Friday, September 12, 2008

Palin > Biden

It can't be denied that the better VP pick was made by McCain. I say this not because I think Palin is a better person or a better candidate than Biden, nor do I think she'll necessarily make a better president. Those aren't the ways a VP pick is evaluated.

Palin was the better pick, because her presence on the ticket help McCain more than Biden helps Obama. The reasons why this is true speak to the stupidity and simplicity of the American voter, but the reasons are true, all the same: Because Palin is a newcomer on the national scene there's no record or pre-existing public image that need to be qualified or re-explained.

What we were told first about Palin became the Truth About Palin, and every subsequent discovery is viewed as nitpicking, half-truths. Our first impression of the woman is that she was a typical suburban mom, with executive experience who made her name as a reformer. None of that is true - she is, in fact, a lunatic Christian, with no experience, who was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it - but people are lazy and re-evaluating first impressions is difficult. Its so much easier to cling to the original, mistaken idea. Changing the public's mind is work, and in a soundbite era, dominated by lowbrow idiots like Hannity, YeshivaWorld, and Coulter, this is nearly impossible to achieve. McCain had to have understood this when he anointed the unknown Palin, had to have known he'd have the opportunity to define her, and that the Democrats would find it nearly impossible to undermine that initial definition.

This, ironically, is precisely why Biden was such an appallingly bad pick. He's no blank slate. Biden has been in the Sentate for 30 years, and owns an entirely undeserved reputation for uber liberalism. He represents the very definition of politics as usual, and he's easy to tar as an insider, or Washington elite. Most people know just two other things about him: a long time ago he stole some lines from a British politician, and a few months ago he said, on camera, the Obama was unfit to lead.

Before Biden can be seriously considered as a VP candidate all of that baggage has to be addressed, and because most people are too lazy to go to the trouble, the baggage is never addressed. In the public mind the false images of Biden remain, side-by-side with the false images of Palin. Unfortunately for the Democrats, the Palin lies are far more appealing than the lies about Biden.

No comments: