Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The day McCain’s party blew its political advantage

The day McCain’s party blew its political advantage
By James Carville
Financial Times
September 9, 2008

As they say, Republicans were willing to put “being” above “well-being”. They would say: “[Insert name of Democrat] is inexperienced. They may give you what you want on economic or social programmes, but they are not up to the task of protecting our country.” No matter how untrue or how scurrilously achieved, their branding of Democratic candidates has worked.

Then Mr McCain picked Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. We often say September 11 2001 changed the world (and it did); we can now say August 29 2008 changed the future of the Republican party for ever. To pacify some talk radio blowhards and the pro-life crowd, the party has thrown away 60 years of successful branding. To count my reaction as stunned or flummoxed would be me just searching for an adjective. Before Mr McCain’s shockingly unimpressive selection of Ms Palin, the Republicans’ case was that, in a world with three critical wars (Iraq, Afghanistan and terrorism), Democrats are weak on defence and lack a commitment to winning – and all the other trite phrases we have been subjected to.

But in Ms Palin the Republicans have a candidate who is a heartbeat (of a 72-year-old heart) away from the presidency, who has left North America only once. Her experience includes a mixed mayoral record in Wasilla, a town with a population of 7,000, and a half-term gubernatorial record in a state with the population of Memphis. And do not forget her vast experiences with machine-guns. Although we disagree politically, she seems well intentioned and well liked in Alaska. And I am sure she is a great parent and hockey mom. But a heartbeat away from commander-in-chief of a country fighting wars on multiple fronts?

Read the rest of the story:
The day McCain’s party blew its political advantage

No comments: