Obama vs. Palin instead of Obama vs. McCain?

Reading a recent comment on the site lately got me thinking about the media coverage for the past few days. Discussions about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin all seem to be framed as “Palin vs. Obama,” Obama compared to Palin, or Palin’s experience contrasting with Obama’s experience.

Where is the Obama vs. McCain discussion? Clearly Obama has been trying to bring the focus of the campaign back to his differences with John McCain, however, it’s delightful to watch the media portray this campaign as if Barack Obama is running solely against Sarah Palin, forget McCain and Biden.

The question begs exploration, how did Palin instantly become the candidate to which Obama is being compared? Nobody is comparing John McCain to Joe Biden, I haven’t even heard Biden’s name in days since Palin rocked the RNC.

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that regardless of what happens in this election, Obama and Palin will be around a lot longer in the political world than either McCain or Biden.

The next question which begs exploration is whether McCain can ride into office on Palin’s coattails? Has Palin become the candidate to beat in this election, much like Obama was just a few short weeks ago?

Every discussion of Palin’s experience involves comparisons to Obama’s experience, which doesn’t bode well for Obama. Picture this, the top name on the Democratic ticket is having to defend his experience against the number 2 spot on the Republican ticket.

Surely even if McCain chose Romney or Pawlenty there would be discussion about the total amount of experience on each ticket, I’m just wondering why so much attention is being given to Palin’s experience versus Obama’s?

I think I can answer that question by pointing to the Obama campaign’s first attack on Sarah Palin minutes after she was picked as McCain’s VP on August 29th:

“Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency.” – Bill Burton, Obama Campaign Spokesman.

The Obama campaign immediately went down the road of questioning experience, a charge they have been defending against since the early primary season. Not only questioning experience, but foreign policy experience no less! Countless democrats including Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Bill Clinton all questioned Obama’s experience during the primaries, basically saying he was not qualified to be President. Sound familiar?

What’s more, the statement ignores the fact that she’s a Governor, not just a “former mayor.”

I believe the Obama campaign is responsible for bringing this campaign to where it is, a discussion of Palin’s experience versus Obama’s experience. I can think of a dozen other ways the Obama campaign could have stated their beef with McCain’s choice and let me tell you, I wouldn’t include the word “experience” in any of them.

I’m betting if they could, that statement would be reworded and would be a little more thought out than instantly bringing to light the fact that Obama himself is constantly being attacked with the exact same charge.

Here, let me reword the statement as if it came from McCain’s campaign in a similar fashion against Obama:

“Today, the Democratic Party put a former community organizer from Illinois with zero foreign policy or executive experience a heartbeat away from the presidency.”

The sword cuts both ways, my friends, so be careful how you attack an opponent lest you be caught with your pants down.

  • It does seem that it’s now Obama versus Palin, which isn’t really good for McCain. She has become the media darling McCain wasn’t and she’s better looking.

    I honestly don’t think it was the Obama camp questioning her experience first, it was McCains camp justifying her experience which then brought a few raised eyebrows after the McCain camp had been slamming Obama’s.

    I watched a Jon Stewart show today and it was hilarious and I don’t really like the guy. But it shows some of the hypocrisy over the experience issue.

  • I forgot to add the link…sorry! 🙂


  • The Obama campaign immediately went down the road of questioning experience, a charge they have been defending against since the early primary season. Not only questioning experience, but foreign policy experience no less! Countless democrats including Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Bill Clinton all questioned Obama’s experience during the primaries, basically saying he was not qualified to be President. Sound familiar?

  • Dreadsen

    The answer is in the McCain campaign and their supporters.
    They created this comparison. Each time someone tries to question anything about her their rebuttal is about Obama. Now I can slightly understand this tactic to an Obama supporter because they think this is pot calling kettle back. But if you noticed McCain did it with Gibson who is not an Obama supporter and tucker did it on CNN. Every single time. From Tucker to New Gingrich. All of them keep bringing up Obama’s name. When they should be defending her on her own merits and using Obama as platform of direct comparison.
    So now everyone is doing it. Just goes to show you if you repeat a tactic long enough in the media everyone else runs away with it.

  • Dreadsen

    oops i meant and not using Obama as a plattorm of direct comparison

  • Pats

    Please please please brethren forget about experience and focus on sound judgement. The Republicans are trying to sway people’s attention from Obama vs McCain to Obama vs Palin because the only weapon McCain has is experience, which really has very little effect on the welfare of the American people. Above all, the experience McCain has is in fighting not in governing. Can’t you see this is why he nominated a governor for his running mate?
    America needs someone with sound judgement to lead the American people and the world to a more conducive living condition.
    Sarah Palin is recruited to divert the American people’s mind from the realities that the Americans want to be address to Obama vs Palin contest. Becareful America, the world is watching you

  • CG, here’s the interesting part of your quote from the Obama camp. I was listening live that day to the announcement, where Fox got the exclusive before everyone else did. The Obama camp IMMEDIATELY released that little tidbit before Palin ever took the stage. Afterward, Obama and Biden made a statement that was different, and when asked by the media about the first statement from his campaign, he said “We stand by our statement, not the first one”. (Paraphrazed)

    The shock of the statement to the media was that they labeled Palin as a “Mayor”, totally discounting the fact that she is a Governor.

    So it was in fact the Obama camp who released this statement before Palin ever took the stage, immediately after Fox broke the news exclusively. It was thought at the time to be a hastily and not well thought out reaction, and apparently Obama and Biden agreed in their later statements and questions from the press about the first statement.

    This is what I think, CG. I think that what we’re seeing is that because of Sarah Palin, people are now listening to McCain. He’s just not as attractive to the media as the “fresh meat” of Palin, how could he be. But the injection of Palin into the scene has created an audience for McCain, and now he can win on the issues. Brilliant move.

  • Oh, btw, Obama went on to say something like the campaign had gotten excited and sometimes when that happens people tend to “jump the gun” I think was the phrase. I’ll try to find the exact quotes somewhere.

    Irregardless, it was the Obama camp who first started the Obama vs. Palin experience issue, so they’ll have to just deal with it.

  • People aren’t listening to McCain though, because he has nothing new to say, they’re more interested in Palin.

  • Apparently they pudding, look at the polls within the polls. Again, I think Palin draws the crowds, but it’s McCain who wins them on the issues.

  • Rayven

    Smoke and mirrors.If they are going for issues whats with the personal attacks and the belittle experience.


    They talked nothing of issues .All I heard were lies and distortion and look a pretty woman . She looks like you. They want to make this about image.

    “This election is not about issues,” said Davis. “This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.”

    So that explains the Smoke and mirrors and pretty woman.
    So I guess its going to be small town vs. big city. small state vs bigger state.
    Maybe if its about issues then they should talk about issues and not lies and distortion .He’s is 72 when is he going to grow up?

    We all know some people can’t resist a pretty face.
    McGimmick / Ice princess Palin of ’08 .


    God help us.

  • Really? If people can’t resist a pretty face, why didn’t Hillary get the nod instead of Obama? You think he’s “prettier” than Hillary?

  • Actually Babs I do think Obama has a “softer” look. His smile looks genuine and he obviously has worked on his laugh unlike Hillary. She never could just be herself, but then again “herself” seems to be harden. She tried the softer image thing but it wasn’t natural.

  • The only way Hillary would look better than Obama is if you’ve got glaucoma.

    Republicans (McCain + Palin) know they’ll never win on the issues, which is why they don’t talk about the issues, that’s how Bush won in 2004 and hasn’t he don’t a fantastic job ever since.

  • CG, you’re right, Hillary looks nothing like she did when she was 1st lady and the darling of the media. She looks like she’s seen too many hard times. I take it back – Obama wins on “pretty”. 😉

  • Dreadsen


    I look at both statements. And i don’t see Obama comparing himself to Palin. I see them talking about her experience on her own merits. Not in a comparison.
    I can provide a lot of videos of Republicans redirecting the argument every time to Obama’s experience.

  • well i think that mccain should be pres it doesnt what matter whats on the outside but on the inside and mccain is a grate leader on the outside and the inside

  • ???

    Hi I say that Opoopa ( a.k.a Obama ) is a dork.

  • Dreadsen

    haha today Palin accidentally said “Palin and McCain administration”

    Now she is on the top of the ticket! LOL!

    So no harm no foul!

  • SRD

    This is not about Obama v. Palin and I resent those who seek to demean Obama as suggesting he should be focused on the second on the ticket. No folks,,,,,he is on the TOP of the ticket and his opponent is McCain. Stop insinuating that the African/White man should be seated back of the bus or ticket for that matter. I personally take offense to it. And for those who tries to push McCain off the top ticket for Palin (a relative unknown…she may look like someone you know…but so does Hitler and Shirley Temple) it does not mean either “look alike” is them. Grow up. This is an election of issues and policies ..this is not the American Idol. This is one of the reason why China is far ahead of us in every category. While we are inundated with thoughts of hollywood mentality or sports are us…they are actually reading books and being innovative and using their minds….WAKE UP America before we be one big giant soap operas and those that think in this world will overshadow our stupidity with brain power….for smarts always takes center stage in life…for beauty do not last forever and wrinkles set in..but a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

  • Jazzy

    SRD, I totally agree. I guess I am the only one paying attention to what is said and the body language of the 9/26 debates. It’s obvious there’s a problem. The first problem is the fact that McCain is so closely associated with Bush…..this means Bush for president again in my book. I think the problem is America is more focused on looks rather than change. Way to look out for the best interests of your children and children’s children.

    I guess I’ll be moving to China pretty soon.

  • Bruce

    I can’t enforce this enough. This is the person who would be elected to do a multitude of tasks. Ranging from, domestic and foreign policy to directly negotiating with other world powers. If ANYONE thinks Sara Palin is the right pick for this job, I beg you look at what a VP actually does and think again. She would be a bigger embarrassment to this country than I’m afraid yes even Bush has been and still is.

  • Kasten

    I thought it was interesting to see the VP picks of each top candidate. Obama compensates for picking someone with a ton of experience with Biden, and McCain picks someone for with a fresh new set of ideas with Palin. Now, as far as Obama vs. Palin, I think there is some truth on that level as far as marketing goes. Obama is fresh, so is Palin. Both parties balanced that out with experience on both ends with McCain and Biden. So in a sense, Palin vs Obama is a very legit perception as far as marketing goes. A very brilliant idea on both sides of the campaign. However, I think it did hurt Obama to pick Biden, with them pretty much criticizing each other for the Democratic pick. Also, Obama’s brilliant marketing of “Vote for Change” was hurt by picking someone who has been around nearly as long as McCain. Personally, I’m voting for McCain-Palin regardless of these ridiculous claims that people are making. For to me, Obama’s policies remind me to much of communism. The past 8 years have been bad, yes… but that is not due to just one man. Don’t forget that America did vote for Bush twice, so if you don’t like him, to bad, that was America’s own damn fault. I don’t think McCain is that naive to follow exactly in the footsteps of Bush. To Bruce, your comment was unnecessary, you have no idea how Palin will do. Also, Bush is our President, he has a very important job, and you should treat him with respect. A president with no support will do poorly. I like Sarah Palin, and I’d like not to think of myself not an idiot. I say that because that is pretty much what you just called me.