Like anyone else, I was shocked that McCain went with a dark horse. Like anyone else, I have been scrambling for information on Gov. Palin and her history on the planet. And like anyone else that tries to objectively analyze the campaign from a strategic/tactical standpoint, I have come up with an initial thought or two. Here is my initial assessment on the pick:
1. In the short term, Obama's speech was erased from the "talking head" shows and from the world of the private conversation. This was the talk of the town and the dominant news story of the day. In a day when there should have been a conversation about the "emperor's" speech (and the lack of a wardrobe thereof), I guarantee you, even Obama's camp did not get to gloat in it very long. You can bet there were more than one verbal exchange among them.
2. This was a risky move to be sure, but it was not without some merit. Gov. Palin is not a monolithic politician. Like McCain, she is a maverick and guides more by her principles, despite the fact that some of us may disagree with him/her on some of them. There's always a risk when picking someone who is relatively unknown, but the challenge for the McCain camp will now be to get her known and liked. To do this, she must be able to stand her ground, when the vicious stuff from the Democratic dirty tactics battalion heads out on bivouac.
3. Obama's camp wanted Romney badly. Their second choice would have been Tom Ridge. They wanted Romney to use his primary soundbites against McCain, in the same manner the GOP has used the Biden ones (to a great level of effectiveness, too, I might add). We can expect to see more of those, now that this angle has been taken away from Camp Obama. They wanted Tome Ridge to tie McCain to Bush. This strips the Democrats of this weapon, much in the way the cavalry commanders stripped Chuck Connors' "Branded" character of his sword and rank, in the opening credits of that old time show.
4. Palin's pick has not only energized the GOP base, but independents will likely come alive as well. There are lot of people sitting on the fence right now, most of them do not feel a connection to Obama or McCain. The most disenfranchised of them are independent soccer moms, who will (in all likelihood) instantly feel a genuine kinship with this lady.
5 .Some of the other demographics she will appeal to?
-Union members, who are usually conservative on most issues, come to mind almost immediately. These are those that are faith-based, gun rights advocates, and have simple down-to-earth lifestyles. They do not worry about the price of arugula.
- Right-to-lifers apparently love her. She does much to re-attract the evangelicals that were skeptical about McCain.
- Fiscal conservatives will love her. She has been a strong advocate against rampant spending and against high taxes that are sorely needed to support this pillar foundation, of the Democratic philosophy. She even returned money back to the taxpayers of Alaska, when it wasn't needed.
6. This shows that despite the criticism hurled at it by many GOP pundits, McCain's camp is not dead and is taking nothing for granted in this election. When some people would roll over and play dead (like Mondale did in 84 and Bob Dole did in 96) just to recover in one piece, they are pressing onward. Not only this, they are thinking some things through and making some bold decisions to better demonstrate a more cogent vision. He was counted out before the primaries began and he came back, then. Looks like he is staying with his opponent.
7. Another balloon deflated on the Obama side is the experience issue. Camp O dares not to make too big of an issue of the experience factor. Palin has more executive experience than Obama, even though it's not much. Having Palin a hearbeat from the Presidency is preferable to having a novice occupy the Presidency. The fact that McCain's mother is sharp as a tack in her 90s, is a factor which fares well for the senator. Genes are many times, a good predictor of health. With Obama, we know a greenhorn will make the decisions, with McCain we can only deal with hypothetical scenarios.
8. She has an opportunity to help turn a lackluster campaign into a winning ticket. But she has to be up to the job. Many indications have been pointed out that she can and will. But only time will tell, if it will work. It's now up to Camp Mac to develop a coherent policy on everything that Obama doesn't have (which is pretty much everything). Then, they must effectively communicate that policy, complete with specific and stated in terms that common people can understand, and reasonably believe. An energetic voice will help this cause, much like a good effective ad campaign does for a new or improved product.