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.