Do Democrats think before speaking?

I know that Republicans rarely do; the Democrats seem to follow suit. In today’s Washington Post, in “Assessing Sarah Palin”, Democratic pollster Douglas E. Schoen offers the following brilliance (Read the whole piece for his complete thoughts and the opinions of others, including a couple of grade-A morons.):

By passing up obviously qualified candidates such as Joe Lieberman and former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge, who offered at least the possibility of bipartisanship and a broader range of experience and background than Palin, McCain has missed a critical opportunity to expand the reach of a party whose base has been narrowing steadily since 2004.

Time for some amateur deconstruction.

1. How, precisely, define we “qualified” here? Being anathema to the party’s socially conservative base, McCain’s relationship wherewith has been quite shaky at times? Unrepentantly and shamelessly promoting endless war in the Middle East and a one-sided policy respecting that volatile region? Having served as Secretary of a Cabinet department that should not exist and serves little more than further to expand the Leviathan and to embarrass our nation? (Eww, Ridge also sits on the board of Home Depot!)

2. Yes, Ridge is socially moderate-to-liberal, but he hardly offers “bipartisanship”; well, anyway, I’m not sure that anyone from the Bush administration really can. I could be mistaken.

3. The Democrats, of course, care much more about preventing their base from narrowing. Also, as I, and others, have argued, Palin does help to expand the party’s — or at least McCain’s — reach: She may be too conservative to make serious inroads with the Hillarycrats, but she certainly offers some appeal; she has a pretty moderate record on gay rights; she’s an undeniable outsider (for better as much as for worse); and, apparently, she has some Buchanan/Paul sympathies. She probably will fail to draw many from that wing, but considering that neither Baldwin nor Barr is perfect enough, she might shore up a bit of support from the Old Right/traditionalist wing, if she can prove that she still holds these positions. I almost should not be surprised if Buchanan eventually caves and throws his support behind the “bellicose, red-faced, angry guy”. Almost.

As John notes, I have expressed enthusiasm for the McCain-Palin ticket; not enough to sway my vote to them, but enough for me less to fear a McCain presidency. I wish not to go over-board on the matter, so, at least for now, until something major would happen, expect only one more post from me on the matter — if I remember what final point I wanted to make as I lay in bed last night, drifting into the realm of dreams.

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A bit more on McCain-Palin

Already, I’ve heard accusations of pandering and of “trying to do something historic, too” directed toward John McCain in the wake of his announcement today. Moreover, some — including, as I noted before, Obama’s campaign — question Governor Palin’s experience and qualifications. As my aunt noted with surprise, Sarah Palin has not served as governor for even two full years yet. To all of this, I say, “So what?”

Of course McCain panders to women; can you blame the guy? Politics is pandering; McCain’s found a way to do it and, simultaneously, to shore up support with the party’s bases. (C’mon, she’s a pro-life, moose-burger-eating, gun-shooting hockey mom and former pageant queen!) That’s not just pandering; that’s skill.

Yes, McCain is trying to do something historic; what’s wrong with that? Exists some law proclaiming that only Democrats may select a non-white-male vice-presidential candidate? Heaven forfend the G.O.P. should try to act “progressively”! Furthermore, makes it not some sense to try, with a female v.-p., to match the Democrats, especially after they passed up on the possibility of the first female presidential candidate? I realize that Palin’s potential office isn’t as glamorous as that for which Senator Rodham Clinton ran, and that Palin isn’t even the first potential female v.-p. (although suggesting that Ferraro actually was a potential vice-president is a bit of a stretch), but, still, it’s the best that an old, white Republican can do.

The biggest question, doubtless, is whether Palin possesses sufficient experience to be vice-president. First, I’ll note that I’m not sure that this matters: the vice-presidency is such a meaningless position most of the time (unless Old Man McCain would happen to die in office) that the worries are probably meaningless, expressed for the sake of indicting McCain, rather than to make any valid point. Putting this aside, though, Palin’s record, though not perfect, seems to be pretty acceptable to me. The Wikipedia article on her offers a pretty good view; here’s a taste:

Highlights of Palin’s tenure as Governor include a successful push for an ethics bill, and also shelving pork-barrel projects supported by fellow Republicans.[citation needed] Though she initially expressed support for the Gravina Island Bridge project,[20] once it had become a nationwide symbol of wasteful earmark spending and federal funding was lost, Palin decided against filling the $320 million gap with state money.[21][22] “Alaska needs to be self-sufficient, she says, instead of relying heavily on ‘federal dollars,’ as the state does today.”[23] [My emphasis, for radically cool federalism at its finest. – NPO]

[ . . . ]

Palin is pro-life and a prominent member of Feminists for Life.[44][45][46] A 2006 article in the Anchorage Daily News refers to her as “pro-contraception,” but does not go into detail on the subject.[47] While running for Governor of Alaska, Palin advocated the teaching of both creationism and evolution in public schools;[48] but the next day, she said, “Creationism doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum” and that she would not use “religion as a litmus test, or anybody’s personal opinion on evolution or creationism” as criteria for selection to the school board.[48]

Palin’s first veto was used to kill a bill that would have barred the state from granting benefits to the partners of gay state employees, after she determined from Alaska’s attorney general that it was unconstitutional. In effect, her veto granted State of Alaska benefits to same-sex couples but which was required by law.[49]

She seems to fit the bill of “uniter” much better than does Barack Obama, in my humble estimation. Also, she’s shown herself to be a pretty reliable fiscal conservative, and something of a conservationist, though not without flaws (She supports drilling in ANWR and opposed listing the polar bear as endangered.)

Withal, although Senator Biden certainly has experience (Whether this has been good or not I’ll leave for another time — or web-logger.), Senator Obama isn’t exactly possessed of decades’ worth of experience; he’s just conformed his positions to the party line to make himself seem to have it. He’s served more time between the Illinois State and United States Senates than Palin has served combined as mayor of Wasilla and governor of Alaska; however, small as Wasilla is, she had a few more years serving the city on its council first. Also, Alaska isn’t without its problems — ya know: rampant alcoholism, difficulty stocking store shelves with affordable food, non-potable water, Ted Stevens, et cetera. At least Governor Palin’s non-experience is executive in nature, as well as (low-level) legislative; Senator Obama, the outsider/guy with experience, I reiterate, has no elected executive experience. His legislative experience hasn’t exactly impressed me.

I’m not sure that Palin’s particular brand of conservatism is necessarily the kind that I want to see dominate the G.O.P ( — if I don’t totally give up on the party, which I likely shall, eventually –, although I do dig the above-cited federalism), but I have no doubt that bringing her to the national spotlight like this is what the party needs. She and Jindal — Pawlenty, too — represent the young, bright potential future of the party; Pawlenty doesn’t offer the pander-factor that Palin and Jindal (Catholic Asian Indian) do, and Louisiana needs Jindal more than Alaska, beset with problems as it is, needs Mrs. Palin. And, uh, either Lieberman or Ridge would have, I have no doubt, sunk McCain — and maybe the Republican Party — for good.

Tertium Quid offers some insight insight on the pick here.

Update: Dylan Waco, at The Left Conservative, offers fair criticism, on the same grounds other have, charges against which I have defended the decision:

Sarah Palin was not chosen, because she is a crusader for 2nd Amendment Rights or because she is militantly pro-life. Palin was chosen for one reason; she was a semi-prominent Republican politician with a vagina.

He also links to a couple of articles suggesting that Palin has included herself, at least unofficially, amongst the Buchananite and Paulian wings of the G.O.P./conservative movement. This actually pleases me, makes me feel a bit better about McCain. Again, not enough to sway my vote, but I feel a little bit better about the possibility of President McCain. Besides, we’ll have a warmongering type either way; at least with McCain-Palin, we have some sane economic policy ideas, maybe. Perchance, I simply feel uncharacteristically charitable, mayhap na├»ve, but I will give Palin more benefit of the doubt that Dylan, who suggests that “[s]he will no doubt be a faithful servant to her neoconservative boss, now that she is ‘moving on up.'” They differ on ANWR (McCain taking the position that I think I take), and she might be more Old Right than he. Well, she pretty much has to be; she might a fair degree more Old Right than he. Could be interesting!

Lieberman, the cross-ticket v.-p. candidate. . . .

Ambinder poses an interesting question.

McCain the “Maverick”?

The AP reports that the McCain campaign has asked Chief Deputy House Minority Whip (Say that, quickly, five times!) Eric Cantor (R-VA) for personal documents as the senator continues the search for his running mate.

Since his four terms in the Virginia House of Delegates starting in the early 1990s, Cantor has been part of the anti-tax wing of Virginia’s Republican Party. His longtime advocacy for business and corporate interests in the General Assembly earned Cantor the derisive nickname “Overdog” from Democrats in Richmond.

Cantor is Jewish and is among Israel’s most avid congressional supporters. His addition to the ticket could help the GOP win over Jewish votes this year. If McCain wins, Cantor would become the first Jewish vice president.

McCain has a campaign ad. running, on the television, wherein the announcer refers to the Arizonan’s reputation as a maverick. We’re supposed to believe that a candidate, of either party, eyeing an elected official who possesses a reputation for “advocacy for business and corporate interests” and “is among Israel’s most avid congressional supporters” is a maverick? Give me a break.