by bluedavid, Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 03:59:42 PM EDT
I've been trying to wrap my head around where this election is going ever since McCain announced Palin as his running mate. She terrifies me, and at the outset, I thought she could be really damaging to McCain. I still think there's a chance of that, but I now (post-RNC) think that there's also a chance that she'll be an asset.
Basically, it seems to me that before the Palin pick, this election was shaping up to be something quite different. both candidates were running as people "outside the system" who wanted to move beyond the party politics of the past. It was always questionable how much either candidate was actually committed to a post-partisan agenda (particularly in McCain's case), but this was the message that both were pushing.
Now that Palin is on the ticket, I feel that McCain has cast aside the "post-partisan reformer" strategy and is now betting the farm on what worked for Rove in 2004- pump up the base, demonize the opposition, and make the whole thing so nasty that independents and anyone but political die-hards are too disgusted to vote. McCain's lackeys might go on TV and talk about both candidates' supposed reform credentials, but let's be honest here-- the republican base (which is majority batshit crazy) don't give two shits about whether they're reformers or not. These are the people who still support Bush, or at least the party in general. The real reason she was selected might honestly have been that McCain is just totally unpredictable and does things off the cuff, but even if McCain is a reckless gambler, his handlers are not. They are making lemonade out of his lemon of a VP pick, and so far, we're letting them do it. If Obama wants to take back the narrative from the repubs, he must not get bogged down by Palin (and questions about her experience, values, etc.) because this focuses things on her personally and she appeals to lots of low information voters on a personal level. Instead, it's time to make this into a campaign of all-out partisan warfare.