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Friday, September 26, 2008

Don't second-guess McCain's choice of Palin yet based on speculation that Jindal might have been a better one

I like Bobby. I like Sarah. This year, Sarah made more sense for John, sez I — respectfully contra Bridget Johnson at PajamasMedia — in my latest guest-post at HughHewitt.com

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[Copied here for archival purposes on November 5, 2008, from the post linked above at HughHewitt.com.]

(Guest Post by Bill Dyer a/k/a Beldar)

Bridget Johnson at PajamasMedia makes an eloquent if somewhat surprising (to conservative sensibilities) argument that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal would have been a better Veep choice for John McCain than Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

I am a huge fan of Gov. Jindal, and have been for some years — longer than I've known about Gov. Palin. I agree with Ms. Johnson's praise for him, including his performance during the just-passed (fingers crossed) Gulf Coast hurricane season. I have no doubts that he's not just a future star, but a current one within the GOP.

But with due respect, I differ with Ms. Johnson's ultimate conclusion.

First and foremost, I think Ms. Johnson, like many other conservative pundits, may have been surprised and dismayed by the sheer intensity of the Left's criticisms of Gov. Palin. It is indeed unprecedented. But so is the nominee. And I have no doubt whatsoever that had Gov. Jindal been the choice instead, the smears would have been just as instantaneous, every bit as fierce, and just as unfair. That is a function not of these two young politicians' weakness, but rather of their strength. When Obama named Joe Biden as his Veep choice, absolutely no GOP heads exploded. Bibby Jindal would have popped just as many Dems' heads as Sarah Palin is still doing.

Second, this particular year, and this particular opponent, and the opponent who this opponent barely beat in a photo-finish for the Democratic nomination, present a unique opportunity for the GOP to not only pick up, but aggressively brandish, the torch of feminism. By that term, I mean a commitment to equal opportunity for women, not any of the other causes that Hard Left feminists have grafted onto that notion (chief among them, of course, the pro-abortion agenda). No one knows yet how much Sarah Palin's selection will close the GOP's gender gap, much less whether that difference will be outcome-determinative. But the circumstances of this particular election year turned out to make this the time for the GOP to make this piece of history — even if McCain and Palin lose.

Finally, the house-cleaning of smug and ethically challenged GOP porkmeisters in Alaska isn't yet done — that cause frankly stumbled when Gov. Palin's lieutenant governor, Sean Parnell, lost to incumbent Rep. Don Young by about 300 votes in the GOP primary just last week, and it will not surprise me if Sen. Ted Stevens escapes his current corruption prosecution with a not-guilty verdict — but the cause of reform is farther advanced and less tenuous in Alaska than it is right now in Louisiana. Alaska corruption showed up in things like Veco building a new ground floor for Sen. Stevens' luxury vacation home, and that's bad enough. But corruption in Louisiana has run deeper and broader for longer, with organized crime ties to boot. And storm-ravished, poverty-stricken Louisiana still faces nasty problems in addition to corruption, with a tradition of dysfunctional and inept governance that will require prolonged good management to overcome. Gov. Palin would at least leave Alaska with a huge budget surplus that's likely to continue unless and until oil prices drop back below $50/bbl, and the silver lining to Parnell's loss to Young is that Parnell's still available for promotion as a strong replacement for the Alaska governor's chair. With what Gov. Palin has already accomplished, Alaska can frankly spare her more than Louisiana could spare Gov. Jindal. And it's an understatement to say that Louisiana still offers Gov. Jindal lots of dragons to slay as he builds upon an already impressive record.

The Dems' initial attempts at beanball missed, and Gov. Palin scored a first-inning grand slam with her GOP convention speech. Sure, they're still throwing at her (rather than at the strike zone). But that's not a surprise either, and we're still in the early innings, and she has lots more at-bats. Among her natural strengths is an ability to connect with potential voters on a deep, visceral level, and in the remaining weeks of the campaign she will have ample opportunity to continue doing that. By the end of the game, I think the Dems will wish they had instead decided to pitch around her and concentrate all their focus on McCain.

In sum, I don't fault Ms. Johnson for her musing. Gov. Jindal is a mensch, another real deal too. But I'm happy to have placed my own bets on Gov. Palin, and I think Sen. McCain is too.

— Beldar

Posted by Beldar at 07:54 AM in 2008 Election, McCain, Palin, Politics (2008) | Permalink

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Comments

(1) Dai Alanye made the following comment | Sep 26, 2008 10:00:36 AM | Permalink

Have all your commenters deserted for HH on Townhall?

I'm not conviced that Jindal would have been better than Palin. Certainly he wouldn't have altered the women's and Hillary-supporters' votes in so distinctive a fashion.

As for Sarah's deficiencies, it seems obvious that she is not a student of the theories of government and politics. On the other hand, what governor has accomplished as much as she in such a short time?

She has a tremendous ability to get things done, in total contradistinction to both Obama and Biden. Jindal is also a doer, but would not have made the difference to the ticket that Palin has.

(2) tibby made the following comment | Sep 26, 2008 10:28:16 AM | Permalink

I agree. Bobby needs to get a little time under his belt as governor before going on to the big time. I haven't run into but one person who doesn't love and is energized by Sarah.

(3) Paul Gordon made the following comment | Sep 26, 2008 11:28:46 AM | Permalink

Another nice post of yours at townhall.
So far, I've not been disappointed at any of yours there, but ...

I'm slowly learning that for the sake of my health, I should stay the hell out of the comments section there.
Wading through them is an exercise in masochism; far too many do not even rise to the level of men's room graffiti.

Beldar:
You've known the site far longer than I. Has it always been like that over there?
Or, is the current political climate infecting so many of them with rabies?

(4) Maura made the following comment | Sep 26, 2008 2:50:46 PM | Permalink

Great posts over at Townhall, Beldar :) You're back from the hurricane with great energy and articulateness. I agree with Paul that the comment section at Townhall is a cesspool of rage & hubris lately. Heh. Which is why I'm commenting here.

I agree that McCain's choice of Palin for VP over Jindal is wise. I understand Gov Jindal is doing so well in cleaning up things in LA. What a huge task, that!

And as Dai said above, the choice of Palin did great things for McCain. I'd say it caused a tectonic shift. John is such the wise old silver fox. ;) May God protect and bring them through to victory on Nov 4th.


McCain-Palin '08!

(5) Propwinner made the following comment | Sep 26, 2008 2:59:28 PM | Permalink

Can you imagine?
McCain 4 years
Palin 8 years
Jindal 8 years after that!
WoW

(6) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 26, 2008 6:08:42 PM | Permalink

I certainly value the overall quality of the comments I get here. There are some very astute commenters at HughHewitt.com and the other Townhall blogs, but they're certainly surrounded by a lot of loud and sometimes annoying background noise. My guess is that with the volume of their traffic, they can't ride herd to the extent that I tend to do here, so the trolls are better fed and more plentiful. But I'm still very grateful to Hugh for the chance to guest-post there, because it's still a very high-quality audience overall, and of course, many times larger than what I regularly see here.

(7) Dai Alanye made the following comment | Sep 26, 2008 8:05:47 PM | Permalink

I'd like to add some opinion based on Palin's supposed meltdown during the Couric interview, and the horror--horror!--expressed by a couple of Repub columnists.

Based on a couple of excerpts (suitably edited by CBS) I've seen, Palin does look weak, partly engaging in blather for lack of anything substantive to say.

To begin with, note that Obama does this all the time, but is much more polished. Witness his couple of brief talks to reporters after the bailout meeting. He said practically nothing but succeeded in giving the impression he had straightened out the participants and started them on the road to achieving a bipartisan solution along the lines of his recommendations.

In fact, while McCain chose primarily to listen, Obama took over the meeting, starting off with an accusation that the House Republicans were being obstructionist. Within twenty minutes or so the participants broke off and went away mad. In other words, Obama accomplished nothing (as usual) but managed to take credit regardless.

Palin, coming from the congenial venue of Alaska, where even opponents are susceptible to charm and decent treatment, is similar to Dubya coming from the relatively genial atmosphere of Texas. As he found, and as have many found before him, Washington is different, and opponents must be treated like grizzlies, hungry for blood.

I trust that Palin's success in handling critics in Alaska will soon adapt to Washington, and that she has already encountered enough hostility to begin absorbing the lesson. I am somewhat less trustful that her friendly critics will avoid slipping prematurely into panic mode.

(8) Milhouse made the following comment | Sep 28, 2008 12:10:56 AM | Permalink

Now had Jindal won the 2003 gubernatorial election, the situation would have been completely different. With 5 years under his belt in Louisiana, having taken a whack at the corruption, and having not messed up the response to Katrina, he might even have made a presidential run, and failing that would probably have been the VP nominee.

Unfortunately he lost in 2003 because of a racist campaign by the Democrats, Blanco remained in office to mess up Katrina, and for Jindal to leave his job now in order to seek the vice-presidency would have been a betrayal. I'd have thought less of him had he accepted the nomination.

(9) lmg made the following comment | Sep 28, 2008 2:31:05 PM | Permalink

Palin should:

1. Take deeper breaths.
2. Give shorter answers.
3. Ditch the talking points and just be herself.

The McCain campaign is blowing the opportunity her candidacy gives them.

(10) griefer made the following comment | Oct 1, 2008 4:21:49 PM | Permalink

Beldar.
I REALLY HATE what you guys have done to my grandfathers party.
Are you simply unaware that Jindal published a paper on his participation in a demonic exorcism in a catholic journal?

PALIN/JINDAL 2012
the witchcraft/demonic exorcism ticket...
CASTING OUT DEMONS FOR AMERICA

The Framers intended that a candidate's religion should not be a consideration for high office.
But they did not mean we had to vote for a candidate whose religion had rendered them stupid (Palin's professed belief in Young Earth Creationism) or crazy (Jindals faith based demonic exorcism).

(11) Beldar made the following comment | Oct 1, 2008 4:42:00 PM | Permalink

Griefer, if you read my blog regularly, or the paper that Jindal wrote, you'd know that he did not participate, but rather only observed a ceremony that the other participants believed to be a lay exorcism. He didn't participate, and as a good Catholic could not have.

I've seen no credible source confirming that Gov. Palin believes in the "Young Earth," and in fact her father was a high school science teacher who taught evolution, and her public statements have been approving of that.

So: Quit makin' stuff up, dude. Otherwise I'll conclude that your posting name here isn't just a gag, but a serious description of your intent in posting.

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