Sunday, August 31, 2008


A question that arose in the last day as I mulled over the Palin pick was, "Will she be another Eagleton?"

St. Louis native Sen. Thomas Eagleton was dropped as Sen. George McGovern's VP selection in 1972 after it was revealed that Eagleton had received treatment for "exhaustion", code for some form of mental health issue. Mental health issues-of all sorts and severities-are still relatively kept quiet today, but then they were even more taboo; especially amongst elected officials and others in powerful positions.

On August 1, less than two weeks after his selection, Eagleton was replaced on the ticket with Sagent Shriver-the Kennedy relative and father of the first lady of California, Maria Shriver. 

Yet, a Time Magazine poll at the time showed a majority of voters (77%) were not troubled by Eagleton's medical history.

Though not likely the killing blow, McGovern went on to loose the election in a massive defeat. The chaos created by the late-game switch, and voters apparent lack of concern over the issue, gave his Republican opponent, President Richard Nixon, an irresistable opportunity to attack McGovern's judgement.

The question now is, will we see Palin dropped from the ticket for a safer-if less "maverick"-choice following several weeks of the media's investigation into Palin and what is really going on with the investigations into her alleged abuse of power? 

What will a week of the national media trawling Alaska for every bit of information on Palin do to the McCain campaign? A campaign sapped by efforts to react to the stories they media is likely to uncover-the obscure or the eye-openers-is not an unlikely outcome.

The short-term politics of the decision may be regretted before long. Selecting a VP who is likely to be deposed as part of an investigation into a potential abuse of power (firing of an official for not buckling under the Governor's pressure), is not likely to strike many voters as a wise decision.

They may have blasted away at Sen. Barack Obama's expected post-convention bump, but they may limp away with a hole in their foot.

- Murphy

Noonan on Obama's Speech

Peggy Noonan, former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, on her reaction to Sen. Barack Obama's speech.

In short: muted but powerful; defining his campaign as serious and worthy of examination; hefty. However, she believes it allows Republicans an opening; the opportunity to use wit and humor against him.

It would be interesting to see how likely that prediction holds up following the announcement of Gov. Sarah Palin as Sen. John McCain's VP pick. 

A week or two under the hot lights of a media that might think it had one pulled over on it are likely to drive the humor from their bodies, especially those unaccustomed to its ways.

(Via War and Piece)

- Murphy

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin Fails First Judgement Call...

...By accepting McCain's offer. 

McCain has already displayed a shocking disrespect for the office of the President and the American people with his mind-boggling choice. Now Palin has compounded the decision by accepting. 

How many people of good judgment, knowing their qualifications to sit a heart-beat form the Presidency are as thin as Palin's, and respected the responsibility and seriousness of the job, would accept such an offer? 

It's like the plot from a bad teen movie where the main character wakes up one day to see they have been selected as the VP. 

Palin has earned her position as Governor of Alaska–though her track record there seriously undercuts the Republicans' defensive argument that she has executive experience–but the stakes are substantially higher when your job is to be the backup for the leader of the free world.

- Murphy

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kevin Drum laments the fact that Democrats seem to walk right up to the edge of explaining why Sen. John McCain has abandoned any appearance of principle or character in order to bash his way to the White House, but fail to juxtapose his current "by any means necessary" approach to what made him popular in the first place. 

Both McCain's "maverick" image and his current 24/7 pander-fest have been artifice. His current effort allowed him to squeak through the hole split by the spectacular self-immolation of the campaigns Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Gov. Mitt Romney, but at the cost of abandoning his previous, well-crafted, cantankerous "truth-teller" public persona.

The Republicans are currently dissing the DNC's convention with the line "A Mile High and an Inch Deep". Yet that back-of-the-rolling-papers commentary could effectively sum up the McCain campaign.

The McCain "campaign" exists only as long as no one looks directly at it. 

As an orchestrated effort to woo the voters, it ranks around the level of a portrait photographer's birdie gimmick.