Thursday, November 6, 2008

I'm reading part 5 of Newsweek's "Secrets of the 2008 Campaign", which is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at everything that went on (an undergraduate working at the coffee shop asked me what I was reading today, and when I told him, he said, "That's really important." Not really. But it's fun to read). Right now, I'm reading about the selection of Palin, and I'm kind of surprised by how accurately Gerry assessed McCain's choice back in August. McCain is a chronic gambler. He is impulsive and addicted to risk. There's no other way to see it:
But McCain didn't want the safe choice. A top adviser would later recall that telling McCain that Pawlenty was "safe" was "like guaranteeing" that McCain would not pick him. Prodded by Schmidt and Rick Davis, McCain began asking about Palin, a first-term governor who had shaken up the Alaska political establishment by taking on her own party elders, who was fearless and defiant, who was … a little bit like McCain. He had called her that Sunday morning while she was attending the Alaska State Fair. It was a quick phone call, only about five minutes, and Palin had trouble hearing McCain over the noisy crowd. But McCain was intrigued. He told Salter and Schmidt to fly her down to Arizona and take a close look.
Needless to say, if McCain had picked Pawlenty, this would have been a closer race. Palin soured so many moderates. She is the embodiement of "The Authoritarian Personality": infantile, paranoid, defensive, aggressive, scheming, uninformed, and self-righteous (I honestly believe that with Palin as President, we would find ourselves in a police state overnight). In any case, I'm both glad and sad that John McCain the gambler ultimately picked Palin. Glad because it gave us that much more of a win. Sad because she really fueled a lot of aggression and hatred in the conservative base, and I worry where that is going to take us in the future.

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