Picking Sarah Palin did many things for John McCain. It enhanced his maverick identity (by not picking Romney or Pawlenty), gives the ticket serious reform credentials, and has fired up the Republican base (especially evangelicals) in ways that would have been impossible with any other pick. I doubt Palin will pick up many of Hillary Clinton’s female supporters, (who are probably pro choice, among other things), and the fact that Palin’s a woman shouldn’t really influence one’s decision that much.
However, within the Palin pick is a brilliant trap for the Democrats. If the McCain campaign actually anticipated this, it’s nothing short of genius. From the moment Palin was chosen, the Democrats were blasting away, using the charge that she isn’t experienced enough. If you take their word for it, this somehow cancels out McCain’s charge of inexperience against Obama. While it may hurt the charge, it, in no way, cancels it out. Voters aren’t stupid, and they’ll look at the Democrat’s attacks and say “hey wait, for all the questions you’re raising about the experience of bottom of the Republican ticket, what about the top of yours?”
Compared to Palin, I actually give Obama the experience edge, especially on foreign policy issues. However, if the focus of the Obama campaign drifts towards the nebulous concept of “experience” and the argument that he is better qualified than Palin, then Obama loses the election. Because who easily demolishes Obama on this issue of “experience”…? (Hint: I’m not talking about his VP nominee).
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