The final stretch of the 2008 Presidential Race is here and instead of focusing on who will better lead us in the future, we are stuck trying to comprehend what in the world John McCain was thinking when he selected Sarah Palin as his running mate.
He's bluffing. He doesn't even have a pair.
The Candidate of Change
Who really is advocating change? McCain? The guy who has voted 100% of the time with George Bush in 2008? The man who's running for the party who has had the white house for the last 8 years and Congress for 6 of the last 8 years? ....that party that has been able to prevent anything Progressive from passing the Senate for the last 8 years?
or Obama? I think Obama was on to something when he remarked in Terre Haute, "They must think you're stupid!"
That's the money line. That's an update to "It's the economy, stupid".
Speaking about the economy
Who really has a bead on the economy? Is it McCain who has said he never understood economics. The candidate who dissed the mortgage crisis last spring? The man who said "I don’t believe we’re headed into a recession" during the Myrtle Beach Debates? or the man who blends immigration issues with economic issues? Does McCain really believe our economic woes are "all in our head"?
What kind of experience do we want in a candidate? Do we want more of the same of what we have or do we want an advocate? Is being a mayor of a 6,700 member community enough? Does becoming governor of one of our least populated states help? What does the vice-presidential candidate's experience add to the pot?
...what about Education?
Do we go with Obama on education or McCain? Even McCain's supporters are skeptical of his proposals and that ultimately, McCain doesn't offer anything new for education. Does it matter that Obama is more liked by educators?
...and finally there's Health Care
Do we want the status quo? Do we like McCain's "market-based" approach which promotes Health Spending Accounts (HSA's), High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP's) and making employer health insurance premium contributions taxable that will surely please Wall Street? Will his proposal be a back door to raising taxes. Will my taxes go up if McCain implements his health care plan?
Do we like Obama's approach better. I know I do. Obama understands that for our health care system to succeed we need to include as many people as possible in his plan. We need to find a way for people to opt in rather than pandering to the likes of AHIP, big pharma and murder by spreadsheet health insurers. Which candidate is more likely to lead us toward a more rational health care system?
Just how much mileage can McCain expect of his former POW status? I am thankful for his service to the U.S. armed services, but I'm also thankful that Obama turned down NYC law firm offers and became a civil rights lawyer in Chicago instead. Both of these men are passionately committed to the U.S. Yet, they are so different in what they stand for. I want everyone to go to the polls ready to vote based on the issues, but don't see that happening at this moment.
When it gets "Personal"
When some diarist compares Sarah Palin's family to Britney Spear's family, those who already are planning on voting for Obama comment thoughts like, "Great diary. Great Post! Thanks, I didn't see it that way."; but water bearers like Bill O'Reilly resent it. They call these comparisons " a cheap shot", "unfair", "personal" and the ultimate defense mechanism, "sexist".
The partisan divide is well defined. Just a couple days ago, I spoke with a good friend of mine who has been a staunch Republican for years. (Yes, she's a friend. She's who I called to come and get me when I totaled my car at midnight 2 hours away from home.) I wasn't really planning on changing her mind on the election so much as I wanted to hear her point of view. She must have heard a different woman at the convention last week. She believes Palin is environmentally concious, sharp, intelligent and a terrific addition to McCain's ticket.
My wing nut brother told me a couple months ago that he hoped McCain picked the right running mate in the hopes McCain wouldn't survive his first term in office (that's cold!). Now, he's saying that Palin is the youthful vigor McCain needs to win. Other family members who said Obama's lack of experience was a sticking point for them now say experience is no road block for Palin.
Obama advocates taking higher ground and we should listen to him. It takes longer, but that approach works. For instance, my Christian friends and family responded positively to Obama's own words and agreed that Obama has often been taken out of context. They agreed that this speech answered many of their questions about Obama's faith. Faith may be meaningless to the athiest, but it is vitally important to many voters.
Talking facts instead of making Spears comparisons works. McCain and his allies will only use these personal attacks as justification for their own personal attacks against Obama. Pointing out Palin's personal failings won't change anyone's mind. They won't promote thoughtful discourse about the important issues we deal with every day. They will promote partisanship and effectively throw "gasoline on the fire".
Update: hungrycoyote suggested I look and add temperment to this diary. I am of two minds on that issue. Anger managment is a personal attribute. At the same time; I know more and more employers look at potential manager's ability to keep their cool under emotionally explosive situations as a key factor in hiring decisions. I can also think of several people who's career's were stopped dead in their tracks after an angry outburst on their job.
I posted in a comment below some video links of John McCain's temper in action. What do you think? Is it directly applicable? ...or just a personal attack?