Monday, September 08, 2008

Why Obama is Offended by Palin

It is a classic example of "bait and hook." John McCain has brilliantly chosen a Vice Presidential candidate who begs the question of experience. I know, that seems contrary to conventional wisdom, but I believe that it has huge strategic value to McCain's chances of getting elected President.

Palin's relatively thin experience for such a high office creates a huge temptation for the Democrats to go on the attack. However, it is the type of temptation that they can't afford to give in to. McCain knows it and, thus the choice.

* If Obama/Biden attacks Pailin too harshly on any grounds, it will garner the Republican a huge amount of sympathy from people who are tired of seeing female candidates getting mugged. Wounds from the Clinton race are still fresh in the minds of many.

* The media has already made people sensitive about the criticism that Sarah Palin might receive. Ridiculous questions that journalists would have asked during the time of "Leave it to Beaver" and "I Love Lucy" -- about a "woman's place is at home" has everyone on the left and right up in arms. This alone should have the Democrats proceed with extreme caution.

* The biggest reason Obama shouldn't bite into the temptation is because her experience is actually more substantive (includes executive power) than the Democrat's nominee. This is also why Obama is so offended that Sarah Palin was chosen.

Obama is, without question, the least experienced candidate to receive a major party's nomination for President. Obama likes to talk about the youthful John F. Kennedy and his staff enjoys the comparison. But Kennedy was a man who was "tempered by war" and an actual hero in his own right. Furthermore, he had six years of experience in the US House and a full term in the US Senate. Obmama does not want to beg that type of comparison. Obama's complete national legislative experience is less than Kennedy's in the Senate.
Obama's reaction and his inability to avoid the temptation to attack is rooted into the same reasons why he and his team reacted to the controversial New Yorker magazine cover. You remember it. The cartoon that characterized Obama and his wife as Muslim radicals who are trying to overthrow our freedoms and disregard our traditions. Was it inflammatory? Of course, just like the same magazine implied that George Bush and Dick Cheney had a "Brokeback Mountain" relationship. The publication assumed that no one would take it seriously. Obama did because it hits too close to home.

The appointment of Palin works in a similar fashion. "How dear the Republican's dismiss me by choosing such an inexperienced VP?" is the cry from Obama. You can almost hear it when he talks. The sad thing for Obama is that Palin's executive experience makes her better poised to take the chief executive spot than Obama. That is why the Democrats should avoid attack in this area. My instincts tell me they won't take that advice.

Kevin Price's articles are found daily in national publications such as USA Today, Chicago Sun Times, and Reuters. Subscribe to his newsletter here.

Kevin Price is Host of the Houston Business Show (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review.

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