Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Palin Effect

Sarah Palin is costing John McCain support among establishment conservatives, and today brings another one: Ken Adelman, Pentagon aide under Ronald Reagan, and a conservative who worked as a policy aide for the Ford, Nixon, and Bush administrations, has endorsed Obama:
Primarily for two reasons, those of temperament and of judgment.
When the economic crisis broke, I found John McCain bouncing all over the place. In those first few crisis days, he was impetuous, inconsistent, and imprudent; ending up just plain weird. Having worked with Ronald Reagan for seven years, and been with him in his critical three summits with Gorbachev, I’ve concluded that that’s no way a president can act under pressure.

Second is judgment. The most important decision John McCain made in his long campaign was deciding on a running mate.

That decision showed appalling lack of judgment. Not only is Sarah Palin not close to being acceptable in high office—I would not have hired her for even a mid-level post in the arms-control agency. But that selection contradicted McCain’s main two, and best two, themes for his campaign—Country First, and experience counts. Neither can he credibly claim, post-Palin pick.

But in addition to alienating the conservative punditry and policy makers, I think Sarah Palin scares the crap out of mainline conservatives.

According to the Washington Post:

In today's Post-ABC tracking poll, Obama is winning 22 percent of conservatives. That's his best showing yet among these voters, and if the percent holds on Election Day, it would be higher than conservative support for any Democratic nominee since 1980.

Obama also wins 12 percent support among Republicans in the tracking poll -- exactly double Kerry's 2004 Election Day haul.

Polls are funny things, but I’ve long believed that Sarah Palin was chosen because she appealed to the amygdala wing of the Republican Party. These are the people who vote on emotions--things like videos from Osama bin Laden, scare tactics about Democrats outlawing the Bible, the “threat” of gay marriage, etc.

But that’s not working so well this time, because people are even more frightened by something very real. The economic recession is not just a scary rumor of what might happen, it's a very real situation folks must face every day.

On top of all that, thinking people are rightfully alarmed at the strange and scary changes in John McCain over the past four years. There was a time when I considered him a less-evil alternative to Bush, I think most of us thought that. But this John McCain I see on TV now creeps me out. And his alliance to lobbyists like Charlie Black is more scary to me than some fake allegations about Bill Ayers.