Detroit -- As Ed Craig notes here, Palin’s home-run speech not only raised her market value, but the value of energy common sense as well.
Palin offers conservatives (if the Goracle disciple at the top of her ticket agrees — a big “if”) a real opportunity to bring the dangers of green extremism home to Joe Sixpack.
Here in Michigan, two counties are key to winning this swing state (they are national bellwethers too): White-collar Oakland and blue-collar Macomb which sit shoulder to shoulder north of Detroit. Palin’s personal story will be a powerful magnet for Oakland’s decisive soccer/hockey mom electorate.
But heavily union Macomb is the real prize for McCain. Home to the famous “Reagan Democrats,” Macomb should be fertile ground for straight-talking, military vet McCain.
Stan Greenberg, Bill Clinton’s pollster in 1992, is an authority on Macomb County. This election year, Harold Meyerson reports in the Detroit News, Macomb unionists’ “ideal presidential candidate, Greenberg says, would be an ‘outsider, middle-class’ senator who expresses their anger at their betrayal by America’s economic and political elites.”
But Obama doesn’t fit that description and union leaders “are painfully aware of the challenge they face.” As a result, McCain is running ahead in Macomb, but his support is soft due to his green, anti-auto rhetoric – not to mention Bushitis.
Enter Palin to seal the deal.
She apparently understands why developing domestic natural resources is a jobs engine. Teamsters jobs. AFL-CIO jobs. Union workers know that pipeline development brings trucking and construction jobs. All Palin has to do is connect the dots for Macomb’s working class. And her United Steelworker Union husband puts a human face on how oil is not only a strategic argument but an economic one as well.
Contrast the Palin family with elites like the Obamas and the Gores and you bring the climate debate to a human level. So you want to ban oil drilling? And deny my husband a job?
The Left understands the political danger of making American sacrifice for green ideology through higher energy costs. That is precisely why they have pursued a stealth campaign of renewable portfolio standards, restricting oil and coal development, fuel mileage regulations, and so on.
Politics matters. By “humanizing” oil production, Palin can help make energy policy a pocketbook issue.
– Henry Payne is a writer and editorial cartoonist for the Detroit News.