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McCain's Favorite Mistake

By Kelly Thomas - Posted on 24 October 2008


I was talking with my husband recently about some of our "far-right friends" and radio talk show hosts still trying to defend the Sarah Palin pick. As shown in my "Monday Morning Quarterback" blog, there have been many missteps in the McCain campaign. However, to me, there is no question that the Palin pick was his ultimate downfall for the below reasons.

Top 5 reasons why selecting Sarah Palin was the ultimate downfall of John McCain:

1. He lost the independents: The McCain camp may argue that Governor Palin rallies the base, but you can always count on the base NOT to vote for Obama. Elections are won with independents, and in some cases there are Republicans who are crying out against her selection.

2. Seemed gimmicky: As much as they try to argue against it, her selection was perceived more as a ploy to win votes than it being the right thing to do. I doubt that a male with her credentials would have been selected for the position. John McCain was essentially saying that Governor Palin would make a better president than Romney, Huckabee, Pawlenty, and the gamut of Republican leaders. Despite his campaign slogan, this act was certainly putting his ambitions above country.

3. Diminished the experience argument: One may try to draw comparisons by seeing how Obama and Palin stack up on paper, or attempt to argue an executive experience point, but no matter how you play it Sarah Palin pales in comparison to the candidacy of Barack Obama. She has continually demonstrated that she is indeed not up for the job.

4. Rallied the democrats: Obama's fundraising since her selection has been phenomenal, he has continued to break records pulling in an unthinkable $150 million in September alone. Sarah Palin is a major factor in Obama being able to attract new donors and generating so much enthusiasm.

5. Media focus: McCain had been complaining about the media attention, but the fact of the matter is that Obama had been getting mostly negative media more than positive. Sarah Palin has certainly given the media another political figure to focus on and so far (due in part to her own actions) it has mostly been negative. McCain has had to spend a great deal of time defending her while being interviewed. Her inability to demonstrate competence on the political stage beyond a script has drawn heat from many within even the Republican party and the right wing media.

I refuse to declare this race dead, but Palin has surely put another nail in McCain's coffin.

Yeah, Sarah was the biggest nail. With that choice he lost any chance of getting even moderates to support him, let alone independents. That choice was mavericky and bucked the system, but when you're running neck and neck you need to do something to shore-up votes. It makes you wonder what other risks he'd take on a whim if elected.

That thought is frightning.

Golf11, NYC
Vero Possumus

I like the point that if Palin were a male, would he even have been considered at all over Romney, Huckabee, Lieberman etc.....I seriously doubt it.

There is a huge reason why Palin was picked: evangelical voters. The ones who are skeptical of anything and everything, until they enter the church and hear it from pastors, reverends, and bishops.

That's EXACTLY why Palin was chosen; I think the gender thing was just a "bonus" in their minds.  The religious right was not happy w/ McCain b/c he's too moderate, so the people he allowed to hijack him made the decision to pander to that demographic. 

It's funny, though... the religious-right voted in droves for Bush, and what has he done for them?  Nothing, as far as I can tell. 

The problems we face will not be solved by the minds that created them.

"Sarah Palin is a major factor in Obama being able to attract new donors and generating so much enthusiasm."

Well, you can't argue that she didn't excite the base; one more than the other. 

In hindsight I think Huckabee would have been the the best man for the VP pick.  He's likable, funny, smart, and decent.  I believe he would have captured the evangelical, pro-life vote while putting a dent in the Indy vote.  It would have been a much closer race.

...although he definitely wouldn't have been able to pull of the skirt. ;) 

Even though I supported Ron Paul, I liked Huckabee. The choice of Palin made it a slam-dunk for Obama as far as I'm concerned.

Romney would certainly have put a much better spin on McCain's economic platform. On the other hand, being LDS might have turned off a good part of the base, who think LDS is a cult.

Nah. By the end of the primary they'd realized at least the LDS are pro-life and pro-marriage. So what if they're deluded and doomed to suffer in outer darkness for all eternity, at least they support our agenda.

I know because I'm surrounded by evangelicals who originally were terrified of Romney, but warmed up as they realized he was better than everybody else (except Huck-Palin, of course).

Huck-Palin, 2012!

Yikes, Barbara!  Huckabee I could tolerate but SP, too?  That would send me right to Canada, and I DON'T LIKE cold weather...

The problems we face will not be solved by the minds that created them.

Wouldn't that just be the ticket?? Hoo boy! Hello, theocracy!

I don't think Palin would settle for anything less than the top spot in 2012. She has obviously begun her campaign for the GOP nomination already.

Maybe she could be the AIP's nominee for pres in 2012!

I'd like to think that the Huckster is a littler brighter than McCain... He's out of Palin's league. ;) 
you're saying his ticket is above her pay grade?

Gah!  Don't scare me like that!  I don't want to become a Canadian.  It is too dang cold up there.  

10/10/2008:  The day I early-voted for Barack Obama!

Hey, it's not so bad in Canada. lol (says the ex-pat living in Michigan)

We have excellent maple syrup. Isn't that enough?

Mm mm!  I could really go for some waffles and maple syrup right about now. 

10/10/2008:  The day I early-voted for Barack Obama!

"So what if they're deluded and doomed to suffer in outer darkness for all eternity, at least they support our agenda."


Really?  I don't think hard core evangelicals would have voted for Romney because he's Morman.  In many evangelical circles, being a Morman is just as bad, if not worse, than being Muslim.  Huck was a Baptist pastor, no?  Not to mention he's in a rock 'n roll band... :)

Huckabee. :)

yeah, but huck offends the moderates.

Romney's this weird hybrid where most of the evangelicals will put up with him because he's from a socially-conservative belief system, but the moderates don't associate him with the religious right.

But it hardly matters now.

I'm a moderate and I very much associated Romney with the religious right.  Even if they do shun him.  Many Evangelicals and Mormans have a lot in common - even if they don't agree on Jesus and what it means to be a saint. 

I'll give him one thing - he would have added a lot of smarts and pizzazz during the economic meltdown phase of the campaign.  Although I suspect that he and McCain would not have gotten along behind the scenes very well.

I think we can all agree that he would have been better than Palin - and I know it doesn't matter now, but that's what I like about this Monday Morning Quarterback blog.  We have a place to "shoulda, coulda, woulda." 

It's fun to speculate on what might have been if only.... :)       

Sarah was the nail in the coffin for me as well.  That was the biggest sign that it was no longer 2000 McCain running, but Karl Rove's puppet.


First post!

Hi, maxwell. Welcome!

I think a lot of people felt that way about Palin. I have at least one friend who held on to the very end, and even he decided he just couldn't support the ticket. He's abstaining, I think.

I detest partisan politics as it is the main reason for poor choices.  People need to be free in their own minds to make sound decisions.  I've been for Barack Obama since 2/07.  I did vote for John McCain in the CA primary, but his choice of Sarah Palin was so obviously wrong and gimmicky that I lost all my respect for McCain.  The attempts at painting a positive picture of the republican ticket amuse and alarm me. Not to mention all the negative ads and demagoguery.  It is so important for people to consider all the facets of candidates and be open to consider all the options.  Obama/Biden is the only real, solid, logical, sound, viable choice in this presidential election.

Welcome, Kenneth! Good to have you here.

Stick around and post more of your thoughts. Delve into the many threads. 

Huckabee wouldn't have been a bad choice! But the main base of the republican party would never have allowed it. They are to (can't spell it it), but They wouldn't have allowed a mormon, that is for sure! This is what wrong with our grand old party of Republicans! It belongs in the past! It believes/lives in the past! It's made up of to many Old people, and not the progressive young group it needs to bring them into the future. I'm one of those old people who has been propelled into the future by her grandchildren, nephews,nieces and children! Palin was chosen for her pretty face, young age,gender,sassy attitude that they thought would bring the young,women, and make the men think with the wrong head long enough to get their votes! There pick fail flat on her face as she opened her mouth and continued to put her foot in it. It will take longer for the Young women to pull away, but the other groups have already left the admiration stance behind them already.

Now anyone looks like a better choice, but they could have lessened Palin's self-destruction by managing her differently.

Her first problem after her convention performance (which was fabulous, gotta give her props) was that "I have international experience because I live near Russia" stuff. That HAD to originate from the campaign and not from her. It was being pushed on Fox and Friends and in a tv interview with Lindsay Graham before she ever said it publicly. They must have forced that on her and she stuck to it as part of the team message. The campaign should have dropped that one as soon as the late night comics started feeding off it -- which was instantaneously.

The VP is supposed to be an attack dog, but she seems to be better going positive and maybe dropping a few snarky little digs than doing all-out assault. The Alaska sources, even her critics, say she is at her best just connecting with people in positive, if less than substantive, appearances.

The sound bites from her address on special needs children yesterday were excellent -- the best tv footage I have seen on her since the convention. She was positive, humble ("I haven't been working on this issue as long as many of you but I know what you do"...or some such) and came off as sincerely as any other good-not-great candidate does on the stump. She was also saying something genuinely useful to the country.

She was going to get hit on lack of experience no matter what, but you have to wonder if they had gone with 'she is a quick study and eager to learn' rather than 'she is more qualified to lead the free world than Obama, Biden,and Winston Churchill combined' if they could have weathered this better.




Tom Ridge

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