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I appreciate Jerome Armstrong’s schtick (everything is good for the Republicans, bad for the Dems) but seriously, the idea that Palin is a “gamechanger” in a good way for McCain is laughable. If Palin ends up a net positive for the Republicans, I’ll turn in my Pundit (Blogosphere Division-Class C) License without a fuss.

It’s far too much to hope for, but it would be nice if this pick also helped the media to understand just how anti-choice the Republican Party is. I probably concede too much by thinking that John McCain just doesn’t care very much about abortion, and that his strong anti-choice record is a product of disinterest and political calculation. But the nomination of Palin ahead of the plainly more qualified Kay Bailey Hutchison is only intelligible in the context of the GOP’s anti-choice base. In other words, it doesn’t really matter what John McCain thinks about abortion; it only matters how he will act, and the culture of the modern GOP restricts him to only the most anti-choice options.

The choice of Palin over any number of vastly more qualified women on the Republican side also tells us a bit about how McCain interprets the candidacies of both Clinton and Obama. McCain thinks that Clinton and Obama are both, essentially, affirmative action hires; they rose to prominence not because of qualification or talent, but rather because the one is a woman and the other is black and the Democrats go for that kind of thing. The antidote? A woman; any one will do, since (in the Republican view) you’re already throwing qualification to do the job out the window when you eschew a gnarly white dude.

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  • I think the thing that should give everyone pause is that selecting Dan Quayle as a running mate didn’t lead to an instant loss for George HW Bush. That to me demonstrates that it really doesn’t matter how fucking awful your VP pick is, if you can win the main race with some kind of strategy (in this case, the Lee Atwater total-scum approach), you win. There wasn’t anyone who thought Dan Quayle was a good VP choice, or made George Bush look better, and it didn’t matter in the end. Keep your eyes on the big tent Obama-McCain matchup and the ways that’s being played out. Palin (and Biden) are the sideshow freaks of the story.

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