By now I’m sure everyone has heard that McCain has selected Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, to be his vice-presidential candidate. The strategic victory that this represents is clear to most, especially when compared to the Obama campaign. The Obama campaign was about ‘change’ and a ‘moment of history’ but when the chips were down picked a VP that was old school. Not that I blame him for not picking Hillary to be his running mate, but not doing so certainly watered down the mission for ‘change.’ With the Palin pick, conservatives are able to provide something ‘historic’ in their own right. Whether or not former Hillary supporters (or Hillary herself!) are willing to vote McCain-Palin or not I don’t know, but the point is that the ‘historical’ aspect is no longer on one side of the aisle.
I think credit has to be given to McCain for being willing to suck it up and listen to his base. McCain’s annoyance with the so-called ‘Christian Right’ is well known and the annoyance has been reciprocated, illustrated for example by James Dobson saying he would not vote for McCain. I believe the tide changed in McCain’s mind after he realized that it might be possible to win the Christian and conservative vote after all, and this happened after the Rick Warren interview.
McCain wanted Lieberman to be his VP all along. If McCain had lost the Republican nomination he would have gone independent and taking Lieberman to be his VP at that time. But since he won the Republican nomination he had to weigh the situation much more carefully. If it had seemed that the Christian, pro-family, pro-life, conservative base was never going to come around, Lieberman would have been the pick. Even after the Warren discussion numerous ‘feelers’ went out to see what the response would be to a Lieberman pick.
The Warren event showed McCain that conservatives could be won over. The Obama VP pick showed McCain that Obama saw the polls and flinched. McCain’s pick shows that McCain understands the significance of the conservative ‘wing’ of the Republican party and conservatives in general. By picking a woman, he’s done more than invite disenchanted Hillary supporters to vote for him, but he’s thrown down a gauntlet, daring those who were going to be ‘gender’ voters instead of ‘issue’ voters to see if the principle holds when it is a conservative woman.
Every Christian I’ve talked to today (ok, not more than a dozen, but still 🙂 ) is thrilled with McCain’s pick. In fact, I must confess that I’m thrilled. To this point I’ve liked McCain but didn’t think it worth my time to get involved. I would have voted for him because Obama is… well… that’s another post…. I would have voted for McCain but I wasn’t willing to really back him.
Today, that changed. Next week, the sign goes up on the lawn. 🙂
My only fear is that McCain has made this change but resents having to make it. Is he excited and enthusiastic by the choice, especially since it means turning down his close friend, Lieberman? If he resents it it could come back to haunt conservatives. But I don’t think at this time he does resent it. I think he did what Obama was unwilling to do: face a hard truth and come to terms with it. Obama really should have picked Hillary. He would have been hamstrung but that was his only path to victory- if it could have been had at all.
I have been predicting a McCain presidency in 2008 since 2000. Today the death knell was given to the Obama campaign. I think they know it, too. Get ready for a McCain presidency my friends. Hopefully after that, a Palin one!