Buchanan and Palin

Unsurprisingly, Pat Buchanan gives John McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin a giant thumbs up.

“McCain’s choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his co-pilot was the biggest gamble in presidential history. As of now, it is paying off, big-time.

The sensational selection in Dayton, Ohio, stepped all over the big story from Denver – Barack Obama‘s powerful address to 85,000 cheering folks in Mile High Stadium, and 35 million nationally, a speech that vaulted him from a 2-point deficit early in the week to an 8-point margin.Barack had never before reached 49 percent against McCain.

As the Democrats were being rudely stepped on, however, Palin ignited an explosion of enthusiasm among conservatives, evangelicals, traditional Catholics, gun owners and Right to Lifers not seen in decades.

By passing over his friends Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge, and picking Palin, McCain has given himself a fighting chance of winning the White House that, before Friday morning, seemed to be slipping away. Indeed, the bristling reaction on the left testifies to Democratic fears that the choice of Palin could indeed be a game-changer in 2008.”

Buchanan’s reaction does demonstrate one thing: the social conservative wing of the Republican Party, for which Buchanan is a spokesman, is energized about her joining the ticket. For John McCain whose campaign lacked any real field organization, the active participation of evangelical Christians means two to four percentage points in key swing states.

Aside from gaining an instant get out the vote operation, it’s hard to say what Palin brings. Like Simon Rosenberg, I find it doubtful that McCain knew anything about the pregnancy of Palin’s daughter. Think of it. In the midst of the convention, the campaign is attempting to methodically roll out its news and then has to deal with two days of unexpected pregnancy stories.

I thought Barack Obama looked his best when he said yesterday, noting the pregnancy of his own mother at age 18, he didn’t want to get into it. Still there’s no way this fails to make a mockery of the campaign. Just think about the tremendous stir the Gloucester story locally caused. The Palin story fuses America’s social conflict over teenage pregnancy with national politics, never a good mix. I’m not convinced we’re done with the disclosures about Palin.

The most important thing a vice presidential nominee can be for a campaign is an attack dog — Mitt Romney would have been great in this role. But now Palin essentially can’t do any media for the campaign because her interviews will be filled up with sure to be insatiable questions about her family life.

Maybe it’s true that such questions would be off-the-table for a male candidate. But I have a hard time believing that questions about teen pregnancy, a hot button issue for the anyone whose read Commentary since the 1960s, isn’t a subject worth asking about.


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