Posted by WLS:
Survey taken 8/29-8/31 — first poll taken after both tickets were known.
And the GOP hasn’t had its convention yet.
McCain is going to be ahead 5-6 points next Sunday.
Which will make Jim Vandehei and John Harris look pretty stupid for having written this article based on their own knee jerk reaction to Palin’s selection:
The selection of a running mate is among the most consequential and the most defining decisions a presidential nominee can make. John McCain’s pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says a lot about his decision-making — and some of it is downright breathtaking…
1. He’s desperate. Let’s stop pretending this race is as close as national polling suggests. [I guess that explains why all the electoral map projections show McCain closing ground on Obama -- just as he's closed ground in the national polls -- WLS] The truth is McCain is essentially tied or trailing in every swing state that matters…. On top of that, voters seem very inclined to elect Democrats in general this election — and very sick of the Bush years.
McCain could easily lose in an electoral landslide. That is the private view of Democrats and Republicans alike.
2. He’s willing to gamble — bigtime. Let’s face it: This is not the pick of a self-confident candidate. It is the political equivalent of a trick play or, as some Democrats called it, a Hail Mary pass in football. [How about its a candidate making tactical and strategic decisions that give him the best opportunity to prevail. Obama thought Biden did that for him, so as the "change" candidate he picked a guy who came to the Senate before Watergate, and who has twice been resounding rejected by his own party as "CinC" material. Yep - that's really "self-confident" on Obama's part. -- WLS]
He is smart enough to know it could work, at least politically. Many Republicans see this pick as a brilliant stroke, because it will be difficult for Democrats to run hard against a woman in the wake of the Hillary Clinton drama. Will this push those disgruntled Hillary voters McCain’s way? Perhaps. But this is hardly aimed at them: It is directed at the huge bloc of independent women who could decide this election — especially those who do not see abortion as a make-or-break issue.
3. He’s worried about the political implications of his age. Like a driver overcorrecting out of a swerve, he chooses someone who is two years younger than the youthful Obama and 28 years younger than he is. (He turned 72 on Friday.) The father-daughter comparison was inevitable when they appeared next to each other.
4. He’s not worried about the actuarial implications of his age. He thinks he’s in fine fettle and Palin wouldn’t be performing the main constitutional duty of a vice president, which is standing by in case a president dies or becomes incapacitated. If he were really concerned about an inexperienced person sitting in the Oval Office, we would be writing about vice presidential nominee Mitt Romney or Tom Ridge or Condoleezza Rice.
Nor can McCain argue that he was looking for someone he could trust as a close adviser.
McCain has made a mockery out of his campaign’s longtime contention that Barack Obama is too dangerously inexperienced to be commander in chief.
The McCain campaign has made a calculation that most voters don’t really care about the national experience or credentials of a vice president, and that Palin’s ebullient personality and reputation as a reformer who took on cesspool politics in Alaska matters more. [The truth is that the McCain campaign has done as much damage to Obama on the experience/celebrity issue as he is going to be able to do. They've made that question central to Obama -- its already established the narrative on that subject. There is no need to bludgeon the public with it for another 10 weeks. They're going to move on to what an extreme liberal he is now. -- WLS]
5. He’s worried about his conservative base. If he had room to maneuver, there were lots of people McCain could have selected who would have represented a break from Washington politics as usual. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman comes to mind (and it certainly came to McCain’s throughout the process). He had no such room. GOP stalwarts were furious over trial balloons about the possibility of choosing a supporter of abortion rights, including the possibility that he would reach out to his friend.
6. At the end of the day, McCain is still McCain. People may find him a refreshing maverick or an erratic egotist. In either event, he marches to his own beat.
I’ve got a lot of respect for these two guys as political writers. Maybe they were working on deadline, and this was the best they could come up with. But this is ham-handed and deserves to be mocked. I think they’ll come to regret their snap judgments.