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What strategy should Obama and Biden use to address Palin?

By pams
Saturday, August 30, 2008 23:32 EDT
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We’ve had a torrent of posts on the Blend about the selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be John McCain’s running mate.

- We can pontificate about her lack of qualifications to be president should the Arizona senator kick it during his administration.

- We can complain that the danger this ticket poses to individual freedoms and civil rights because of the effect on SCOTUS.

- We can allow our jaws to hit the floor when gay conservatives back this ticket and wonder when they will realize God’s Own Party will never have a desire to consider individual rights and privacy over religious fundamentalism. Working from within has only resulted in an embarrassing display of public rejection.

- We can be appalled at the sexism and misogyny that focuses on Palin’s good looks and personal story — as if her significant deficits in foreign policy and a host of issues at the national level can be glossed over to appeal to low-information voters.

However, all of us sitting in our echo chamber laughing at the failed beauty queen’s political rise is no substitute for holding Obama/Biden and their surrogates accountable for going to the mat and calling out all of the above forcefully.

My fear is that the hot water that the Obama campaign got into with the extreme Hillary Clinton loyalists will be replicated and exploited by the right wing, in what will be the most egregious display of political hypocrisy, given how the right views the rights of women. But you know the GOP is willing to go there.

I’m concerned that the Obama campaign is going to go soft on Palin because of the fear of looking anti-woman, when it’s clear Palin is herself a fringe conservative opponent of reproductive freedom, LGBT rights, and good lord, equal pay for equal work. If she were a man with that resume and held these views there would already be an attack ad out.

Have you seen one? The Obama team is into rapid response when it comes to McCain, but I haven’t seen nothing on YouTube about Palin to spread virally. Zip. Clearly there is an internal struggle in the campaign about what to do about this, and that doesn’t bode well. Look at this softball snippet from an upcoming 60 Minutes interview with Obama/Biden:

“What do you think of Senator McCain’s vice presidential choice? And how does it change the dynamics of this campaign?” Kroft asked.

“Well, I don’t know Governor Palin, I have not met her before. I had a brief conversation with her after she was selected to congratulate her and wish her luck – but, not too much luck! – on the campaign trial. And she seems to have a compelling life story. Obviously, she’s a fine mother and a up-and-coming public servant,” Obama said. “So, it’s too early for me to gauge what kind of running mate she’ll be.

Is he serious? She’s not 3AM ready — hell, she’s not qualified to do Hillary’s laundry.

McCain is counting on cottony-soft statements like the above. I don’t think McCain’s ultimate intent was to win over disaffected women voters; it’s to inoculate the ticket from criticism by playing the women-as-victim card. Laugh at the Palin pick at your own risk. Joe Biden could wipe the floor with her at any debate — will he hold back to avoid looking like he’s beating up on the “little lady?”

What would you suggest the Obama campaign do to stay out of this trap and hold McCain responsible for this incredibly reckless selection of veep?

 
 
 
 
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