split screens to cover weather coverage.

Cindy McCain announces the list of websites to donate money. In lieu of several parties in St. Paul, money and care packages are being sent to those affected.

By 9 pm EST things are calm and it appears Louisiana has dodged a bullet (the only problem seems to be near Plaquemines Parish where a earthen levee was prepared to give way…to resolve the issue they open the locks to marsh area).

Governor Bobby Jindal is a hero in this crisis. He appears "wonkish," but is a striking contrast to the previous governor; who didn’t appear to know what was going on.

The president must be relieved and he learned the lessons of Katrina. My heart still goes out to the seven people who died(so far). Five of them were killed in car crashes trying to flee the storm.


The visual of the GOP partying and hurricane is not what you want to see. McCain was right; the convention had to change(and will continue to change). It couldn’t be canceled because of the money.

The bad news is Hurricane Ike is off the coast of Florida. It looks like it could hit the Georgia or North Florida coast by Thursday. My late grandfather would call this “buzzard luck.” John McCain can’t catch a break.

The weather may be the least of his worries. Can Vice President Nominee, Governor Sarah Palin, weather the scrutiny and vetting of a national political figure? It won’t be just the legitimate press poking in her background. It’s going to be “fast and furious.” Could she be only the second Vice Presidential candidate to step down? We'll see.




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