Friday, August 29, 2008

Governor Palin

Eschewing the obvious pun on Governor Sarah Palin's name, any analysis of this suddenly-famous Alaskan is basically a comparison to the three men already in the race. Palin was Global Review's favorite for the veep slot (I regret I didn't write that a few days ago), and she brings strengths to the race, in a way perhaps only Governor Bobby Jindal could have matched.

Palin and McCain.
  • Palin's young; McCain is old. Balance.
  • Palin's female; McCain is male. Balance.
  • Palin's a former mayor and sitting governor; McCain is a legislator. Balance.
  • Palin's strongly pro-life; McCain is weakly pro-life. Balance.
  • Palin's warm and cuddly; Cindy McCain is powerful, and quiet about her good deeds. Who's really the first lady here?
  • Palin's a proved reformer; McCain is a proven reformer. Emphasis.
  • Palin's not very loyal to the GOP; McCain is not very loyal to the GOP. The voters are not very loyal to the GOP.

Bottom line: Palin balances the ticket very well and exemplifies the strengths of the next generation of the GOP.

Palin and Biden
  • Palin's a reformist governor; Biden is an old-school senator. Palin wins.
  • Palin's well-spoken and poised; Biden is your uncle after too many drinks. Palin wins.
  • Palin is a woman; Biden is a tough debater. Neutralization of a key Biden strength.
  • Palin has a cute family; Biden has a cute family. Neutralization.
  • Palin has a working class husband; Biden has working class family. Neutralization.
  • Palin's balances her ticket; Biden balances his ticket.

Bottom line: Biden's a bigger, stronger senator than Obama, and there was a risk he could run roughshod over a Romney or a Pawlenty. He can't run roughshod over Palin without looking ungentlemanly; besides, she's spritelier.

Palin and Obama
  • Obama's young, Palin's younger.
  • Obama has no executive experience, Palin's the only executive in the race.
  • Obama's an outsider, Palin's a further-outsider.
  • Obama started in dirty Chicago politics, Palin reformed dirty Alaska politics.
  • Obama's got a brief record, Palin's got a briefer record.
  • Obama has a great public persona, Palin has a great public persona.
  • Obama has a great personal narrative, Palin has a good personal narrative.
  • Obama has a cute family, Palin has a cute family.
  • Obama's a novelty, Palin's a novelty.
  • Obama's African-American (13% of the U.S. pop), Palin's a woman (51% of the U.S. pop).
  • Obama's a loyal partisan, Palin assaulted the corrupt Alaska GOP from within.

Bottom line: I had to reverse the order of the comparisons here. In sketching this, it quickly became obvious why Palin was chosen: she mitigates almost all of Obama's innate advantages. At the bottom of the ticket, of course, she's can't punch her weight, but Obama's a hard candidate to land good punches on anyway. Palin represents a positive way of running against Obama: she can affirm all his personal strengths, but add to them actual executive experience.

Crucially, Palin can speak from personal experience on a number of issues. She has a son in the military - take that, Michael Moore. She's Alaskan, and her husband is an oilman of the blue collar variety, so she can speak knowledgeably about drilling. She's a woman who gave birth to a Down's Syndrome baby, so she can speak compassionately and passionately about children's right to life and the evils of eugenics. She was a mayor, so she can speak about hometown issues with a fluency the three senators in the race seriously lack. She was a governor and a reformist, giving her more executive experience than the three senators in the race combined.

She represents the future of the GOP. Palin-Jindal 2012, anyone?


Chops said...

This post is dedicated to my mother, who wanted to know my opinion of Governor Palin.

It's also cross-posted on Watchblog.

Chops said...

Nice article by Jindal in OpJo today, to further feed your (my) Palin-Jindal 2012 jones.

Emily Grace said...

Mind if I link to this? I'm loving it.

Chops said...

Of course not! Links are always free.

Carol L. Douglas said...

Let's not forget to mention that she has the best looking spouse in the race.

(I loved her speech. I nearly drove off the road when she lauded the woman who put 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling of politics.)

Chops said...

The Telegraph's Toby Harnden agrees with me on Biden:

Amid all the kerfuffle over Sarah Palin, it's worth remembering that one advantage of the pick could be that Joe Biden has a habit of behaving like your slightly embarrassing uncle. Or, as Alex Massie puts it, he's "the sort of man I've met many a time in Irish pubs".