Ponnuru: "Governor For Two Minutes;" "Token;" "Reckless"

More

Ramesh Ponnuru deserves major props for this very honest post:

Both the pros and the cons are pretty obvious. I’m going to focus on the cons, mostly because conservatives right now seem to be paying them less attention.

The pros: She’s a pro-life conservative reformer from outside Washington, and a woman. The pick signals a boldness and willingness to mix things up that the McCain campaign, like Republicans generally, need.

The cons: Inexperience. Palin has been governor for about two minutes. Thanks to McCain’s decision, Palin could be commander-in-chief next year. That may strike people as a reckless choice; it strikes me that way. And McCain's age raised the stakes on this issue. As a political matter, it undercuts the case against Obama.

Conservatives are pointing out that it is tricky for the Obama campaign to raise the issue of her inexperience given his own, and note that the presidency matters more than the vice-presidency. But that gets things backward. To the extent the experience, qualifications, and national-security arguments are taken off the table, Obama wins. And it’s not just foreign policy. Palin has no experience dealing with national domestic issues, either. (On the other hand, as Kate O’Beirne just told me, we know that Palin will be ready for that 3 a.m. phone call: She’ll already be up with her baby.)

Tokenism. Can anyone say with a straight face that Palin would have gotten picked if she were a man?

Compatibility. It doesn’t seem as though McCain knows Palin well. Do we have much reason to think they would work well together?

Debates. Maybe, as Jonah said the other day, Biden will look like a bully going up against herand maybe she’ll shine. But I can think of a lot of other picks who would have been lower-risk.

I am not even sure that the pick will have quite the galvanizing effect on conservatives that it seems to be having now as it sinks in. The concerns I’ve mentioned hereabout her readiness and her credentialsare the kind of thing that many conservative voters take seriously.

Now, as I said, there are pros too. Maybe Palin will be a terrific candidate and vice president. But let’s not underestimate the potential downside.

Jump to comments

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Ghost Trains of America

Can a band of locomotive experts save vintage railcars from ruin?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Video

How Is Social Media Changing Journalism?

How new platforms are transforming radio, TV, print, and digital

Video

The Place Where Silent Movies Sing

How an antique, wind-powered pipe organ brings films to life

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down