Huffpost Politics

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Kristen Breitweiser Headshot

The New Moose on Obama's Back?

Posted: Updated:

My immediate reaction to Palin was dread. I figured that the Republicans no longer needed the "experience" argument against Obama. I worried that perhaps they had the goods on Obama elsewhere on issues such as "character" and "judgment" so that they now could enjoy the luxury of being able to throw one of their core arguments against Obama -- "experience" -- under the bus. (When we think about the impact of the Ayers commercial and the Obama campaign's reported poor response to it, there seems to be grounds for this worry.)

But then I thought more and realized that the choice of Palin in a weird way actually reaffirms the Republican's experience argument about Obama.

The Republicans are saying: Hey, if you are shocked with Palin potentially being a heartbeat away from the Oval Office, now you know how we feel about Obama's potential of actually being directly in the Oval Office!

When the Dems attack Palin as only being a Mayor of a small town and the Governor of Alaska for two years, the Republicans happily turn to Obama's resume--which is not something Dems should want to discuss. Let's not descend into bickering over what level of state office is more important than another because that is precisely what the Republicans want us to do!

When Dems mention Palin's running a commercial fishing company, the Republicans point to Obama's "community organizing." Again, this is not what Obama's campaign should be discussing!

Because once the McCain campaign is done arguing all weekend long about how Palin's record and experience is really no different than Obama's, the Republicans will then turn to their real argument: that when rightly measured up against McCain's record and experience, Obama's resume is alarmingly lacking.

Since nobody knows who Palin is, everybody is watching and wondering -- just in time for the Republican Convention. Brilliant. Almost as brilliant as the Republican's strategically timed announcement of Palin that completely trumped any coverage of Obama's incredible and historical acceptance speech. Just recognize that every person tuning in, Googling, and paying attention to who Palin is, is another new potential Republican vote. That's called reinvigorating the campaign by setting up renewed interest. And they did it even before their Convention.

Indeed, Palin is a strong woman. She is the mother of five children. She hunts and fishes. She walks the talk of her political positions. She is certainly not fast, slick or from Washington. In fact, her appearance and life story may seem comical to many of us snots on the coasts, but there are many people living in between who can relate precisely to a mother/woman/elected official who wears her hair like Sarah Palin. The big point here is that people can RELATE to her.

More to the point, the Republican base LOVES this woman. Any Republican who was biting their tongue to vote for McCain is now jazzed, wowed, and writing checks. Any doubts? Hold your nose, tune into FOX News, and just listen to how happy they are. This is the Republican base that will turn out on Election Day to counteract Obama's college vote. And that is why this race is far from over.

Finally, all this talk about McCain picking Palin to lure Hillary voters ought to stop. First and foremost, Palin stands in direct opposition to many core values of Progressive women --namely the right to choice. Speaking personally, Palin's staunch pro-life stance flat out scares me.

Second, the PUMAs apparently want Hillary to run in 2012. If Palin gets elected with McCain, that makes Hillary's chances in 2012 more difficult since Palin would have VP experience. So forget about any luring of Hillary supporters.

The Obama campaign should keep their eye focused on the ball. They should stop talking about Palin's lack of experience. In fact, they should stop talking about Palin altogether. Commend the choice and move on. Doing anything otherwise is merely playing into the hands of the Republicans.

Read more reaction from HuffPost bloggers to John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate