Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Palin has them Wailin'

When the campaign narrowed to McCain and Obama, it started to look as though the race would put a nice-looking, clean and articulate black man (to borrow some terms from Joe Biden) against a 72-year-old former Navy man with bad shoulders. Obama's messianic appeal to emotional voters who believe the government is the source of all sweetness and light became clear and was becoming tedious. McCain's appeal to people who realize the world is a hostile place no matter how a nation conducts itself was well accepted, but not news.

Then, along came Palin. She's human. She's imperfect. She's decent and as capable as any vice presidential candidate who has ascended to the presidency.

Truman was all that, too. His appearance on the national stage was similar to Palin's. He was tapped by FDR a couple of weeks before the 1944 Democratic Convention to run with him that year. Truman was an obscure senator from Missouri.

But there were critical differences. FDR was the president who was near death and expected to die during a 4th term in office. Meanwhile, World War II was raging. And the day after FDR died, Truman was told about the atomic bomb. Till then he knew nothing about it. Palin will manage.

Howard Fineman writing in Newsweek on the Republican vice-presidential candidate:

Democrats dare not issue [Sarah] Palin a pass—she's too dangerous a foe. Normally vice presidential candidates fade into the background.

Nobody is expecting that with Palin; indeed, her newfound celebrity has made even Obama look dull.

The usual rule is that voters don't trust attacks from people they don't know, but Palin is turning the adage on its head.

Democrats are determined to attack her credibility, even if it gives her more visibility. "We've got to go after her, and fast," a top Democratic strategist, who asked for anonymity when discussing strategy, told me.


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