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As a born & raised Alaskan, today has been tumultuous day.

My cell started ringing at ass-crack:30 this morning (Alaska is 1 Pacific, 4 ET) with the rumor mill, and then a little later the confirmed WTF calls. Friends and family from all over the country calling to ask about our Gov.

It was of course impossible to go back to sleep after that, so I've been tired all day. But lack of sleep isn't what caused the looming sense of dread I've felt all day.

While the national media and some democrats have had a field day with the Palin VP pick, most Alaskan dems have been wandering around dazed and disoriented, feeling like the rug was pulled out from under us.

My plea is "Don't underestimate her."

I worked on the Tony Knowles gubernatorial campaign 2 years ago that Sarah emerged from with a huge portion of the vote. A little back story: Frank Murkowski, our ex-senator turned Gov (who appointed his daughter, Lisa Murkowski to replace him) was running for reelection, even though he was pretty unpopular. The Dems decided to run Tony, a popular ex-Governor to beat Frank. Sarah, a relative unknown, was running in the primary against Frank and a wide field of well-liked Alaskan politicians, and was treated like a joke, right up to the primary election night when it became clear that she was the Republican candidate.

The general election season continued the theme. Andrew Halcro, the independent, and Tony Knowles, the dem, both did their best to ignore her. Both were vastly superior candidates, but Sarah managed to weasel her way into the hearts of Alaskans. No one took her as a serious threat. At debates her answers were always "The Palin Parnell team will hire experts to look into the best course of action", where Knowles and Halcro had the experience and knowledge to offer recommendations. And while everyone joked about the "hot factor" influencing voters, no one really expected the amount of "America's hottest Governor" stuff that developed.

To many of us it felt like the Democratic party didn't ever take her seriously. We all knew Sarah had a chance of winning, even a good chance, Alaska is a very red state after all, but no one predicted the landslide that developed, or her ability to maintain an 80% approval rating.

Sarah is a shark. She is smart, and she is shrewd. However, she comes across as extremely personable; you can't help but like her in person. She is a good public speaker, I've seen better from her in Alaska, and considering how little time she had to prepare for today's speech, I think we'll see much better from her in the near future.

The biggest mistake we can make is to write her off, ignore her, or think she won't bring anything to the campaign. Quit with the jokes and the remarks about how cute and quaint she is. Stop with the pats on the back and the hurr hurr stuff.

The experience debate disappears now, let it disappear. It seems many Dems feel a vindictive need to bring up the experience issue after it's been applied to Obama so many times. Don't. Experience is a non-issue, she won in Alaska by being the inexperienced, outside candidate, and the Rs will, and already have, argued that she has more "executive experience" than Obama anyways. This is an opportunity to take the experience issue off the table, lets take it.

Our job is to remember and remind everyone else that it is John McCain running for President and not Sarah Palin. This means dropping the "old and dying" stuff. The jokes and comments that McCain's VP might become president in the next 4 years. We don't want people thinking about Sarah as the President.

I say this because I believe Sarah could win if she were the one running for President. Sure she's from a small town in Alaska and has only been the Governor for 2 years, but it doesn't matter; she is as of today on the national stage. McCain's campaign will do its best to lead with the pretty, energetic woman and let you forget that he's the one that would sit in the big chair. People will like her, and she will be a name in the Republican party for quite a while now.

I've watched the blogs, discussions, and tv reports all day, and while national dems have regaled themselves in last night's speech from obama, and laughed about Sarah, and while the media has had its field day, I've relived the emotion of having Sarah shark us 2 years ago, and felt dread.

We are, as of today, 30 points down, and we're going to need to work hard to make this the victory it should be.

I hope to be proven wrong. I hope she ends up being a horrible pick, but my gut feeling is it won't be that easy, it never is when you're dealing with Alaskan politicians.

This is not my work, posted at the author's request.

I get a vibe that the author may be right.  I don't think McCain would have picked her if she was as much of a lightweight as she seems.

Originally posted to furiousxxgeorge on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 01:15 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yes, forget her experience (6+ / 0-)

    This issue here is McCain's judgment and her readiness to assume the Presidency.  No need to talk about her experience.  You just have to keep asking whether people would feel comfortable with her taking over the Presidency.  

    John McCain - Too scary to be President

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 01:23:31 AM PDT

    •  The phrase "a heartbeat away" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yamara, Norbrook

      needs to be part of every sentence we utter (regardless of its topic) from now until Election Day.

      To John McCain, War is not a metaphor for Life; Life is a metaphor for War.

      by NWTerriD on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 01:26:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My line is... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior

      ...obviously even McCain knows that all this experience talk is bullshit.

      The Republican Party: the party of greed, hate, anger, fear, waste, death and destruction!

      by ultrageek on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 01:28:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do not underestimate... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PeterHug, JanL, addisnana

      I do not think we should underestimate her at all.  John McCain's campaign is being run by the same guys who ran George Bush's campaign TWICE.  He WON.  TWICE.   Palin is going to be a strong candidate, her speech today was not the best but it was given under short notice.  I think we should all keep the focus on John McCain, his temperment and the decisions he has made (excluding Palin--remember to the people in OH, PA, VA, MI FL she is VERY relatable).  If possible we have to now speak/blog under one voice, remind voters on all blogs how inclusive the democrats truly are, just how much the country prospered under them and will prosper again.  Remind the country that Bill Clinton was not all bluster and bully. His approach kept our allies close as Obama would vs a McCain who would take us to war IMMEDIATELY (after all wasn't it McCain within 6 months of 9/11 who was calling for war? Sorry for the long post, I just feel that we as democrats react too quickly without thinking...as Obama said a hair trigger response...

  •  i'm feeling that too (6+ / 0-)

    i'm listening to her on charlie rose now.  she's really a good speaker and she sounds reasonable even though her ideas are nuts.  

    •  But Rose wouldn't have felt compelled to ask her (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yamara

      the range of questions that would be asked of a VP.   Everyone knows she's got virtually no foreign policy experience- and when she's trying to spiel off information in the debate, it will look like what it is-  cramming.

      The obvious question to her which she will be asked in the debate is along the lines of why should Americans feel you are capable of stepping in to the office of the President?

      •  Her passport (5+ / 0-)

        From the NYT:

        Ms. Palin appears to have traveled very little outside the United States. In July 2007, she had to get a passport before she visited members of the Alaska National Guard stationed in Kuwait, according to her deputy communications director, Sharon Leighow. She also visited wounded troops in Germany during that trip.

        Forget political experience.  It's her limited world experience that is at issue.  All the cramming between now and November won't help.

        The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

        by accumbens on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 01:36:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  yes but (11+ / 0-)

        my point is she has raw talent.  we should still of course press her on experience to the nth degree. and we should be outraged at mccain for even placing her near the white house at such a time as ours.  

        she's got charm and the veneer of reason. and she knows how to duck questions without seeming to duck questions by appearing reasonable.  

        remember: bush jr. didn't know squat. and yet he got elected president (even if it was stolen - twice).  this woman is sharper than bush. and my sense is she's a very quick study.  

        i don't necessarily agree with the diarist that mccain and the repubs will make her seem like the real CIC - i think that's stretching things.  but all she has to do is appear capable and steady.  that along with a fired up evangelical base and a few fixed ballots can turn things.  

        this has got to be a landslide.  we've got to work hard.

        •  Raw talent does not equal good (0+ / 0-)

          Anyone who's a sports fan can tell you that one. :)  Just take a look at all the extremely talented players in any sport who end up not doing well, or who are unable to translate their talents to the next level.  

          So far her talent has been shown in the lower minors - high school level.  Can she play in the bigs?  Particularly with being thrown into them?  It's a different game.

  •  thanks for posting this. n.t. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Greg in TN, elwior

    No way. No how. No McCain. -- Hillary Clinton, Aug. 26, 2008

    by Delilah on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 01:25:23 AM PDT

  •  Not sure I agree. McCain shot from the hip, did (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mmacdDE, addisnana

    what was going to get him personally excited- shaking things up, making a choice people didn't really expect.

    But in his rush to do that, he peed off alot of Republican strategists.   "We have to make a mountain out of this molehill?" they are saying.

    She is going to be under scrutiny that is alot more intense than what happened in Alaska, and she already is bringing in baggage.   And very seriously, there are alot of parents who are correctly asking what a mother with 5 small kids (1 of whom is special needs) is doing signing up to try to do an incredibly time-consuming job.    Biden is going to be gentler with her than he would've with someone like Lieberman, but I have a feeling the moderators of debates are going to feel it's appropriate to ask her some questions about things like foriegn policy that are going to expose her for the half baked candidate she is.   Yes- the MSM is already tired focusing on Obama, McCain and even Biden is not a 'new' story-  but Palin is.   SHe's going to get alot of attention.

    Of course she'll add votes to McCain- just about anybody would have.   But on the whole, there were choices that might've brought in many more votes.

  •  I think you are probably right. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Greg in TN, JanL, viscerality, BachFan

    Already the FDL blog had Jane hamsher writing about 'dissing' the female.  So no more quips about looks or inexperience.  Treat her like a candidate.  someone had said in debates when responding to 'her' just direct the answer as if McCain were sitting across the table.  Because he is the one who is president.

    This will definitely shore up the base, provide fodder for the media (which they eat up) and her 'story' of a working mom will appeal to 'working moms' regardless of her stance on women's rights.  

    One of the commenters on the FDL blog who actually lives in Alaska and was hoping to take down at least one of the senators this upcoming election, said the tables have turned in Alaska, and there is no way they will vote against a republican now.  Their pride in their states (and defense thereof) will bring about a win.  He was very concerned about the jokes of a person from Alaska being on the ticket.  

    •  Let's hope Schweitzer's amazing speech (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kanuk, elwior

      at the convention has a parallel (but opposite) effect on Montanans.

      To John McCain, War is not a metaphor for Life; Life is a metaphor for War.

      by NWTerriD on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 01:30:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So Alaska, as a response to mocking (0+ / 0-)

      from blogs, is going to reelect one of the most corrupt senators in the history of the country?

      Sounds like it could end up being a vicious circle.

      WARNING: There is a high probability that the preceding comment is snark. Use your best judgment (hopefully better than Senator McCain's).

      by Anarchofascist on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 02:26:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Right. McCain has run a flawless campaign so far (0+ / 0-)

    so, yeah, this must be a great pick.

    "strong infrastructure and fair play..."

    by hhex65 on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 01:28:46 AM PDT

  •  She'll get eaten alive by Biden in a debate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    B4Sunrise

    I don't care how "polished" she comes across as now.

    •  He won't 'eat her alive' like he would've Lieber (0+ / 0-)

      man-  he'll be alot more polite.   But I think the moderators or people asking the questions are going to focus on her relative lack of foreign experience by asking her alot of questions about that, I'd wager.

    •  My concern is, if the Dems attack to hard (5+ / 0-)

      now, McCain is going to play the gender card.  He is trying to put a wedge into things.  And this is a wedge.  Attacks must be thoughtout very thouroughly.  

      I agree take this person seriously.  I say don't ignore her.  She has the Republican base behind her.  This woman does have baggage, and it should come out.  Don't attack her because of her looks, inexperience, or that she shouldn't be there.

      Digging needs to be done on this woman.  She has connections to big oil.  Her contradictions on how she presents herself by her past record and current status are fair game.

      Example.  She was for the bridge to nowhere, but is now saying she was against it.  This is how to discredit this woman on her record.

      •  You are concerned that McCain is going to play (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        addisnana

        the gender card?  Imagine Saddam Hussein worrying that Bush might play the invasion card when he was hiding in the spider hole!  Which is to say that McCain has overtly played the gender card as his first major presidential decision.

        I'm not too sure it's going to work for him.  If the great question of this campaign comes down to judgement I think Obama's VP choice demonstrates far greater judgement than that shown by McCain...  

        I am the neocon nightmare, I am a liberal with the facts.

        by bhfrik on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 02:57:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Y'know who would've been drooling to interview (3+ / 0-)

    her-  Tim Russert.   He would've loved to have gotten her in that Meet the Press chair.   Brokaw will be too deferential.

  •  Uh, no (9+ / 0-)

    I say this because I believe Sarah could win if she were the one running for President.

  •  her voice is annoying as hell... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kanuk, witchamakallit, B4Sunrise, elwior

    at least in her acceptance speech.

    When she gets louder, she gets more nails-on-chalkboard sounding.

  •  Please! (9+ / 0-)

    Palin is an air head that wouldn't win mayor of a medium sized city in the lower 48.  She plays well in Alaska because she is bought and paid for by Texas oilmen and she is willing to sell out Alaskans.

  •  With all due respect... (8+ / 0-)

    ...to your praise/warning about Palin ("I say this because I believe Sarah could win if she were the one running for President"), I would only reply that the rest of America is not Alaska.  While I'm not underestimating the upcoming fight, I think that the next two months will more than prove that point.

  •  Alaska has what 600,000 people (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueMajority, elwior, Tricky

    you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

    I don't think she can stand up to the national scrunity. I mean the difference between AK politics and national politics is the difference between middle school basketball and the NBA.

    This women is a fringe candidate. If Rush likes her America will hate her.

    •  And yet ... W was elected twice (0+ / 0-)

      Let's not underestimate the risk that American voters will vote for the appealing, comfortable candidate rather than the smart, innovative candidate.

      "Specialization is for insects." -- Heinlein

      by BachFan on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 03:14:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rush influences a good deal of clueless America (0+ / 0-)

      He was pumping her up yesterday as if he really meant it.  They are trying really hard to sell her, and they have 600 radio stations to do it on.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.
      67 days until the '08 elections. Let's paint the country BLUE!

      by TrueBlueMajority on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 04:38:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Stevens and Young just won their primaries (6+ / 0-)

    and that's all that I need to know about Alaska's republican party.

    "When the powerful say that the price was worth the blood and treasure, you can bet your ass it wasn't their blood, nor their treasure."

    by sceptical observer on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 02:06:02 AM PDT

  •  She won a landslide? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hhex65

    I thought she won by about seven points in the general and didn't get a majority, just a plurality.  In a heavily red state.

    WARNING: There is a high probability that the preceding comment is snark. Use your best judgment (hopefully better than Senator McCain's).

    by Anarchofascist on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 02:22:46 AM PDT

  •  I agree completely with the diarist (4+ / 0-)

    We laughed at Ronald Reagan and George Bush when they first came on the national stage. Sure, they were shallow and they said they would "rely on experienced advisors."  Now, look where they've taken America. We've got to take Palin and McCain very seriously in this election because if we don't....well, I don't like to think what would happen to this country if it continues on the path it's on.

  •  The diarist raises a very valid point (7+ / 0-)

    that such a candidate is not taken seriously until it is too late.

    Take her as seriously as if she were Nixon or Reagan or Eisenhower and expect her to address issues with the same gravitas. Treat her as a Quayle at your peril. A person doesn't become Governor at such a young age of any US state, including defeating the sitting Governor in a primary, without knowing how to play politics to win. Think Bill Clinton of Arkansas.

    There is also a strong indication in this diary as to her strategy to address 'inexperience', which is exactly the same as George W Bush's "I'll listen to my Generals":

    "...hire experts to look into the best course of action"

    The response to this is "exactly which experts? name one?". You need to nail her down on the specifics and trip her up on details as her strengths are like GW Bush's, appealing to voters with pure image and nebulous simplistic politics.

  •  McCain wants no rivals (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sharman, Alohilani

    Clearly, the VP will be a very junior partner in his view.  She brings no competencies. Her speech yesterday was about Todd and the kids.  NPR's analysis yesterday (e.j. dionne and david brooks) started (and ended) with the facts she was a beauty queen, a basketball player, and the ubiquitous "mom."  (Aside: do men even know when they are doing this?  If it had been the most junior male, they would have come up with something of substance, though I doubt she really has much in that line).

    From what I read her first couple of years have been less than a raging success.  

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