A Random Thought:
I'm cautiously optimistic about the Palin pick. I don't know much about her, but from what I have learned in the last 24 hours I see a lot of strengths in her candidacy over the other possible picks. On an only marginally-related note, I have to wonder: Are Pres/VP tickets consisting of two white men going to become a thing of the past? Or at least relatively rare? With the precedent of two "non traditional" tickets established, I wonder if the norm will shift.
It's the McDonald's formula.

Anytime 2 people are shown together, one must be either female or minority.

3 - 1 female and 1 minority
4 - 2 females, 2 minority
5 - 2 females, 2 minority, somebody with an obvious handicap

8.29.2008 12:49pm
VincentPaul (mail):
Let's hope that future tickets will have at least one female candidate representing each party.
8.29.2008 12:50pm
J. Aldridge:
Read somewhere that Bill Clinton was the countries first black president.
8.29.2008 12:54pm
martinned (mail) (www):
"Cautiously optimistic"??? Seriously?
8.29.2008 12:57pm
The Unbeliever:
With the precedent of two "non traditional" tickets established, I wonder if the norm will shift.
One data point does not make a trend. Consider the gap between Ferraro's candidacy and now.
8.29.2008 1:02pm
One data point does not make a trend. Consider the gap between Ferraro's candidacy and now.

Yes, that's why I was only "wondering."
8.29.2008 1:04pm
(Full Disclosure: I'm voting for McCain, and am a "Catholic for McCain".)

Can we now drop the debate about whether the Democratic Party would have chosen Obama if he were white? Let's be blunt: They would not have. Nor would McCain have chosen Palin if Alaska had had a Gov. Bob Palin.

So: Enough already?

These are the tickets. It's a done deal. On with the election.
8.29.2008 1:24pm
Bskldafj (mail) (www):
Why is everyone ignoring the obvious here. She is hot!
8.29.2008 1:27pm
Crafty Hunter (www):
To Hell with cynically picking minorities and other demeaning political gameplaying. What about a strong cartoon character? I've set up a poll.

Is Bugs Bunny a better Presidential pick than either McCain or Obama?
8.29.2008 1:33pm

You seem to suggest you're a McCain voter.

Will you tell us why?
8.29.2008 1:37pm
Loophole1998 (mail):
Really? I don't think she is all that hot.
8.29.2008 1:41pm

If McCain was going purely for "pick the woman," I think he would have selected Kay Bailey Hutchinson. I think he actually went for her because of energy and because she's a maverick (i.e. willing to go after her own party) but is philosophically conservative.

She is extremely vulnerable, though, because she's so thin on experience and is a total unknown. Remember, Obama had been building his campaign for President since 2004. He was well known in the party and to the press/pundits by the time he announced in January 2007. He then had 20 months to introduce himself. Palin has to go from zero name recognition to Vice President in 67 days.

The press, in coordination with the Obama campaign, will spin this as a pure pander play by McCain, and one borne from desperation. The question is whether McCain and Palin will be able to overcome that spin. It's very, very risky on McCain's part, that's all I'll say.
8.29.2008 1:42pm
Jane (mail):
I will be satisfied when we get to the point where we actually are more concerned about their vision for the country and the actual past actions / experience rather than discussing their 'demographic' endlessly.
8.29.2008 1:42pm
VincentPaul (mail):
Palin hit a grand slam at Ohio. She's a wonderful public speaker.
8.29.2008 1:48pm

I agree that it is risky. If she can perform well in interviews over the weekend and into September, then the "narrative" that this was a case of pandering may not last.

Hutchinson would have been "safer" in a number of ways. But she has some baggage that Palin does not, and is not loved by all conservatives.

Your point anout Plain's "energy" is dead-on. I had never seen her give a speech before. Since I fist heard her name in connection with national offce, I've seen only TV segments on YouTube.

But in Dayton, she certainly struck me as energetic. The crowd also seemed very excited by her. So this may breathe some wind into GOP sails, which have been much in the doldrums during W's second administration.

I still can't say it's a great pick. If she can prove to me that she is a strong runningmate, I'll be quite happy come back on and admit I was wrong.
8.29.2008 2:06pm
Apart from Palin's attributes, this looks like a pick from desperation for the McCain campaign to me. It's a recognition that the shape of this race fundamentally does not favor the Republican candidate, and that drastic measures are probably needed to alter the dynamic. Among other things, it will force the McCain campaign to modulate the drumbeat of "inexperience" arguments that it has been deploying against Obama. Not eliminate them entirely, but they will lack a lot of punch after this announcement.

Now, that said, desperation might well have been warranted, and it's certainly plausible that this effort to shake up the race will, indeed, shake up the race. I think this is almost certainly yet another McCain attempt to appeal to disaffected Clinton supporters. The extent to which he is successful will depend upon how well liberal interest groups and the Obama campaign itself highlights McCain's discouraging stances on women's rights issues. In particular, polling data suggests that his doctrinaire pro-life voting record continues to be unknown by much of the general public. If that theme is pushed hard in stump speeches and Obama attack ads from this point out, I think some of the value of the Palin pick will be neutralized, and her drawbacks (less experience than Obama, untested debating skills versus Joe Biden's known sharpness) will become more evident.

Can't fault the McCain campaign for trying, though. It will very interesting to see, in the wake of the GOP convention, where the state of the race stands after two weeks of exciting political coverage.
8.29.2008 2:13pm
KeithK (mail):
The Democrats are already trying to spin the pick as a sign of desperation (Clyburn said that in a speech today). It's hard to see how a candidate who has been gaining ground in polls for a two months and is now basically even should be desperate with two months to go. But that's politics.

It certainly is a bold pick. He didn't go for a safe choice such as Rommney. Bold doesn't always mean good though and while bold moves sometimes win battles sometimes they lead to defeat too. Sixty seven days until we find out.
8.29.2008 2:32pm
Casper the Friendly Guest:
You can really see this woman being president? Wow. The bar has been lowered over the past 8 years but still, wow.
8.29.2008 2:43pm
Keith, in games of strategy, some argue that one man's bold move is another man's desperate move. It depends on what your side of the chessboard happens to be.

I think a big perception of this period of the race was that it was Obama's to lose - McCain has been gaining ground that was Obama's to begin with; more of a question of who is setting the table in terms of the issue discussion and what is "important".

But I agree with you; sixty-seven days left until we know for sure... Can I just say I found this current cycle far more interesting than the last 3 election cycles?
8.29.2008 2:45pm
When asked in early August if she wanted VP by Larry Kudlow she said she couldnnt answer, "until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day."

Even for this Republican, McCain cannot possibly argue that Palin is ready to be President and Obama is not. That's absurd.
8.29.2008 2:52pm
KD--Can one argue that neither is ready? But only one is running for that office?
8.29.2008 3:17pm
Anderson (mail):
whether the Democratic Party would have chosen Obama if he were white?

You're kidding, right?

I think Prof. Kerr's take is about right -- the Palin pick at least holds the promise of success, whereas there was little to hope for from Romney.

(Similar logic is leading me to vote Obama in November.)
8.29.2008 5:45pm
great unknown (mail):
KD: can you tell me what the vice president does every day? How many times does he/she have to cast a tie-breaking vote? How usefully have vice presidents acted as presidents of the senate?
Palin's question was: why should I, as an energetic, constructive individual give up a position wherein I can truly contribute for a ceremonial one? This might be a shocking question for a politician whose overriding passion is self-aggrandizement.

Patrick216: Indeed, Obama has been introducing himself and ingratiating himself with the press since 2004. And that's all he has been doing. Can you point to any other "accomplishments" since then? And he's been doing this while receiving a salary as a "legislator" for - when he shows up - voting "present."

There may be another reason McCain chose Palin: she is a kindred spirit in the fight against pork.

A somewhat prescient blog about her, from early June, can be found at
8.29.2008 6:29pm
David Warner:

""Cautiously optimistic"??? Seriously?"

Nice dog whistle, there. Did you even read what she said? The follow up:

"In an interview Thursday, Palin said she meant only to say that discussion of alternative views should be allowed to arise in Alaska classrooms:

'I don't think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn't have to be part of the curriculum.'

She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state's required curriculum.

Members of the state school board, which sets minimum requirements, are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Legislature.

'I won't have religion as a litmus test, or anybody's personal opinion on evolution or creationism,' Palin said."

Healthier pedagogy and Popperian philosophy of science than seen from some scientists and most political hacks.
8.30.2008 3:12am