August 29th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Gergen: Talk about a bold gamble!

Palin is making activists on both sides of the aisle smile.
Palin is making activists on both sides of the aisle smile.

John McCain's selection of a running mate represents the first one I can remember that has brought smiles to activists on both sides of the aisle.

Among conservatives, one hears nothing but praise for Governor Sarah Palin - she is strongly pro-life, a long-time member of the NRA, a fiscal hawk, and an interesting combination of charm and toughness. She helps to bring the party back to its conservative roots. With the commitments that McCain made at Saddleback that he would run a pro-life administration, social conservatives - especially evangelicals - can now rally to the McCain-Palin ticket with genuine enthusiasm. McCain seemingly is helping to close the enthusiasm gap on his side.

Yet among Democrats, there is lots of positive acclaim as well. From their perspective, the one argument that McCain has used so effectively against them is that we live in a highly dangerous world - he repeatedly calls terrorism "the transcendent issue of our times" - and Barack Obama has so little national security experience that he represents too much of a risk. Now, say the Dems, here we have a 72-year-old candidate - the oldest to ever seek the office for the first time - and he has asked someone to be a heartbeat away from the presidency who has no national security experience at all - none, nada. Democrats think McCain has completely undercut his strongest argument. They are also relieved that he didn't choose Mitt Romney, who brings a lot of economic understanding and would have been helpful in a big battleground state like Michigan.

So, smiles on both sides. What is uncertain is how uncommitted voters will respond - especially women who might have voted for Hillary Clinton. Clearly, the GOP is betting that Sarah Palin can bring them back. Are they right? Meanwhile, Democrats have told me that a lot of Clinton women will be shooed away by Palin's conservatism - and some will even be insulted. Are they right?

Would love your thoughts.

Read other reaction from Paul Begala and Ed Rollins


Filed under: David Gergen • Sarah Palin
soundoff (145 Responses)
  1. Boxer fool

    Keep thanking McFox as you fool yourselves into complacency. This was a brilliant choice. Of course no matter who he picked the dems would be crying, but this woman has MORE experience from the #2 slot than NObama has as the nominee. Can you say GOVERNOR? Now go and bash Alaska like it is not part of the US. That's what makes you children feel better.

    August 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  2. Terry, Dallas Texas

    There will be a few women who cross over. But a good number of them will scream that he is insulting our intelligence by thinking that by putting just any woman on the ticket. Oh but come on. He was against a bill in April that would have helped women take legal action on equal pay. Remember? Ouch!

    August 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. Ray from CA

    She makes him look older, she will not get Hillary voters. We all know Hillary will not allow this.

    August 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. ChicagoJosh

    "My family and I eat a healthy diet heavy in wild Alaskan seafood, moose, caribou and fresh fruit," she says. "I guess my biggest pitfall is breakfast. I know it's the most important meal of the day but I still haven't bought into it. I hate to admit it, but a skinny white-chocolate mocha is my staple in the morning

    Well, I guess they can no longer criticize the Latte sipping crowd.

    August 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  5. Frank, Missouri

    This is crazy world ... Palin is no Hillary Clinton. Hillary supporters did not vote for her because she was a woman but because she was (is) qualified. So Palin was a mayor of a city of 9000 inhabitants two years ago ... and now Palin could be our president if (more than likely) McCain would just check out some day ?

    August 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    I am one of those Clinton voters who is still holding out. I am a woman and find Palin very interesting. If she can hold her own against the Democratic fire, McCain-Palin will have my vote.

    August 29, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  7. ANDY DAAS

    Democrats would have been scared if the VP was Romney.

    Definitely a gift for OBAMA.

    August 29, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  8. Jason

    Palin is no less inexperienced than Obama, she is just lesser known. Being well known doesn't equal experience. She at least is an executive leader of a state and city, Barack is a career legislator and it's a short career at that. Palin was picked for her values they just are not the liberal values. At the end of the day, this is experienced McCain vs inexperienced Obama, by picking Palin McCain is no less experienced and Biden makes Obama no more qualified than before.

    August 29, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  9. Sue

    As a woman, I'm insulted. This has to be the most UNQUALIFIED pick in decades (even worse than Dan Quayle). McCain thinks just because she's female that I'll vote for her. No way, no how!

    August 29, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  10. bruja

    Stacy: That's what you are looking for, somebody in Vogue? Looks?
    What about family values, big oil etc? Good choice, stacy, gongratulations....

    August 29, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  11. Chris R

    The only thing to worry about for the pro-Obama set is that McCain's choice seems like a clear case of political suicide, and the stupidest choice he could make. Being that it seems to be worse than a worst-case scenario for Republicans, the only risk is that Dems are missing something here. Unlikely, but if so it will sneak up on them. Obama's chances of losing were just cut in half this morning, after being trimmed last night by his brilliant oratory.

    August 29, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  12. Cameron Johnson

    She's an interesting pick. Definitely "outside of the box." However, she also undercuts McCain's strongest argument, and appears to be the kind of stunt casting that McCain has relied to get coverage int his campaign.

    Whether it's his falsely congratulatory ad last evening, the Britney-Paris ads or his "JV" tour of towns with foreign sounding names, it seems like he's just throwing stuff out there and seeing what sticks.

    And just like the others, I don't think this one will.

    August 29, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. Ron

    The one thing that Gov. Palin brings to the ticket that the Dems can't with their Pres. and VP nominees is a sense of "us". Gov. Palin, her family, and her background are the epitome of the average "Joe" and "Josephine" of Middle America. That factor alone will, in my opinion, attract a lot of undecideds as well as leaners to the McCain/Palin ticket.

    August 29, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. Monica

    Wow! Republicans are really scared! So....... let me get an understanding we are to vote for his VP because she is a women and has no experience. Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  15. ck

    As a woman, I find it an insult that McCain and his advisors think they only need to put a woman on the ticket to get my vote. They obviously did not realize that Senator Clinton appealed not because of her gender but because of her commitment to solving the problems of healthcare and education; and for her commitment to improving the lifes of those left behind by jobs being outsourced and our crumbling economy.

    August 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  16. Lynn

    Women who were supportors of Hillary will not vote for McCain just because he picked a woman. It is truly insulting to our intelligence. True supportors voted for her ideas, none of which Palin embodies. Everything Palin stands for and wants to put in place is the opposite of what Hillary has worked so hard to achieve with her policies. The only way to honor Hillary is to work very hard to make sure Obama is elected!

    August 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  17. Eric

    After Obama's speech, it is pretty clear McCain begged many persons to run with him and no one accepted. Palin has nothing to lose, she is already under inquiry for a a scandal after one year. This is a complete joke.

    August 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  18. jake

    I find the few hillary supporters in these postings that say "at least McCain is reaching out to us unlike Obama" and "we like what we see in Palin, strong, a mother..." very amusing and baffling. They are proving they are the few swayed simply because Palin is female. Bottom-line, it makes no sense to vote on gender or who is or isn't a mother, policy is what matters. The Obama-Biden ticket is far more aligned with Clinton's positions than McCain-Palin (Palin is very conservative). I wish voters like that would just stay home, they dumb-down the pool...

    August 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  19. Mike former Republican

    This is not a bold statement. It is called "talking out of both sides of your mouth". Let's face it. He made this decision soley out of desparation. The houses comment eliminated mitt and no other candidate would have generated any buzz.

    August 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  20. P

    This choice is not good. He should have chosen Kay Bailey Hutchinson-irregardless of her past with NOT being anti-Roe v. Wade she is conservative and Naral hates her anyway- over Palin. Palin looks more like dan Quayle than Hillary. This will blow up in his face.

    August 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  21. Democratic Pundit

    Palin has two years as an executive..Governor. Obama has three years as a senator..two of which he's been campaigning. They both are not qualified. The difference, Obama is runing to be commander and chief. Palin Vice President. This is clearly sexist. Why should the man receive defference and the woman be ridiculed. Remember the democrats already eliminated the best woman for the job Hillary. Only to be replaced by another man..regardless of his race. The two most qualified people in this race are McCain and Biden.

    August 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  22. ObamasTheOnlyChoice

    She worked for Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation commision....their mission statement ......."The Commission oversees oil and gas drilling, development and production, reservoir depletion and metering operations on all lands subject to the state's police powers."

    Her husband works for an Oil company as a production operator on the North Slope.......

    At least the repubs aren't trying to hide their tie to big oil anymore......

    August 29, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  23. Jasonburnz

    I couldn't agree more, David. I've been smiling all day long, and I'm an ardent Obama supporter. Whether it is or not, this move looks like it's pandering to women; a move which I believe they will be insulted by. Also, it looks desperate and BECAUSE it undermines his argument about experience, John McCain doesn't appear to be putting his country first. Honestly, she is a heartbeat away from the presidency and is grossly underqualified.

    August 29, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. Ann

    McBush does not get it does he? Palin could be the best thing for the Dem ticket: McBush has slain himself. As he should,

    How could any intelligent Hillary supporter go for the McBush – Palin ticket? Any Hillary supporter worth their weight in grey matter will run back to Obama with open arms.

    Palin is a bad, cheap, cheerleading, political gimmick who should go back to – well, whatever it was she was doing before – VP of the most powerful country in the world?? He has GOT to be kidding...

    August 29, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  25. Bridget

    Clinton Dynasty will ALWAYS bring ME ME ME instead of UNITY!!!!

    August 29, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
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