What John McCain's VP Choice Says
|Saturday, 30. August 2008 2 comment(s)||
The choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin by Senator John McCain as his running-mate on the Republican Party ticket suggests a number of things about how the rest of the campaign will be run and what Team McCain see as their strengths and weaknesses. It also makes it possible to guess at some potential policy implications of a McCain Administration.
Governor Palin has been described in a number of good profiles. Three aspects are particularly interesting vis a vis the election:
The first priority is to shore up the (largely) conservative evangelical base; not that the base would vote for a Democrat, but it may simply stay at home if the candidate isn’t to their liking. John McCain has tried to reassure the base about his Pro Life conservative views, both directly (Saddleback) and by inserting into speeches and statements ‘code words’ (such as "the cause of life" in his August 23, 2008 radio address) that the base deciphers with ease. Yet, other past statements and apparent closeness to abortion rights supporters such as Joe Lieberman have increased worries among Republicans that the evangelical base would simply not be fired up enough about John McCain to show up to vote in November. Governor Sarah Palin’s strong and principled Pro Life stance will help here, and is sure to reassure more of the base, thereby increasing turnout. This is especially important in a state like Florida, which McCain clearly thinks will be more securely put into the win column by the choice of Palin.
The second priority seems to be to get some of Senator Hillary Clinton’s most conservative female supporters to ‘switch’ parties. It may be possible to attract some of Clinton’s supporters but without access to detailed county level polling data, it is difficult know how many such supporters truly exist in states that are up for grabs. Here Sarah Palin’s staunch Pro Life position is likely to alienate many potential switchers, but depending on the area in question, Governor Palin’s fiscal conservative credentials may be enough for some to overlook her abortion position.
Accordingly, the third priority seems to be to give fiscally conservative voters (and some Reagan Democrats) a reason to vote for the Republican party. Over the past four years these voters have seen both personal financial scandals & corruption from Republicans, as well as ever-growing deficits. The choice of a person who has gone head-to-head against party elders in the name of more responsible spending and fiscal discipline, is surely meant to attract those voters back securely into the Republican fold.
With the tickets now effectively finalized, in the coming weeks we will see how both parties will position themselves as well as their opposition. What is clear is that though risky, the choice of Sarah Palin by John McCain as his running-mate has laid the groundwork for even more spectacular fireworks as this election cycle nears it zenith.
Texts reflect the opinions of the individual authors