Friday, August 29, 2008

Cherchez La . . .

If reports be true, John McCain has picked Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. It's obviously a naked appeal to disappointed Hillary voters, but it is a bold move that could be a game-changer.

As I pointed out months ago, the Democrats were at a basic game-theoretical disadvantage here. Their convention came first. Obama had to pick his Veep before McCain picked his. Specifically, that meant McCain got to decide whether to go with a woman after knowing whether Obama had done so. Obama didn't have the same luxury. Big problem.

The lesson for the future is that there's a substantial disadvantage to going first. Of course, there might be other advantages too -- I'm sure the real pols think about all the ins and outs of this carefully. But it sure seems to me that the Democrats need to plan their next convention carefully with this issue in mind. (Actually, if whoever wins this time runs again it won't be a big deal, because one side's Vice Presidential candidate will be known. But the time after that.)

Well, we'll see if this really helps McCain. Yes, Palin is a woman, and that shakes things up, but what does it do to his big experience argument? Is she ready to be President? Heck, she's younger than I am. She's has no foreign policy experience. She hasn't been tested on the national stage. She has no name recognition. And there's some potential abuse-of-power scandal brewing about her. Maybe this will be another Geraldine Ferraro. We'll see.

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