Debate:Is Sarah Palin an asset or a liability to John McCain's candidacy?

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The surprise selection of Sarah Palin to be John McCain's running mate has energized his base and made the contest much more interesting than if he had chosen a more predictable prospect. As the nation gets to know more about her, though, some are questioning if Palin will be an asset or a liability as the campaigns move into high gear and the debates begin.

Palin is an Asset

This is obviously a transparent attempt to get the women's vote, but that doesn't mean it won't work. And she has some good experience too - both in business, and as govener of a city. That's a definite plus. Unfortunately I've had to make some criticisms in another comment, as she is far from perfect. NewCrusader 15:00, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

She absolutely is an asset. The Democrats have hoped for a (their) woman President since Lisa Simpson and Hillary Clinton, how embarrassed would it be for them if a Republican is the first woman President? (4 years from now, obviously I'm not wishing for a premature departure by President McCain!). SilvioB 16:07, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
So the Democrats have wanted a woman to be President since Hillary Clinton, and Palin could be the first woman president and the Democrats would be embarrassed. Besides all of that being debatable on its own, you have yet to explain how it's an asset for the GOP. --Jareddr 16:12, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
Because American voters see the opportunity I mentioned, and will turn in mass to vote for her (and McCain in the process). SilvioB 16:43, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
I have to feel a little sick at this - even if it works, it's not playing fair. It's manipulating voters - not talking them around with careful reason, shows of competence or popular policy. Just tricking them into voting for a candidate for an irrelivant reason. NewCrusader 19:20, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
You misunderstood me completely. This is not manipulation or a trick. Democrats were weak and undecisive, Republicans instead seized the moment. People will vote en masse for her because in her they see the wind of change. It is called hope for the future and enthusiasm, not manipulation. --SilvioB 19:25, 2 September 2008 (EDT).
Palin has seized control of the media, and left the Obama camp speechless. They cannot attack her lack of experience without weakening Obama. They cannot attack her being an outsider without ruining that theme for Obama. As for executive ability, her two years as governor give her more executive experience than the other three nominees combined. I expect the GOP will start highlighting her energy expertise. Dems can't even whisper an attack the behavior of her 17 year old daughter (Obama was into cocaine at that age). Palin and McCain control the "reform" and "outsider" issue--the choice of insider Biden meant Obama gave up that theme. (Obama's acceptance speech railed against long-time senators--meaning McCain but also Biden as well.)

Momentum means a lot in politics--Obama had it and squandered it in his faltering campaign against Hillary. Obama does have remarkable oratorical skills, and excellent fund-raising skills, and the GOP is in sad shape. RJJensen 16:56, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

If the momentum was squandered, wouldn't his poll numbers be going down, as opposed to crossing 50% in the past few polls--the highest either candidate has polled at this cycle? --Jareddr 17:09, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

Asset, who can deny that Hillary fans were counting on a lady VP, just not from the GOP side. McCain benefits from having a Maverick approach. The 85% of Americans that want to drill oil, can't ask for anybody better choice than AK-gov. Palin. McCain presidency will unlock billions maybe trillions of gallons of oil.-- 50 star flag.png jp 21:01, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

Palin is a Liability

Palin is a woman and a mother. Already being Governor of a State she is neglecting her family duties. This is shown also in her daughter not knowing Conservative values well enough. HerculeP 14:25, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

It seems clear to me that Palin was chosen to tap into the 18 million voters for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. The campaign was trying to tap into voters who were supposedly turned off of the party because Clinton wasn't chosen Vice President. This attempt, which would seem to belittle women by believing they only supported Clinton because she's a female, ignores the VAST political differences between Clinton and Palin. In any case, the attempt seems to have fallen flat on its face. It cuts McCain's "experience" argument by choosing a candidate with virtually NO foreign relations experience. I've been to as many foreign countries as Palin has, and "visiting the troops" is a photo op, not quite the same as serving on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Also, being a mayor of a 5,000 population town may technically be "executive experience", but as Obama points out---the budget of the town, $12 million/year, is roughly the budget of one month on Obama's campaign. Can anyone seriously suggest that being mayor of 5,000 will prepare you to step in as the president of 300 million?

Finally, the polls don't bear out that she's helping the campaign. From Rasmussen: Some 38% of men said they were more likely to vote for McCain now, but only 32% of women. By a narrow 41% to 35% margin, men said she was not ready to be president -- but women soundly rejected her, 48% to 25%. From "Suppose you could cast two separate votes in November -- one just for president and another vote just for vice president. Who would you be more likely to vote for if you could vote separately for vice president: Joe Biden, the Democrat, or Sarah Palin, the Republican?"

Biden (D) 54 Palin (R) 41

"Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?"

"John McCain chose Sarah Palin because he felt the time had come to nominate a woman."

Agree 43 Disagree 56

"John McCain chose Sarah Palin because he thought having a woman on the ticket would help him get elected."

Agree 75 Disagree 25

This pick was a Hail Mary pass, and it's turning quickly into a Democratic interception. If I didn't know better, I'd think the Obama campaign scripted this pick. --Jareddr 14:28, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

There are already scandels brewing - it looks as if Palin has a few skeletons in the closet:

  • Her daughter, 17, unmarried, is now confirmed to be pregnent. This is a big turn-off for the values voters - if she can't keep her own daughter under control, how can she be trusted with the values of a nation? Just to make it worse, the father looks dodgy - some people grabed his myspace page before he took it private. He says he doesn't want children. And swears. A lot.
  • Five children, one seriously disabled, and she is going to take on a job as demanding as Vice President, with a significent chance of president in future considering McCain's age. She might talk a lot about family values, but she doesn't seem to care that much for her own. Even more so in light of the above - doesn't her daughter need all the help she can get from an experienced mother right now?
  • She brags of fighting the 'bridge to nowhere,' yet records show that she voted for it before changing her mind to vote against it.

It appears Palin is intended to be a safe pick to please the social conservatives - who, to be brutally honest, seem to care about abortion and gay marriage but very little else, and espicially little about the competance of candidates so long as they say the right magic words. That's why he picked someone with immaculate pro-life credentials, even to the point of having a child with Down's. Trying to appeal to that voting block, though, is pointless - McCain already has the social conservative vote, even if they dislike him, because they loathe Obama and the democratic party. Instead he has just picked up someone they are going to look at as a poser, a VP who puts on a big pro-family show in public while caring nothing for her own. This is part of why I dislike McCain... has the social conservative positions, but he is just dropping with 'politicianness' - that oily residue that comes from trying to win at all costs, playing the games, manipulating the voters, putting his own power above all else. Clinton had it too, perhaps even more so. McCain is just using Palin as a tool, a way to get elected, to push the voters' buttons without any regard to her suitability as a VP. NewCrusader 15:00, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

First of all, thanks for the poll info Jareddr! I think that Palin is a very odd choice and is going to be a liability. Choosing her tends to negate the "lacks experience" criticism leveled at Obama. That line of criticism was really pretty effective and in fact as a Clinton supporter, it was something that made me shy away from him. Now he looks pretty good in comparison to Palin. Palin is under investigation. Even if she ends up being exonerated or given a slight slap on the wrist, it just doesn't seem like a good thing to have going on while running for VP. Palin is very young looking and makes McCain look really old. He looks like her grandfather! Not a good picture. It ends up putting a double whammy on the age/health issue for him. It makes him look like he could die in office and then what? President Palin? If he was trying to attract women and conservative christians, it seems like he could have done better. MichaelAnderson 16:30, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
One question I ask about potential VP candidates is a simple one - if their running mate died between winning the election and being inaugurated, would this person be ready to be a credible, effective President, and would the restof the world agree or try to take advantage of a perceived weakness? Palin has potential, but having only been a small-city mayor, and then the Governor of a state holding only 0.22% of the U.S. population for a couple of years, she simply doesn't have the qualifications to lead the western world yet. --DinsdaleP 19:36, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
Well, I saw Palin's acceptance speech, and unfortunately wasn't that impressed. In her defense, the McCain team had prepared the "core" speech that would be delivered by whoever he selected, so instead of delivering her own words from the heart she was reading a generic attack speech that was modified to also introduce a little-known Governor to the American public [1]. I was impressed with her comfort in speaking, but in the end I still learned more about her from my own reading and research than anything in the speech. Where are the specifics about what she stands for? Advocacy for special-needs parenting aside, what did we learn that Sarah Palin was adding to this ticket that wasn't going to have been read from the teleprompter by whoever was picked? I'm hoping that once the convention's over, we'll finally get to see some interviews of Palin by the media, and learn who she is from answers in her own words instead of a speechwriters. --DinsdaleP 23:43, 3 September 2008 (EDT)

At this point I'm more convinced than ever that she's a liability. Conservative columnists are panning her, and a survey of undecided voters after the last Presidential debate cited Plain as being the major reason they would not be inclined to vote for McCain. --DinsdaleP 20:57, 17 October 2008 (EDT)

Five days later, I'm even more convinced. First, Palin has to publicly apologize for her comments about small-town Americans being the only truly "pro-America" segment of our population, which were insulting to metropolitan voters around the country, but particularly offensive to everyone who remembers the heroic, selfless, and patriotic response of hundreds of New Yorkers on 9/11 who gave their lives while trying to save others.
Then we have today's revelation - in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Depression, Palin's been set up by the RNC with $150K in wardrobe, hairstyling and makeup services. This is not an issue of substance, but it's created a perception nightmare for the GOP. Now they are trying to explain why the champion of Joe Six-Pack, Hockey Moms and Main Street couldn't campaign using her Governor's wardrobe, and instead needed to spend the equivalent of 80 years' annual clothing expense for the average middle-class American to run a campaign. It creates the impression that selling her on looks mattered more than selling her on substance, since McCain's wardrobe expenses were nowhere near as egregious. The McCain campaign has less than 14 days to make their case, and now will be wasting precious time trying to make this a non-issue - and if they think it'll go away, wait until some folks from Main Street start asking Palin how she considers herself fiscally disciplined and a reformer while spending 5 times their Main Street salary to rent a wardrobe for two months. --DinsdaleP 13:27, 22 October 2008 (EDT)