Miscellaneous musings from the perspective of a lefty (both senses) atheist with a warped sense of humor.

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Location: Madison, WI, United States

I am a geek, but I do have some redeeming social skills. I love other people's dogs, cats, and kids. Snow sucks, but I'm willing to put up with it just to live in Madison.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Conventional Political Wisdom

Conventional political wisdom says that a major consideration in picking a VP candidate is how much that candidate's state will help bring in lots of votes you wouldn't normally expect to get in the Electoral College.

So we have Joe Biden of Delaware, whose 3 electoral votes went to Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004 and would surely have gone for Obama anyway in 2008.

And now we have Sarah Palin of Alaska, whose 3 electoral votes went to Bush in 2000 and 2004 and would surely have gone for McCain anyway in 2008.

Hmmm, no help in either case.

Geographical balance: Obama (IL central), Biden (DE east): check. McCain (AZ south), Palin (AK north): check.

Experience factor: McCain (72 today! HB, John) elected to Senate in 1986, Biden (65) in 1973. Old white guys balance out.

Diversity factor: Obama 47, Palin 44. Non-old, non-white, non-guys balance out.

Attack-dog factor: Biden known to be able to appeal to working-class voters and rip the lungs out of political opponents. Anti-abortion Palin probably has an uphill battle reaching out to women but got started in politics by railing against political corruption in Alaska; remains to be seen if she can bite the heads off donkeys on the national stage. VP debate should be interesting.

Novelty factor: Obama #1 person of color on major-party ticket; Palin #2 woman.

Excitement factor: Obama clearly the rock star of this bunch. (Someone said Palin looks like a cross between Laverne and Shirley; if so, she may strike a resposive chord in Milwaukee; we'll see.)

Flag-waving factor: McCain dominant, others watching from afar.

Cute kids: Haven't seen Palin's offspring yet, but they'd better be DAMN cute to offset Obama's girls. Of course, #5 is only 2, and how can you NOT have a cute 2-year-old?

All in all, looks like conventional political wisdom is batting about .500.


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