03 September 2008

I remember in 2000 when McCain would camp out with the media, perhaps, as some say, trying to win them back after the Keating scandal amid his campaign finance speeches. Reagan and Clinton both had those early phases when they would relish frequent press conferences as a bully pulpit. They all enter a later phase when scandal keeps them from interfacing with the press: Reagan during Iran-Contra while suffering from Alzheimer’s, Clinton after Starr investigated the Monica cover-up. The disinfo for the Iraq War made Bush and Cheney largely off limits long ago. The week that McCain has accepted the Republican nomination, he is already slipping into the second phase after they fear press questions about the vetting process of Sarah Palin, and Ms. Palin is likewise unlikely to be the ubiquitous surrogate talking head that Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney auditioned for as they fear her responses to policy questions.

McCain chief Steve Schmidt has now said there will be no further information about his vetting process and has declared open war on the media. This comes at a time when Rupert Murdoch seems to have become a Obamacan and The O’Reilly Factor, which may be expected to have a Sarah Palin pep rally for the night McCain speaks, is hosting Obama in what Obama is hoping will be a congenial exchange. The best response to comparisons of Obama’s and Palin’s experience is having Obama do a lot of interviews to force Palin out to the cameras herself. The week when the GOP traditionally slams the Democratic nominee they are defending their own VP nominee and the judgement of McCain.

Update 9/4: Palin handler Nicole Wallace has now said that Palin will not do interviews:

1 comment:

Ian Keenan said...

this is what I wrote on Al Giordano's blog the night she was picked:

McCain is well aware that he called out the conservative right in 2000 and feels the need to accede to Rush Limbaugh’s threats, but what may be in the back of his mind is his advocacy of the immigration bill. For the Republicans on Wall Street that wanted the bill, Palin is the source of a lot of long sighs and dry martinis. The Republican opponents of the bill are the guys who think she jumped out of a Christmas tree, and they, also social conservatives, will provide a little more organizational enthusiasm on account of her.

This will lead to a consolidation of Obama’s support among the high earners and college educated voters. Where Palin may help McCain is among the women over 50 without a college that kept voting for Hillary in large margins. However, some discussions I've had today suggest older woman think Palin is Deborah Norville taking over Katie Couric's Today Show job.. the young, attractive, less qualified woman taking a job that Liz Dole and Olympia Snowe were more qualified for -- which will surely turn many off.

The argument against Palin is:

1. Palin is a radical social conservative: she’s Anita Bryant, not Meg Ryan;

2. McCain picked her for political reasons, not because he thought she would be the best president. McCain’s politicization of the pick and overall judgement reflects badly on his governing skills.

Any major gaffe or inability to express depth of understanding of an issue will hurt McCain considerably. For her to ace this test, the journalists that have covered her that say she’s light on the issues have to be proved wrong.

Although this was a headache in the news cycle after the momentum of last night, it may prove more helpful for Obama’s campaign than any day of the DNC.

note: I forgot about Geena Davis.. probably a better name to use than Meg Ryan. The Snowe line started others talking on that tangent.