It really seems to me that McCain has been more than inside the “decision loop”, as they say… He is playing Obama like a fiddle, or something.
It appears to me that McCain decided on Palin a long time ago, and held it very close to his chest. Here’s why…
He started pounding Obama on inexperience, especially the foreign kind, goading Obama into scheduling his foreign concert tour – er, I mean fact-finding mission. This played into McCain’s hands perfectly, what with Obama’s overseas rock-star reception and all, and McCain was able to couple the inexperience theme with the celebrity theme. After hammering Obama on being an inexperienced, out-of-touch elitist, Obama had to go with the “safe” pick, Biden, to counter what surely would be a McCain/Leiberman or McCain/Romney ticket. Obama/Sebelius or Obama/Kaine or even Obama/Bayh would have paled in the experience category compared to either of the aforementioned McCain tickets.
Why did McCain need someone like Biden on Obama’s ticket? I offer that he had already decided on Palin as his running mate, but had to counter the image problem that surely would have appeared with three youngsters and McCain.
So, by beating the out-of-touch, elitist, inexperienced mantra for weeks, Obama caved and chose Biden. They began working on their ad campaign and lines of attack with the assumption that they had successfully countered whomever McCain would pick; Palin wasn’t even on their radar. McCain kept up the facade, letting rumors fly of the “trial balloons” regarding Leiberman, Romney, and Ridge, not to guage a response, but to continue the deception and keep Palin off the radar.
At this point, we get to the convention. The democrats went through their entire convention countering what was surely a McCain/Establishment pick. Obama called for change, Biden stressed his blue collar roots. Meanwhile, the conservative base rejected the trial balloons, giving the illusion of desparation.
McCain then delivers a swift Palin-kick to the groin, and Obama is left reeling. No one has any information on this selection. The Obama campaign goes into high gear, trying to find something, anything out. Hastily, the attacks become “she is inexperienced” and “not ready to lead” along with all the other stuff from the wings.
The Obama campaign has no reaction, they are stunned. The media tries to fill in the dead air-time, but they end up making fools of themselves. Under it all, though, everyone is waiting for Palin to fold under the pressure.
Then comes the elbow off the top-rope; her convention speech. She blows the roof off. The media realizes she is here to stay; Obama starts digging. What they find isn’t promising:
They can’t talk about the husband’s DUI from 20 or so years ago without opening themselves up to Obama’s past drug use.They find the video of her “church problem”; what can they do with it without opening their flank to Obama’s 20 years under Rev Wright?They try to formulate a line of attack on the trooper problem, but all they can come up with is abuse of power, which doesn’t contrast with Obama’s abuse of his position with Rezko and the huge salary given his wife after he joins the Senate and starts directing earmarks to her hospital.They find the AIP controversy, and can’t touch it due to Ayres.
Wright, Rezko, Ayres, past drug use – all lines of attack that McCain has refrained from exploiting. All contrasting with specific “problems” that Palin has. Quite simply, if Obama goes on the offensive about any of these, the response can simply be “well, now that you brought it up…”
All that’s left is experience vs. change. The democrats fall into comparing their #1 with our #2 to try to keep up in the experience factor, and are left scrambling trying to maintain the change theme; there is no way McCain/Palin can honestly be branded as a continuation of Bush/Cheney (as hard as they try…)
I don’t buy that this was a last minute, desparation choice on McCain’s part. There is no way they lucked into such a convenient set of “scandals” and there is no way they lucked into such a powerful speech.
McCain has been playing chess, Obama is playing checkers.