Thursday, September 04, 2008

Why Palin Made Sense

I keep reading that critics -- mostly liberal Democrats but also Peggy Noonan -- keep asking why John McCain, if he wanted a woman VP candidate, did not select the more experienced Kay Bailey Hutchison, the senior U.S. Senator from Texas. Well, a couple of reasons.

First, as everyone who pays attention to politics in Texas knows (see my post from almost a year ago), Sen. Hutchison is not so secretly planning to run for governor in 2010, and she has repeatedly stated for the press over the last several months that she did not want to be asked to be Sen. McCain's running mate because she did not want to remain in Washington.

Second, experience does not represent the only value that a candidate brings either to the race or to the position -- the Democrats that selected Barack Obama should recognize this, one would think. Almost all of Kay Bailey Hutchison's political experience has come in the U.S. Senate. She is a moderate Republican over the age of 60. That set of characteristics, while impressive, make her, in part, a female version of what Sen. McCain already offers the ticket.

Governor Sarah Palin offers a fresh face, a great personal story, conservative political principles, and the ability to connect with voters. Her speech last night showed an amazing ability to go negative while not seeming negative. It was brilliantly done.

Before the Palin selection, most Republicans found the rationale for Sen. McCain in the negative -- anyone but Barack Obama. That has changed. Rarely does a vice-presidential selection ultimately make any difference in the results of a campaign. This time, it might.


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