Krauthammer’s Election Post-Mortem and Sarah Palin
Charles Krauthammer maintains that McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin was a mistake because it undercut the principal argument against Obama — his inexperience — and changed the election narrative to stories about Palin’s inexperience.
I agree that selecting Palin made the inexperience argument more difficult (although I think a case can be made that the argument retained at least some viability because of it’s perceived immediacy to the top of a ticket). But absent reliable data that Palin cost McCain votes he otherwise would’ve gotten (or that voters migrated to Obama because experience was no longer a salient issue) I’m not persuaded that the selection was, on balance, a mistake.
Prior to the selection of Palin, McCain’s campaign wasn’t exactly lighting up the Republican base. The names Romney and Pawlenty were generating mostly yawns. Palin’s selection electrified the base like no other candidate on a GOP ticket since Reagan. It caused many wary and dispirited conservatives to reconcile with the top of the ticket. Even though the media onslaught against her may have had an effect on the ticket’s final numbers, I’m not sure there’s any evidence that those numbers would’ve been higher had someone else been the VP nominee. My guess is the reverse is true.
In the meantime, a remarkable political talent has been “discovered”.