Friday, September 05, 2008

A Trifling Thought On Palin and Obama

I'm glad that Barack Obama was nominated over Hillary Clinton in this election cycle. Sarah Palin's nomination to vice president has been a shot in the arm of a movement with rapidly waning (visions of arterial bleeding come to mind...) enthusiasm or even interest. Many, many pundits and wonks were talking about looking forward to "time in exile" to re-energize the cause of conservatism, much like the Carter-induced calm before the Reaganite storm. And what's great about it is that, for true conservative enthusiasts, Palin's womanhood is really secondary to her exciting persona and "proper" (and genuine!) stance on so many issues. Yes, we're excited about "hockey mom", but I think it's more hockey and less mom that gets us going. She's got an authenticity unlike so many other politicians that is very refreshing.

And had the Democrats nominated Hillary Clinton, none of this would be happening. A move by McCain to select Sarah Palin as his running mate in the face of a female presidential aspirant on the other side would have been seen (rightly so) as a crass move to shore up the old-white-male weakness of a McCain headline. Any enthusiasm for Palin would be underscored by the fact that she was a woman and was only there to compete with Hillary, and such comparisons would have caused her to be dead-on-arrival. So of course McCain would have been forced to nominate someone else (it's hardly the "maverick move" to put a woman in the number two spot against a woman in the number one spot), and it's hard to say how he would have reacted. Assuming Hillary wouldn't have picked Obama as her running mate, but went with another Bidenesque choice, McCain might (a very fragile "might") have picked someone like Bobby Jindal -- again, for many of the same reasons as he picked Palin in the first place: outsider, young, strong conservative credentials, and not an old white male. But Jindal is still young, and I think he's got more good to do in Louisiana before hitting the national stage. (This gives rise to the question, which is a whole topic unto itself: if I think Jindal wasn't ready yet, why do I think Palin is? I need to dwell on that one more).

And if Hillary had won the nomination, and picked Barack Obama as his running mate, I'd certainly be packing my bags for political exile right now. I'd say the same thing about Obama if he had picked Hillary as his own running mate, of course; and all the above arguments apply there as well. But I think a Hillary/Obama ticket would have been deadly to GOP prospects in an already dismally prospected year.

So to wrap things up: thank you, Democrats, for picking Obama. You've given us a new lease on life. And thank you, Barack Hussein Obama, for picking Biden. You might have given us the election with that one.



Blogger Martin said...

Ben, as you know I plugged this post at Mazurland. It's a great little insight. Here's what I said there:

First, I do wish that Brother Ben would put a little alert on Mazurland whenever he posts to his other blog (not everybody subscribes to blogs). Especially when he writes something as cogent as his post there today. In it, Ben ponders what would be the fate of McCain's ticket, and what his choices would have been for VP, had either Hillary won, or had Obama picked Hillary for VP. One thing's for sure: we would not have had the great gift of Sarah Palin. There's much to be thankful for.

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Weekly Standard has a similar thank you article on their site.


But of course, you beat them to the punch.

10:40 AM  

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