Friday, August 29, 2008

A Calculated Risk for McCain

In being willing to sacrifice his strongest argument, experience, McCain has taken a gamble selecting his Vice-Presidential choice. Attempting to reach out to disaffected Hillary Clinton Democrats by putting a woman alongside him on the ticket, such a strategy might have worked if McCain had picked an ideological moderate. Instead, he picked a solid conservative. It's a curious selection because few Clinton supporters will be swayed by the presence of a woman who is conspicuously pro-life. The entire McCain/Palin ticket will be officially against abortion rights and rooted solidly in the tradition of fiscal conservatism.

As politics is the eternal chess game, it is interesting to see the Republican party of McCain change its focus from the traditional solid Southern conservatism to the more libertarian West. A large reason why GOP voters in this state have never fully embraced McCain is that he's not a favorite son and not brought favors to the region in the way George W. Bush did. Voters here in Alabama will likely still provide McCain with a comfortable margin of victory, though it's telling that the party no longer caters to this region of the country. Enough neglect by the Republican party and South might be a vulnerable region for Democratic gains, but not this election. An energized Democratic party will shrink the Republican margin of victory but that will be about all.

Picking a female candidate for office doesn't quite have the same appeal for Republicans as it would for Democrats. While it is certain that this year's Republican Convention will give perfunctory acknowledgment of their party's first time to put a woman within striking distance of the Presidency, large sections of the GOP base are still uncomfortable at the thought of a woman in position to secure the highest office of the land. Evangelical conservatives, many of which would not approve of a woman as their minister, will certainly not wish to see a woman as their President. Palin's self-proclaimed title as feminist, even a conservative feminist, will further isolate large sections of the base. As I've said before, this is a gutsy choice, a bold choice, but also a choice that attempts to nudge the Republican party in a direction which may offend many party stalwarts.

We shall see.


Life As I Know It Now said...

Nope, it didn't fool me. McCain picked a woman to appeal to me and it isn't going to work for the reasons you just listed. For other women who are not followers of politics it might be appealing though. She has a son who is headed to the Middle East and another child with disabilities so she has appeal to those who can relate to her in that regard.

Karlo said...

I agree that it is a gutsy choice. It may be that the McCain team realized the state by state numbers weren't good and felt that the high risk was justified.