Palin/McCain Part II

>> Thursday, September 11, 2008

Who are the republicans trying to elect McCain or Palin? I wrote shortly after the pick that Palin had become the headliner of the ticket. Since then that has only solidified. Palin has been the draw to the McCain Palin events. McCain has really benefited from enhanced crowds and an enhanced energy at their joint appearances.

In a break with tradition, Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin could spend more time together on the campaign trail than apart, a senior campaign aide said Wednesday.

"It is under serious consideration that they will spend more time together than not and more time than is traditional," the aide told reporters aboard Palin's campaign plane during a refueling stop in Montana en route to Alaska. "There's just a huge amount of enthusiasm."

This is truly becoming an first in Presidential Politics. The VP far outshines the nominee. Palin has drawn crowds far surpassing those of McCain. She is the one driving the GOP side of the ticket. Consider the differences in two events, one held together and one with just McCain,

McCain aides said Wednesday's event attracted the biggest non-convention crowd of his campaign, with local officials reporting an estimated 23,000 at the event. People filled the grass and hillsides to make a sea of red, as the state GOP exhorted everyone coming to wear the hue in a sign of support for the party, and they often drowned out the candidates' words with chanting.

Judging by shouts from the crowd, the enthusiasm seemed driven primarily by the presence of Palin. She has electrified both McCain's campaign and the party since he announced her as his running mate almost two weeks ago.

The reaction was significantly different in Philadelphia. McCain made a solo trip for a roundtable discussion with half a dozen female business leaders at the Down Home Diner. The appearance, inside a bustling indoor downtown marketplace, formed a sharp contrast with the earlier joint show, as the arrival of both McCain's bus outside and him inside was greeted by loud Obama crowds.

Maybe you cannot compare the two directly but the latter McCain event was essentially a failure and waste of time.

The joint appearances also allow the McCain campaign to keep a tighter rein on Palin. They can hold her hand through the events, let her speak, bring in the crowds, then hide her away from the press. It is the ideal set up for McCain in many ways. They also count on Palin's star to draw the free media coverage. Normally the two candidates campaign separately to reach a larger audience but McCain is betting that the media audience is larger for the joint than the combined separate. What are the implications for this dynamic where people are actually voting for the VP over the nominee?

It creates a big risk for the McCain campaign in that there is a lot of potentially damaging stuff coming out about Palin. There is the risk that the big high McCain is currently riding could crash and burn if any of the different scandalous actions Palin engaged in erupt into something serious. McCain is betting his whole campaign that Palin will deliver him victory. Its not a safe bet.

Maybe this last pint wont end up mattering but doesnt McCain look a little old and out of place now? He is like the awkward guy at a high school party who graduated three years ago but still shows up. He just does not seem to belong. The GOP feels that Palin is the future and McCain is actually more of a distraction. Shutting down Palin might pay the biggest dividend. She is the defacto top of the ticket driving the enthusiasm and breaking her might break the excitement.


O-le,O-le, O-le, O-le! O-le, O-le!

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