I’m up at hollyhock for open everything, having an amazing time. Fantastic people and unbelievable conversations. In addition, want to say thank you to the emails and text-messages(!) asking me to blog on Palin. Okay, but be careful what you ask for…
There is a long and glorious history of baseball analogies in American politics. Among the most famous was during Jim Hightower’s 1988 Democratic convention speech when he roared: “George Bush was born on third base and decided that he’d hit a triple.”
More recently, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland rifted of this line at this years Democratic Party Convention, saying “You know, it was once said of the first George Bush that he was born on third base and thought he’d hit a triple. Well, with the twenty two million new jobs and the budget surplus Bill Clinton left behind, George W. Bush came into office on third base. And then he stole second.”
Playing along this theme, I’ve got a baseball analogy that sums up my thinking of the Biden and Palin VP nominations.
Biden was a good, safe hit. Probably a solid double. Nothing fancy – that’s for sure. But no baseball player will ever complain about hitting a double. No points scored, that’s for sure. But runners are in scoring position.
Selecting Palin was more like a bunt – specifically a squeeze play bunt. No one expects it, the defense isn’t ready for it. In this case, the crowd certainly wasn’t either.
Most critically the squeeze bunt is a low odds play. It’s only used by a manager desperate for some points on the board or worse, by one who has poor judgment. Is McCain desperate? Definitely. Has he exercised poor judgment? He’s definitely taken a serious risk but his judgment will be determined by the results.
The upside, regardless of all this, is that the choice got the fans excited. There is no doubt that we are all focused on Palin. The only question is… for better or worse?
Ultimately, we are about to witness an amazing race: Can Palin’s charisma and buzz keep her ahead of the scandals and baggage that are chasing her? The right wing blogosphere, seeing only the charisma and conservative bona fides, says yes. The left wing blogosphere, seeing only the scandals, says no. My sense, is if the republicans can keep her appearances completely managed – if she can avoid a single press scrum – she will be a dangerous weapon. The only Democrats who underestimate here, are those who’ve already forgetten they’ve been beat for 8 years by a man they repeatedly labelled the dumbest president in history. That didn’t stop him from beating them. Twice.
At some point Palin is going to explode – the only question is, can the republicans shape her to detonate against the democrats in an effective, populist attack, or will she explode while still in their camp. Either way, It’ll be fun to watch.