Friday, August 29, 2008

Governor Sarah Palin: McCain's Trap Door?

Reckless! Irresponsible. Crazy...Inexperienced:

These are just a few of the adjectives being used to describe Republican nominee John McCain's choice for his Vice Presidential running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Let me go out on a limb and add another one: shrewd.

Yes, shrewd. This is how the McCain camp has gamed this selection out:

The Announcement

To the complete and utter surprise of the entire Washington and media establishment, Senator John McCain selects little-known Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin to be his running mate. With just under two years of experience under her belt, the selection rocks the country and re-establishes equilibrium in the coverage of both campaigns.

The Reaction

Hair trigger response from the Obama campaign. Slams McCain for choosing an inexperienced Governor with zero foreign policy experience.

Enter the Trap Door

The McCain camp quickly responds that Senator Obama and Governor Palin (Governor is an impressive title, even if it is in Alaska) have in fact both served in public roles for roughly the same number of years, and hence, have the same level of experience.

The Gamble

The McCain camp was hoping to get exactly the reaction it did. They are betting that in Obama making the experience case against Governor Palin, he is in fact making the case against his very own candidacy. In making the case for his candidacy, they feel that he in some way validates her existence on the ticket. A classic trap door.

The Remedy

Turn her into a pedestrian. Ignore her and solely focus on McCain.



Anonymous said...


This was the most tactically strategic pick by McCain. It was brilliant, actually implying that McCain may in fact be a smart strategist-not a bad thing for POTUS.

As you note she is invincible to attack. Say she is inexperienced, you get a boomerang right back in your face. Washington outsider? Woman? Elite Schooling? Change?Same response.

The "ignore" strategy does work best but it implies you can win on the issues alone. Higher taxes? Socialism? A difficult sell.

Jonathan said...

Thank you for your thoughtful response to my post.

It's all about defining your opponent and framing the issues. Whoever does that better, will win.

Please do feel free to respond to this and future posts!



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