The 2008 Presidential Election is certainly shaping up to be great political theatre between now and election day. The Democratic convention ended last night with the speech from Barack Obama recieving high praise from each side of the political spectrum.
It was a speech that political commentor David Gergen referred to as a "political symphony". The speech was flawlessly delivered in front of 84000 people. In addition, the outdoor venue of Invesco Field added to the overall excitement. In fact, television celebrity Oprah Winfrey was so moved by the speech that she is quoted as saying that she "cried her eyelashes off".
The only criticism from the political pundits was the lack of specifics concerning the political promises inherent in the Obama acceptance speech. Obama will need to fill in the policy details to his fine oratory last evening in the days ahead.
To answer the Democratic Presidential candidate's nomination address, John McCain has made the surprise selection of Sarah Palin as his choice for a running mate in Election 2008. The selection of the female Governor of Alaska for Republican V.P. is a strategy designed to take advantage of the disappointment of many female voters with Obama's selection of Joe Biden instead of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic V.P. nominee.
However, the selection of Palin helps McCain in other ways as well. She is a favorite of the Republican Party's conservative base. She is a reformer and the only candidate from either party that has actually run anything. She also is young and has a compelling life story. With Palin, McCain can run as an independent, on a platform of reform and change. However, with McCain's advanced age, the American public needs to be convinced that she can step in at a very young age and become the future President if necessary.
Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin in Election 2008. If this were a baseball game, I think it would be a tie after ten innings and the eventual outcome would depend on who makes the first error. It will certainly be an interesting contest to watch. The first scheduled Presidential debate is September 26, 2008.
Jack Kelly of Real Clear Politics wrote this excellent article on Sarah Palin on June 04, 2008 :
McCain Should Pick Sarah Palin for VP
Republicans including, I imagine, Sen. McCain himself are asking these questions about his selection of a vice presidential candidate.
Ideally, a presidential candidate wants a running mate who will help him or her win the election, and (maybe) to govern afterwards. But most will settle for a veep who isn't a drag on the ticket, as Dan Quayle was for the first President Bush.
Traditionally, a presidential nominee has chosen a running mate to balance the ticket geographically, or to appease a faction of the party. The most successful example of this was when John F. Kennedy picked Lyndon Johnson, though neither liked the other, and LBJ joined the ticket only because he thought Kennedy would lose.
Bill Clinton broke with this tradition when he chose another young (purported) moderate from a neighboring southern state. By picking Al Gore, he hoped to reinforce his campaign theme of generational change.
Which way will Sen. McCain go? The potential running mates most often discussed have downsides nearly as great as their upsides. Gov. Tim Pawlenty helps only in Minnesota, and not enough, according to current polls, to make a difference there. Sen. McCain's friend Sen. Joe Lieberman would bring in some moderate Democrats, but could further antagonize conservatives already suspicious of Sen. McCain. Gov. Romney would have little appeal to working class whites unhappy with Sen. Obama, and evangelicals fret about that Mormon thing.
A Huckabee nomination would irritate economic and foreign policy conservatives as much as it would please evangelicals. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is a rising star. But he's only 36, and he's been governor for less than a year.There is one potential running mate who has virtually no down side.
Those conservatives who've heard of her were delighted to learn that McCain advance man Arthur Culvahouse was in Alaska recently, because they surmised he could only be there to discuss the vice presidential nomination with Gov. Sarah Palin.
At 44, Sarah Louise Heath Palin is both the youngest and the first female governor in Alaska's relatively brief history as a state. She's also the most popular governor in America, with an approval rating that has bounced around 90 percent.
This is due partly to her personal qualities. When she was leading her underdog Wasilla high school basketball team to the state championship in 1982, her teammates called her "Sarah Barracuda" because of her fierce competitiveness.
Two years later, when she won the "Miss Wasilla" beauty pageant, she was also voted "Miss Congeniality" by the other contestants. Sarah Barracuda. Miss Congeniality. Fire and nice. A happily married mother of five who is still drop dead gorgeous. And smart to boot.
But it's mostly because she's been a crackerjack governor, a strong fiscal conservative and a ferocious fighter of corruption, especially in her own party. Ms. Palin touches other conservative bases, some of which Sen. McCain has been accused of rounding. Track, her eldest son, enlisted in the Army last Sept. 11. She's a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association who hunts, fishes and runs marathons. A regular churchgoer, she's staunchly pro-life.
Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal said Sen. McCain should run against a corrupt, do-nothing Congress, a la Harry Truman. If he should choose to do so, Gov. Palin would make an excellent partner "The landscape is littered with the bodies of those who have crossed Sarah," pollster Dave Dittman told the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes.
Sen. Barack Obama's support has plunged recently among white women. Many Hillary Clinton supporters accuse him -- I think unfairly -- of being sexist. Having Sarah Palin on the ticket could help Sen. McCain appeal to these disgruntled Democrats.
Running mates usually aren't named until the convention. But if Sen. McCain should name Gov. Palin earlier, it would give America more time to get to know this extraordinary woman. And because she's at least a dozen feature stories waiting to be written, she could help him dominate the news between now and the conventions.
Another reason for selecting Sarah Palin early would be to force Barack Obama to make a mistake. He'd have to rule out choosing someone like Virginia Sen. Jim Webb as his running mate, for fear of exacerbating charges of sexism. And if he chose a woman other than Hillary, the impression Democrats are wimpy would be intensified.