Is the experience argument over?

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Isn't the biggest problem with a Sarah Palin pick that by McCain's own standard, she fails:

John McCain's central and best argument in this campaign is that Barack Obama simply lacks the experience to be President of the United States. And now John McCain, who is a cancer survivor who turns 72 years old today, is picking a vice presidential nominee who has been governor of a small state for less than two years and prior to that was mayor of a town with roughly one-twenty-seventh of the citizens that Barack Obama represented when he was a state senator in Illinois.

Also, if you're making a play for Hillary voters---older, middle-aged white women in rust-belt states--is the way to get it done by bypassing, say, Carly Fiorina and Kay Bailey Hutchison, to pick a former Ms. Alaska who's only been governor for two years? There's a meme about Barack Obama reminding older women of the slick, handsome guy who beat them out for a big promotion, even though they were more qualified. But here's another very likely meme--Sarah Palin as the inexperienced, younger, attractive woman who beats them out for a promotion, even though they were more qualified.

UPDATE: Just want to bang on that last point a little more, as I just got off the phone with Kenyatta. I think there are some weakness to being a party associated with identity politics, and hopefully, the Dems are moving past that. But if you think about it, this is the sort of mistake you make when you have only a vague understanding of sexism and women's issues. I may be very, very, very wrong about this, but let me go out on a limb. I think "Hillary voters" can only resent Barack Obama but so much because he actually won an election. He wasn't appointed--he actually won, and that's a crucial difference.

Palin was appointed by a 72-year old man who passed over many more qualified, older women for a much younger, former runner-up for Mrs. Alaska with a thin resume. Add in the fact that this is a dude who left his wife after coming home from Vietnam for a much younger rich, former rodeo queen and you have the makings of a narrative. And it's not the sort of narrative that attracts "Hillary voters,"--it's the sort of narrative that attracts dirty old men. To be clear, I'm not saying that that's what McCain is. In fact, I think it's the opposite--this looks more hamfisted than sexist.


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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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