Friday, October 31, 2008

Growing Doubts on Palin Take a Toll, Poll Finds.

As McCain tours a town, aptly named Defiance, and Rick Davis spends all his time telling anyone who will listen that the comeback is happening:

"We're still fighting; we're still behind; we still think we've got plenty of time to close the gap enough to make this election competitive and win it."
Another poll recently released says that one of the main reasons for McCain's woes was his disastrous choice for VP.

A growing number of voters have concluded that Senator John McCain’s running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, is not qualified to be vice president, weighing down the Republican ticket in the last days of the campaign, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

All told, 59 percent of voters surveyed said Ms. Palin was not prepared for the job, up nine percentage points since the beginning of the month. Nearly a third of voters polled said the vice-presidential selection would be a major factor influencing their vote for president, and those voters broadly favor Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee.

I think McCain and the Republicans will look back and shudder at the choice which McCain made, although to be fair to him, it is reported that he actually wanted Joe Lieberman, which would have enabled him to claim that he was crossing the aisle and that his ticket was less partisan than Obama's.

The problem for McCain, and the Republicans in general, is the extent to which their party has become hostage to the religious right, who utterly rejected any talk of Lieberman - who favours abortion - and instead have rallied around a candidate who shares their views on a narrow range of issues whilst appearing almost utterly ignorant on a huge range of other issues which many people might feel are actually highly significant.

Faced with a loss that can be directly attributed to Palin's presence on the ticket, the Republicans really will need to reconsider their reliance on the Christian right.

The choice of Palin was made entirely with them in mind; although, in fairness, had McCain been younger his VP choice might not have assumed the importance that Palin's has done with the public.

But, when the obituaries of this election are written, Palin's name will be pretty near the top of any list which discusses the reasons for a Republican loss. But she will not be the only reason. A negative campaign which told lies to a shocking degree and a lack of any substantive theme for the campaign should also be among the reasons discussed.

It's some indication of how rudderless McCain's campaign has been that he has spent the past few weeks clinging to Joe the Plumber, a man who isn't called Joe and who isn't a plumber.

Joe has become indicative of just how desperate the McCain camp are and just how lacking the entire campaign has been in a overarching storyline which Americans could relate to.

Joe was seized upon with the same desperation which caused the campaign to grab at Palin and, like Palin, Joe was elevated to his position of Everyman without any proper vetting of his claims ever having been made.

That's why McCain now finds himself holding Joe aloft as an example of all that is good in the working class whilst the rest of us simply see a guy who made false claims about wanting to buy a plumbing business (that he couldn't afford) in order to make a cheap point in front of Obama.

But neither Joe nor Palin are actually to blame for being plucked from obscurity and suddenly thrust into the national spotlight, despite how they have both appeared to enjoy it.

The blame for this, in both cases, is the erratic way John McCain operates. From his 2002 book:
“I make them (decisions) as quickly as I can, quicker than the other fellow, if I can,” ...furthermore... “Often my haste is a mistake, but I live with the consequences without complaint.”
In both of these cases McCain's haste has been a mistake. I dread to think what kind of president he would have made. Reckless, rolling the dice just to see what would happen, gambling all on a gut feeling. It really doesn't bear thinking about.

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