To Energize the Base, Has McCain Just Given Up on Swing Voters?: Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo Thinks So

Josh Marshall on Sarah Palin’s 2008 Republican Convention speech:

[T]ake this as a sign that the McCain campaign has abandoned an effort to compete for swing voters and go back to the base energizing strategy that worked for President Bush in 2004. The numbers make that look like a tough proposition. But I think a few months from now, everyone will agree this was a mistake.

I confess, as an Obama supporter, that when I heard that McCain had put a woman on his ticket, I was terrified because I thought that McCain would (of course) pick a moderate, experienced, pro-choice woman to be his running mate.

But he picked Sarah Palin.

And Palin, whatever her rhetorical skills (and they are admittedly Reaganesque), simply carries too much baggage—ideological and political—to be a game changer in McCain’s favor. 

I think that if McCain had thumbed his nose at the Christianist right in his party, and picked a pro-choice, experienced VP, male or female, and blurred the centrist distinction between his ticket and Obama-Biden—and then hammered Obama hard on the experience issue—that he would have had a better likelihood of winning the election than he has now.

Palin polarizes the electorate and makes McCain less appealing to independents and centrists—where the election will be decided.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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