Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Palin Paradox

When I originally suggested Lieberman as the best choice for McCain's VP, part of the reason was that it would facilitate the "move to the center" that all candidates make, while simultaneously distancing himself from Bush and reviving the Mavericky Straight Talker image. The problem, of course, is that Social Conservatives and the Religious Right already distrusted McCain and were already holding their noses to vote for him... so a Pro-Choice VP candidate with a long record of disagreeing with them on pretty much everything very well could have caused open revolt. This is allegedly what happened when they nixed the Pro-Choice candidates McCain had been favoring (Lieberman and Ridge).

Palin of course is the exact opposite... a wingnut's wingnut. No abortion ever... even in cases or rape or incest. She does not believe in a man-made role in Global Warming. She thinks creationism should be taught in public schools. She supported Pat Buchanan's fringe run for President in 2000.

That's as hard right as you can get these days, and clearly the base luuuuuuurves her. So how could that facilitate a move to the center when the VP holds views that most Americans think are crazy fringe stuff? Well, it allows McCain to make a public break from the party while the base cheers loudly and winks and nudges each other... plus, it's not like Palin has a long record of support for these fringe positions. Mostly they're quotes from her run for Governor, so it's possible she could pretend to be a moderate without catching too much flak. Hard to say whether that will work, but Bush succeeded in running as a moderate while holding pretty extreme views... so we'll see.

What I've read about last night(did not watch) suggests that is indeed how it's going to play out... a lot of focus on POW, POW, POW and how much he's opposed the party in the past (to raucous applause). It will be interesting to see whether that continues tonight, and how Palin frames herself in her speech... I'm presuming it won't be as a far-right culture warrior.