Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sarah Palin Schadenfreude

Coats at The Atlantic has a very powerful insight into how the McCain campaign has ruined a potential rising Republican star through their cynical use of her on the ticket.

Coats says:

In election season, there is a price for being turned into a symbol...Which brings me to the sexism of John McCain. He knew full well what Sarah Palin was going to face if he nominated her. He knew that reporters would go through her past, that they'd quiz her on the present, that she would need to be ready, and he shunted concern aside, and tossed her to the wolves.
For one last run at the White House, he risked a future star of the party he claims to call home. How do you do that?

I agree with Coats' premise - watching Palin be eaten alive by her own insufficiency for the VP office is sad and disturbing - even evokes pity - no matter what you think of her and her politics. But I disagree that McCain intended to throw her to the wolves. I think McCain just didn't think about it. Didn't think beyond the easy high of exciting the base and his uninformed decision of the moment that Palin's unreadiness might backfire, that they might not be able to hide it from the voters. It was hubris, not callousness, that caused them to pick her. But by the time it did occur to them, it was too late: she had to become the virgin sacrifice to the Republican campaign ambitions.

As I said from the start, picking Palin has sent McCain's campaign off the rails. There's no recovering. The temporary high of the convention did little to actually heal Republican rifts, and the danger of launching an unknown into the public - especially one with only a year of real political experience - is that opinion about her can be painted by others and changed with a few well-placed shots or bad performances. This is no Dan Quayle, who came off as bumbling despite years of political experience and some real savvy. This is a genuine novice whose background is riffe with small town scandals and whose political career was just getting started. As I said, McCain had to go all the way to Alaska to find her. The Republicans had many qualified women, but don't have that many others who fit the demographics that she does. Now they may not get another Palin for quite a while.

Need a good laugh with your Schadenfreude? Here it is:

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