Sunday, September 7, 2008

What Sarah Palin and Joe Biden bring to their Presidential tickets

sarah palin, wallpaper, change, obama, believe
Due to popular demand, I present the APF's newest Sarah Palin Wallpaper - 'Change we can believe in'.

What a week makes! The conventions are over, the Party tickets have been announced and the whole election dynamic has been turned on its head. For much of the year, the prevailing criticism of a Barack Obama presidency has been his lack of experience. By tapping senior Senator Joe Biden, Barack aims to pacify such doubts. Joe Biden duplicates many of John McCain's traits. Biden and McCain are good personal friends, both silver-haired wise elders in the Senate, Biden serving 35 years to McCain's 26. Both have men have sons serving in Iraq.

Whilst many observers considered it a rational choice, selecting an entrenched politician undercut Barack's successful messaging of 'Change'. To Obama's benefit, Biden is largely unknown to the wider public and isn't synonymous with the 'Politics of old' the same way someone like Hillary Clinton is. Obama detractors were also gleefully salivating as Biden has a reputation for being a 'gaffe-machine'.

Whilst Obama seems to have made a cautious choice, John McCain has made a riskier calculation in selecting Sarah Palin. A gamble which if it pays off could earn him the Presidency. A relative unknown until she was nationally introduced as John McCain's VP choice, interestingly the choice of Palin also duplicates the opposition's #1. Whilst Joe Biden duplicate's McCain greatest asset - experience. Sarah Palin matches Obama's greatest assets - Charisma/Mass appeal/Historic candidacies/Identity appeal. A set of assets few politician's possess and one that cannot be manufactured.

Until recently many of Obama's characteristics were turned into negatives by his detractors. The contagious buzz, the movement mobilised rather than being envied was mocked. As evidenced by the attention in talk Radio and the blogosphere Sarah Palin has a broad appeal that rivals Obama's, which until recently was inconceivable. Part of this can be credited to heightened emotions because she is fresh' and the compressed timeline people have had to learn everything about her but there is no denying her popularity and ability to connect. Palin had an 80% approval rating as Governor of Alaska, a score that the McCain camp hopes to translate nationally.

McCain's choice of the younger and less experienced Palin also undercuts his message, contradicting his criticism of Obama. Whilst supporters insist that even by that measure Palin is more qualified, the notion of inexperience was always nebulous and subjective. If the President was chosen based on experience alone, it would go to Biden. If anything it has made experience a moot point. In this regard whilst both tickets literally mirror each other, McCain has conceded slightly to Obama by adopting the 'Change' frame.

Politics more than anything is about 'framing' - whilst evidence is important, what's more powerful is shaping how we perceive that evidence. Rudy Giuliani summed up McCain's pivot in his convention speech:
First by qualifying the idea of 'Change'
I learned as a trial lawyer a long time ago, if you don't have the facts, you've got to change them. So our opponents want to re- frame the debate.

They would have you believe that this election is about change versus more of the same, but that's really a false choice, because there's good change and bad change.

Because change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.
Then offering the McCain/Palin camp as the best agents of change
Senator McCain -- Senator -- Senator McCain was the candidate most associated with the surge, and it was unpopular. What do you think most other politicians would have done in a situation like this?
They would have acted in their self-interest, and they would have changed their position in order to win an election...

In choosing Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain has chosen for the future.
The other guy looked back. John looked forward...

...She is shaking up Alaska in a way that hasn't happened in maybe ever. And with John McCain, with his independent spirit, with his being a maverick, with him and Sarah Palin, can you imagine how they're going to shake up Washington?...
Which brings us to these two new Wallpapers. Enjoy!
Download the Sarah Palin 'Change' wallpaper (1024 x 768)
Download the Sarah Palin 'Change' wallpaper (800 x 600)
The Second Palin 'Change' wallpaper coming shortly

A microcosm of how the Sarah Palin pick has changed the election dynamic can be heard in this audio from Hugh Hewitt's show -
Listen here 2008 Republican National Convention Pt1 - Sept 4, 2008

1) Governor Mitt Romney reiterates the new co-opted frame -
"The democrats are correct to surmise that people want change... but the real answers are with John McCain and Sarah Palin"
2) The renewed enthusiasm amongst conservatives -
The appealing addition of Palin has allowed conservatives a reason to vote FOR McCain and not simply AGAINST Obama
3) The media 'sandbagging' of Sarah Palin and the gathering backlash -
A larger discussion of the conservative resentment of big media. Interestingly Romney has a 'Cest La Vie approach to the media in this audio.
4) Female supporters softly succumbing to identity politics -
"I was never one to participate in the women's lib movement...but there's something so exciting about Sarah Palin"
5) Supporters embracing the cult of personality -
Caller to Hugh "Sarah has Out-RockStarred the Rock Star (Obama)". Not found in this audio segment.
Find the original Sarah Palin wallpaper here

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