Monday, October 20, 2008

Back to Palin

Peggy Noonan, speech writer for Ronald Reagan, has written an article about the end of this campaign season, in which she takes particular aim at Sarah Palin.
. . . we have seen Mrs. Palin on the national stage for seven weeks now, and there is little sign that she has the tools, the equipment, the knowledge or the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high office. She is a person of great ambition, but the question remains: What is the purpose of the ambition? She wants to rise, but what for?

. . . No news conferences? Interviews now only with friendly journalists? You can’t be president or vice president and govern in that style, as a sequestered figure. This has been Mr. Bush’s style the past few years, and see where it got us. You must address America in its entirety, not as a sliver or a series of slivers but as a full and whole entity, a great nation trying to hold together. When you don’t, when you play only to your little piece, you contribute to its fracturing.
We talked about this in 2004. The question is how meaningful are the undecided voters? How undecided are they, really? What is more valuable, reaching out to the base and keeping it fired up and energetic or reaching out to the moderates, to the undecided. Because as Random Goblin pointed out, in a response to a post last week, those are two different things. He was speaking about Progressive Bloggers, but I think his comments refer to the politicized base on both sides of the political debate.
This is not to say that "progressive bloggers" should not keep pushing for whatever it is that they want, but that they should not be surprised when, inasmuch as they are not a majority in any sense, they do not actually get what they want.
The problem for McCain is who else does he have? Does he have a real chance of getting the middle at this point? Or is he better off concentrating on the politicized base, getting them worked up, and hoping their enthusiasm is enough to carry him to the end?

It's a political calculation, and he seems to have made his choice. I don't think it is going to work out for him.

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