Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin Helps The Alaska Republican Party

You've got to give Senator McCain credit, the old strategist and graduate of the Naval Academy. He is playing for keeps. Governor Palin was, from the point of view of the cold-eyed political observer, a masterful choice. It was unexpected, throwing conventional wisdom -- Romney, Lieberman -- on its ear, forcing us to all take notice. It also takes some of the oxygen out of the sails of the USS Obama/Biden, which had one of the most politically amazing conventions in history (Act 1: Will the Clintons Board; Act II: Unity; Act III: Onwards, Excelsior!). This weekends talking head shows will probably devote as much time to McCain/Palin as Obama/Biden, AND -- McCain now has momentum going into his convention.

Palin is also a woman executive -- Carly Fiorina with Republican credentials. This puts holdout Hillary Democrats in play, forcing Obama to fight for a traditional political constituency. It goes without saying that Palin's reception in the big manufacturing states -- places where Hillary won, like Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia -- will be closely watched.

Also -- this is a present to the embattled Alaska Republican Party. Earlier this week Democrats -- who are barely competitive statewide in Alaska -- were licking their chops at the prospect of running a popular Anchorage mayor against the corrupt incumbent, Ted Stevens. Obama's historic fundraising totals -- the first quarter-billion dollar candidate -- and the inclusion of third party spoiler Bob Barr has placed Obama statistically within the margin of error in recent polls in Alaska. That, dear readers, was an incredible sentence to write (Democrats winning Alaska?!). Plus: Obama has been running campaign commercials -- unusual for a Democrat -- throughout the state, thanks to his massive campaign stash. Those commercials will now come to naught in-state as Palin has approval ratings percentagewise in the mid-80s.

Finally, Palin secures McCain's base. McCain, since before McCain-Feingold, has had a problem with his base and this solves the problem. It is, to a degree, a triumph of Rush Limbaugh, who has been pushing for Palin for a while. Actually, right wing radio is enjoying a triumph as she has been pushed by radio talkers for some time.

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