Monday, November 10, 2008

A Conflicted Ticket

Now that the dust has settled since the election, it’s easier to reflect on the past and plan for the future.

Palin being chosen as John McCain’s running mate was a double-edged sword. On one hand she received the national exposure she wouldn’t have ever received otherwise. Sure, she might have gained some as the 1st female Governor of Alaska and her excellent record there, but in all honesty it would have taken many, many years to get noticed. On the other hand, the person who picked her was John McCain.

McCain has a tumultuous history with the Republican Party. For years he’s defined himself as the Maverick or anti-Republican in the party, to our chagrin. His views differ with many of Palin’s. When he won the nomination many conservative Republicans were understandably upset. There were some circumstances during this election where it might have been good to have a more center-right nominee, but not many. It was an uphill battle from the start. Being the Republican nominee after one of the most heavily disliked Republican Presidents of all time would have been difficult for anyone. McCain’s campaign was practically over before it started.

Picking Palin was exactly what he needed. He, being the thorn in Republicans' side for so many years. Palin is far Right and made up for what he lacked. Perfect for the ticket, so it seemed.

Although it was gutsy to pick her, and he stood by her despite mainstream media’s many requests to kick her off the ticket – in the beginning he both stifled her and threw her in the lion’s den with little notice. The first few weeks were tough. Despite her resilience and ability to overcome all the negative press, the first few weeks were pretty damaging to her reputation. Some of it was mainstream media’s substantiated fear that Americans liked her and could relate to her – endangering their chosen candidate’s chances. Some of it was McCain’s campaign not doing enough, or doing too much, to repair it.

Later the campaign restricted her so much that she had to go into “rogue” status just to get her point across. As we know, Palin does well when she’s just being herself. She has a fighting spirit and many people liked her a lot more when she was in rogue, which probably disappointed McCain who seems never to fully commit to the Republican Party. He might have seen her as a threat to the party he was hoping to shape into his vision.

Now, as rumors are spread from his own people, McCain stands by and says nothing to defend his former running mate. This is a man who freaked out when his aides dared mention Obama’s middle name, and, to some, didn’t pursue Obama’s lack of qualifications aggressively enough. His silence now is deafening. He’s gone back to being the old thorn in our side and we end up going farther Right because of it.

There is still McCain, the Senator. During his service I’m sure he’ll once again be the champion of bipartisanship during this Administration, further distancing himself from the party and the probable future Republican nominee.

McCain clearly thinks Palin has the intelligence and skill to run the country. I’m sure he believes that, but I have to think Palin would have faired a lot better in the public with a different running mate. I’m sure at times it pained him to support her, and vice versa. It was a difficult journey to say the least. I’m sure they both believed in each other and believed they were the best choice as President and VP at this time. But it’s hard for two people who have such different views to share the same platform.

On her own, Palin will be able to be in full “rogue” as just herself. She’ll hopefully run for President and get to pick a running mate more suited to her ideology. I’m sure in that scenario she’ll flourish even more than she did under the circumstances of this election.

1 comment:

Conservative Jedi said...

Amen. She needed (and needs) to be allowed to be herself. With the way the GOP is today, and more importantly the way conservatives view the party, she would be considered the true maverick, but one that would no longer take crap from the agenda-driven media.
She would definitely bring the value of the Repubplican party back up.
If Obama is the new Carter, then Palin is the new Reagan.
History will repeat itself.