Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Hindsight: The Palin VP Candidacy

(Getting to the finish line)

In the middle part of February of this year, some clear political lines had been drawn. McCain had inauspiciously and unexpectedly garnered the top post as the presumptive presidential candidate for the de-glamorized Republicans, quite disheveled and emaciated by the resurging marches of Democratic victories. In the 2006 election the Dems reaped its highest honors when they reclaimed control of both houses, while the Reps continued being battered, roundly criticized and blamed for the ensuing economic reverses and of course, the continuing Iraq War. And triumphantly riding on the crest of this huge Democratic wave were the candidacies of Hillary Clinton and the upstart Barrack Obama.

The inevitable dire forecast under all this was that surely the Democrats were going to win the coming presidential election, regardless who they eventually pick, since at that time the bitter contest of primaries and caucuses between the 2 main contenders was still full-blown. The only interesting prediction then was simply how badly the Republicans will be biting the dust or trailing behind in the election.

It was under this heavy cloud of pessimism and resignation that the possible VP candidacy of Gov. Sarah H. Palin was first broached and broadcasted in a couple of blogs. The prospects on the candidacy of McCain being not that optimistically sunny, the idea that some unknown but fresh face (and a pretty one at that) could help bring some needed energy to its lackluster future, was not that farfetched or considered too extreme. Why not? What could they lose that has not already been projected as lost anyway?

Anyway, for some unknown reason I decided to blog about Palin on her possible draft to the VP position. Some Googling allowed me to learn more about her and what I learned sparked some primal interest and excitement about her possibilities and capabilities to win. For some (not easily articulated reason) I found her to be a good pick, especially against the inevitable juggernaut that the Obama campaign was gathering, or had already gathered. The phenomenally successful campaign of another largely unknown and thin-resume candidate, known more for his charismatic oratorical skills and his very unique ethnic mix - white and African. An eclectic mix that attracted and electrified the largely apathetic electorate to his side – giving support and financial contributions.

If Obama could generate such excitement given his vaguely known background, why not for the likes of Palin whose personal experiences and circumstances could approximate that of Obama in ways conformable to the unique standards and platforms of their respective parties?

The last two weeks have laid out for us the realities that will bring us to the fall election. The Republicans are surging, and as not many will doubt, due primarily because of the inclusion of Palin in the ticket. They are now winning in the polls. The Dems are now on their heels, and even the super-cool Obama is showing kinks in his once invincible Teflon body armor.

So where is this heading? Any forecast? After all, I made several like casting my lot with McCain to win the ultimate prize, and Obama to get his party’s nod, and of course, Palin as the VP pick. Well, only that Democratic victory appears not inevitable anymore.

But the country is still very sharply divided along political ideological lines so there are still no clear projected winners. This will be a hot-contested race getting into the wire.

Gone are the days when Ronald Reagan lost only 2 states to Mondale in 1984, 4 states only to Carter in 1980. Or even when Ike in 1952 won 39 states out of 48.

This will be a sustainably interesting election.

I do have other issues I need to kick around before election day. As a voter, how do we assess the candidates taking into account their spouses? Does Michelle Obama, an African-American, honestly help Barack outside the African-American communities? What about Cindy McCain, given her very privileged background and her very laid-back demeanor making one wonder if she ever sweats at all? I do not know much about the current wife of Biden, but what about the Alaskan First Dude, who appears to be very apolitical?

(HS Long distance runner)

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