Friday, August 29, 2008

How Sarah Palin is like Alan Keyes

This Sarah Palin VP choice reminds me a bit of the time, in 2004, when Jack Ryan had to drop out of his Senate race because of something to do with Seven of Nine, and so at a rather late-in-the-game moment the Republican Party needed someone to challenge Barack Obama. And apparently they decided that they needed a to put a black guy up against a black guy, so following a national search they very wisely drafted the extremely well-qualified and not-at-all-insane Alan Keyes, a bona fide Republican black guy, who promised to take the fight directly to the Democratic black guy.

In the end, of course, Barack Obama managed to eke out a narrow victory in that race with only a 43-point margin.

How is Palin like Keyes? Republican essentialism! Keyes was a way of saying, "We have black guys, too!" Palin is McCain reacting to Hillary Clinton candidacy by saying, "We have women, too!"

Listen, there is something significant about having a woman on a national ticket, period. It's even possible that Palin could turn out to be a tactically smart pick -- if Palin does a bang-up job, or (more plausibly) if Democrats overplay their hand in attacking her.

I just think it's not great politics for a party to allow the machinery of its decision-making to be quite this transparent. Like Keyes, Palin fits one essential characteristic but comes with a whole menu of more serious political problems. My gut feeling is that this right now is the best day of publicity McCain will get out of his choice.

8 comments:

Saxdrop said...

Ah, Republicans see it very differently. But Vandehei and Harris at Politico seem to agree with you:

"Like a driver overcorrecting out of a swerve, he chooses someone who is two years younger than the youthful Obama, and 28 years younger than he is."

McCain should tap the brakes.

Saxdrop said...

From Bruce Reed's latest column:

"She was born a few miles from where I grew up, went to junior college in my hometown, and has now eclipsed Deep Throat and Larry Craig as the most famous graduate in University of Idaho history. It's as if the McCain campaign were micro-targeting my wife's demographic: exercise-crazed hockey moms from Idaho who married their high school sweethearts. The Obama campaign can rest assured – universes don't get much smaller than that."

Levois said...

I don't think there's a comparison. Alan Keyes wasn't a likeable guy. Sure there might be plenty of negatives against Palin, I would rather a Palin than a Keyes.

Nicole said...

Ha! Nice. My initial thought when I saw who he picked (not knowing who the hell she was of course) was "oh shit, we're screwed". Now that I've calmed down and learned more, I think this will either go down as an incredibly shrewd pick that will win McCain the election or a colossal disaster, hoping towards the latter of course. Let's hope the women of America are smarter than McCain thinks they are.

sbynyc said...

IMO, an absolute dream ticket would be Keyes and Palin. God Bless America.

Rob said...

Sby, in which order, Keyes-Palin or Palin-Keyes?

markmosk said...

I found your blog googling these two people b/c on a random whim (after reading everything pushed to me) I was wondering what Keyes thought of Palin. There is a key difference. Keyes walks the line between totally insane and totally brilliant. With Palin, it's only the former.

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