True to form, the advice to arrive 4 hours early left out some crucial information. The airport doesn't even open until 3 am, and you can't check in until 4 am. Consequently, there were bodies stretched out on the floor of the airport sleeping. It looked like a homeless shelter! Have you noticed how airports no longer have couches or any place to lie down and catch a nap or just rest? And guess what? None of the carts to carry the handicapped were operating yet. Plus, only one of the security gates was open. This was probably the busiest day the Denver airport will ever have, and they treated it like any other day. Go figure! It's been a hundred years since the last time Denver hosted the Democratic Convention. I bet it's another hundred before the next one.
While we were in the airport waiting for our plane, we heard rumors of Sarah Palin being picked as Vice President by John McCain. We didn't know for sure until we got to the Houston airport. We didn't have time to learn much about her, because there was little time between our flights. (But Houston did have electric carts - and nice people running them - one of them originally from Natchez.)
Once we got home I started researching Sarah Palin, but I was way too sleepy to learn much. But today, I've been doing plenty of research.
My bottom line analysis is that it was a brilliant move for McCain. The political pundits had been making much of the "enthusiasm" gap between the Democrats and the Republicans. And after the Democrats had such a successful Convention with their exciting candidates and excited delegates, McCain needed something bold to innervate his campaign. Picking Sarah Palin was definitely bold, and it immediately took the media attention away from the Democrats.
Palin will continue to get media attention, because she is a very interesting character. In fact, if McCain isn't careful, she'll eclipse him.
The first thing she did was excite the base of the Republican Party, because she is perfect on all the issues that they care about - guns, gays, God, and abortion. Plus she has a son in Iraq - and a handicapped child. What more could they ask for? Experience? Knowledge of foreign affairs? That's not important, and Senator McCain has that. Of course, he's 72 and might easily die in office and leave her as President - but they don't seem to worry about that.
Liberals and Democrats are horrified at the thought of President Sarah Palin, and they think every thinking person will be also. "Thinking" is the key word here. Most voters don't base their decisions on thought - but on who they like. (Think George Bush.)
And lots of voters are going to like this woman. If you want an interesting SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of Palin, check out this blog article by Andrew Halco, who ran against her as an Independent and lost. He has been a critic on his blog ever since the election, but he gives what appears to be an objective analysis. Here are some comments he made:
"You really have to have a high level of respect for Governor Palin in the sense that she has the real ability to connect with people. . . I've learned you never underestimate her. . . While I and others criticized her glittering generalities during the campaign, the more she spoke them the more people fell in love. That is the significant power she has of making voters forget about the policy and focus on the person."
She is extremely popular in Alaska, with favorability ratings in 80's. According to Halco, her Democratic opponent, Tony Knowles, was totally surprised by what his polling showed:
Palin scored off the charts with well educated moderate and liberal women. This seemed counter intuitive given Palin's inability to articulate public policies and her very conservative postion on issues such as abortion. But this was the power of Palin.
So Democrats had better not underestimate this woman. Is she unqualified to be Vice President? Absolutely. Will people care? That remains to be seen.
She's definitely not used to the unbelievable media scrutiny she will be under. She will undoubtedly make gaffes and have unfavorable press. She's used to saying what she thinks and doing what she wants - and getting away with it. That won't happen anymore. But will it matter?
Palin's selection was a blatant play by McCain for the disillusioned Hillary supporters. Hillary has done everything she possibly could to persuade her supporters to get behind Obama, and the Obama campaign has made several significant moves in the right direction. However, it's obvious his campaign still doesn't get it when it comes to women. (That pathetic roll call vote was a perfect example.) However, most Hillary supporters will vote for Obama because of the issues they care about. But a certain percentage will be drawn to McCain by the presence of Palin. The size of the percentage may determine who wins this election.
Any person who runs for President has to have a healthy ego. Obama's was too big to allow him to take a chance on selecting Hillary (and Bill) for Vice President - a move that would have guaranteed his election. McCain's ego is also huge, but he took the risk of selecting Palin, because he thought it might be the move than wins him the election. We'll see in November who made the right decision.