August 29, 2008

Dare To Be Stupid?

Posted by Adam Graham in : Presidential Race 2008

I went to bed last night, fairly certain that the VP Pick would be Tim Pawlenty. But this word comes out of Minnesota:

ST. PAUL – Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will not be John McCain’s running mate.

The Republican governor told WCCO radio this morning that he is not the pick, and will host his weekly radio show from the Minnesota State Fair instead.

His comments end more than two years of speculation that he would run with his long-time friend, the Arizona senator who next week Republicans will nominate as their presidential candidate.

In an early-morning telephone interview with WCCO political reporter Eric Eskola, Pawlenty said he plans to conduct his radio show, which means he will not be in Dayton, Ohio, where McCain is to announce his vice presidential selection. When Eskola asked if that meant he would not be on the ticket, Pawlenty replied: “That is a safe assumption.”

Where does that leave us? It leaves us with a pick that is guaranteed to be somewhat unwise with chances of blowing up in McCain’s face.  For various reasons, this pick is going to appear to be stupid and unwise, but John McCain from all intents has decided to listen to Weird Al’s advice and has decided to dare to be stupid.

How stupid will the pick be? I think on a Stupidity scale from 10 (incredibly wise) to -10 (mind-blowingly stupid), Pawlenty was about a 0. The candidates mentioned out there range from the reasonable picks with a very serious flaw to absolute stupidity.

Governor Sarah Palin (R-Alaska)

Why She Makes Sense: Popularity rating in her home state higher than any elected official in the country with a reform image. She’s smart, good looking, conservative, truly pro-life and a great lady.

Why She Doesn’t Make Sense: I love Sarah Palin as a political leader; she a fine lady.  A pick of Sarah Palin has a huge potential downside. McCain is running on the issue of experience. Sarah Palin would have the least major political experience of any major candidate for Vice-President since Sargent Shriver in 1972. It really would undercut the McCain campaign message of experience. If she’s inaugurated, in a period of less than two years, Sarah Palin would go from being the former mayor of Wasila, Alaska (pop. 8, 471) to being one heartbeat away from the presidency.  That’s very hard to sell, but if McCain wants a woman who will be acceptable to the conservative base, all he’s got is Palin and a few conservative members of Congress.

Stupid Scale: -0.5

Mitt Romney:

Why to nominate him: Exconomic experience, Karl Rove/National Review says so.  Also, he may help in Michigan and Nevada.

While I doubt McCain cares, this would be a great pick for Idaho. If Mitt Romney is the VP, then I think it’s safe to say that Idaho Republicans are going to have a good year. 

Why it’s stupid:  The probelm with Romney is that the DNC is ready to counter McCain’s attack ads on the Biden pick with those of their own. The McCain-Romney feud was quite bitter. Also, many conservatives simply don’t trust Romney, and there will be some people who will choose not to support the ticket on the basis of that lack of trust. You also have to question how effective Romney is going to be as a candidate. Look at what he spent in the primaries to lose. He spent tens of millions of dollars in South Carolina, got numerous major endorsements there and finished 4th. It was a disaster of a campaign, given his expectations. Will voters in the general trust him more?

The wealth issue is important, too. McCain’s been hit on 7 houses; Romney is even richer. His experience at Bain Capital includes reorganizations, which have meant layoffs and lost jobs. This is not the guy you want up there in an economy where people are hurting.

Stupid Rating: -2.0

Joe Lieberman

Why to Nominate Him: A truly bi-partisan ticket plus McCain likes Lieberman.

Why Not to Nominte Him: It’s an across the board offense to every part of the conservative base, other than the Neo-Cons. Plus, according to some accounts, this will mean there’ll have to be a vote on the convention floor to change party rules about nominees being registered Republicans thirty days before the convention. That would be fun. Expecting Republicans to vote for a Left-wing Cancer Survivor [meaning there is concerns about McCain dying in office] and a Liberal Democrat running mate is a bridge too far for most people.

Then we’d have four senators running for President, which would be incredibly stupid.

Add to this that Lieberman doesn’t bring along anyone that he wouldn’t bring along were he just endorsing the ticket and it really makes no sense.

Stupid Rating: -5

Tom Ridge

Why to Nominate: Could bring along Pennsylvania, “Moderate”, National Security Experience.

Why It’s Stupid: This even a worse choice than Joe Lieberman. Lieberman would not be running for President anytime in the future, so conservtives could psyche themselves out and vote for McCain, hoping that McCain has really good health. Ridge indicates that, if elected, McCain will have annointed a pro-choice moderate as the next leader of the Party. Ideologically and experience-wise, there’s no need for Ridge. He didn’t have any eye-popping accomplishments as Governor and the odds of him swinging Pennsylvania are slim. (He hasn’t been elected to anything there since 1998.) Ridge is a poke in the eye and is ultimately going to depress the conservative base.

Stupid Rating: -7.5

Meg Whitman, CEO of Ebay

Why to Nominate Her: Business experience, female

Why It’s Stupid: Meg Whitman combines the pro-abortion views of Tom Ridge, wealth that makes Mitt Romney look like a pauper, and absolutely no political experience. It would be as if McCain got up and asked himself, “How do we totally blow a winnable election?” If you nominate Meg Whitman, you’ll have found a very successful way to do it.

Stupid Rating: -9

Carly Fiorina

Why to Nominate Her: Same Reasons as Whitman

Why It’s Stupid: If McCain is looking for the Stupidest choice, it would be Fiorina, whose business performance record is far less successful than Whitman’s. Also, unlike Whitman, Fiorina has a record of eliminating jobs and being generally unpleasant to work for. Fiorina makes no sense whatsoever, yet she’s been speculated on. With Carly Fiorina, we’ll have achieved something remarkable, a pick that will be written about for centuries to come. She’d reign supreme in the realm truly stupid VP picks.

Stupid Rating: -10

UPDATE: Make of this what you will from Reb. Rob Schenk:

DAYTON, Ohio, Aug. 29/Christian Newswire/ — President of the conservative and pro-life National Clergy Council, Rev. Rob Schenck (pronounced SHANK), will be a VIP guest at John McCain’s campaign announcement today in Dayton Ohio when he will name his Vice Presidential running mate. Mr. Schenck, who just returned from the Democratic National Convention, was told this morning by confidential sources that Senator McCain has selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, a pro-life Catholic.

Don’t know if I buy it. I do know that Palin is a protestant and not a Catholic.

UPDATE: Fox news reports that the people of Alaska have misplaced the governor.

UPDATE 2: Updated thoughts.


  1. Comment by Cameron

    I love the pick. It shows aggressiveness, adds youth to the ticket, gender excitement, and energy issue gravitas.

  2. Comment by Julie in Boise

    Well, it looks like he picked your least-stupid choice, Adam. Congratulations – and thanks for taking McCain’s only real issue, Obama’s supposed lack of experience – clean off the table. And if he thinks he’ll snare disaffected Hillary voters this way, he is delusional.

    The fact that Sarah Palin is a Vandal and an Idaho native may hurt my side by a few percentage points here in the Gem State, though not nearly as badly as Mitt Romney could have. But nationally, this choice is being derided among the worst in history.

    The VP pick is a presidential hopeful’s first big decision. It’s good to know you’ll agree (and disagree with your friend Bryan F) that McCain blew his.

  3. Comment by Cameron

    McCain doesn’t have to make the case for Obama’s inexperience. He’ll let Hillary and Biden do it for him.

    That said, she has run a state, and her experience is almost exclusively executive.

    And I’m not sure how Obama could attack Palin for a lack of experience, seeing as how at best he’s almost as experienced as she is, and he’s actually running for president rather than as vice president. Though it looks like his campaign is falling for the trap.

  4. Comment by Smith Kennedy

    Carly Fiorina couldn’t run HP Effectivley…
    Why would even want to give her the chance to Run the Nation?

    She is a gas bag who should just drop into the obscurity she came from (After running Lucent/Nortel into the Ground)

  5. Comment by Adam Graham

    Julie, I think saying the issue of experience is spin. It does undercut McCain’s focus on experience. He can always make the argument that there’s a difference between President and Vice-President. The Palin choice rated only a -0.5 on the Stupid Scale. Whether he blew it or not depends on whether what he gained outclassed what he lost. I may have slightly underestimated the upside.

  6. Comment by Joan E. Harman

    Oh yeah, Palin is a mother of 5. THAT’S sufficient qualification. Just listen to the GOP praising the h out of her being a mother of 5! The FIRST executive power is being a MOM! Sorry, but I have a different stupidity grade, make that minus 11.

  7. Comment by Cameron

    “Oh yeah, Palin is a mother of 5. THAT’S sufficient qualification.”

    🙂 No one’s saying it is sufficient. But it is a part of who she is, it says something important about her, and it is most definitely praiseworthy.

  8. Comment by Adam Graham

    I’d agree that motherhood alone doesn’t qualify. However, if instead of having five children, she had five abortions, she’d be viewed as a good pick by the left.

  9. Comment by Julie in Boise

    Adam, per your last comment, please give me a break. When are social cons going to learn that no Democrat would celebrate anyone having ANY abortions, much less five? How ludicrous can you be?

    Every abortion is a tragedy. But because abortions have happened throughout history and will never go away, we must be realistic and keep the procedure “safe, legal, and rare” (I still like that phrase). You demonize Planned Parenthood, but no organization in this country has prevented more abortions by helping women access contraceptive services (namely the Pill) that help women decide whether and when to have children.

    Of course, I realize that you believe birth control is wrong and that women should have as many children as God wants us to have, and so you oppose contraception, too. But that’s a fringe view and also one incompatible with being able to sustain life on our planet, at this point in our history.

    Please stop mischaracterizing progressives’ views.

  10. Comment by Adam Graham

    Apparently, according to Joan, having 5 kids is a disqualification, I thought having 5 abortions might help Joan. If you want to attack the woman’s motherhood, the only alternative is you’d rather she’d had abortions.

    Planned Parenthood was founded by a genocidal racist and aids and abetts child molestors. The abortion industry harbors doctors who hurt women because they can’t find another doctors to do abortions. As for contraception, 58% of women who had abortions were using contraception before they got abortion, so the idea that using contraception presents abortion is nonsense.

    Julie the far left opposes parental notiication and parental consent, which 80 +% of the American people support, opposes 24 hour waiting periods for abortion (while in many cases supporting waiting periods for handguns), opposes informed consent. In my old state of Montana, the far left sued to overturn a law that required that only physicians be able to perform abortion. These are regulations that make abortion safer and rarer, yet they are opposed by the far left. When the opposition to these type of common sense measures stops, I’ll reconsider whether “Safe, legal, and rare” actually means anything.

    I’ve never said I have any problems with people using non-abortifacient birth control (such as diphrams, condoms, what have you), vassectomies, having tubes tied, etc. yet you mischaracterized me as wanting to force every one to have as many children as God wants them to have. So in asking me stop mischaracterizing the left’s position, you’re choosing to mischaracterize mine. And if you went to the Democratic Convention and listened carefully, you saw Republicans mischaracterized all over the place. It was not an honest discussion of what the GOP actually believed, but rather was filled with exaggerations to throw red beat to the base.

  11. Comment by Ro Lauer

    Give me a break. I am somewhat of a leftist myself and 5 abortions would not make me think she was wonderful. Pardon me, your ignorance is showing. Being mayor of a village and being active in one of the country’s biggest cities hardly put the Rep VP candidate and the Barack Obama in the same category. Being a gun-packing NRA member hardly puts her in the “feminine” category. Kind of makes a better comparison to Bush’s VP!

  12. Comment by Adam Graham

    Glad to know your contempt for small town America and gun owners is well-represented by your party’s nominee. Also, I’m glad that contrary to popular wisdom, that liberals truly understand that women should only touch this like doll sets, and definitely not guns. Women can’t be women if they touch guns. Thanks for the enlightenment.

  13. Comment by M.A. in MA

    I wonder who Palin will choose as her running mate in 4 years!

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