The selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate has apparently deranged the mainstream media. They’ve reported that she belonged to a secessionist party for a while, but she’s been a lifelong Republican. They’ve reported that GOP convention attendees have started talking about an “Eagleton option” for her withdrawal, when the only people I’ve heard discuss it at the Xcel are the media themselves, and Palin remains wildly popular with the Republicans. What in the world has pushed the mainstream media into this kind of insanity?
The Wall Street Journal has a good analysis — fear:
Even as the Obama camp ponders how best to handle John McCain’s veep pick of Sarah Palin, the high priests and priestesses of the media have marked her as an apostate. The Beltway class is in full-throated rebellion against a nondomesticated conservative who might pose a threat to their coronation of Barack Obama and the return of Camelot-on-the-Potomac. …
They want a VP to be a kind of parliamentary choice, someone they have already vetted, someone who’s made them laugh with insider jokes at the Gridiron dinner. The Beltway class whines constantly about how it wants fresh voices in politics, but we guess this means a first-term Democratic Senator rather than a first-term Republican Governor from some godforsaken U.S. state few of them have ever been to.
We are instructed that Mrs. Palin isn’t qualified, because she lacks Washington experience. But until recently that was said to be a virtue in Mr. Obama, who is at the top of his ticket. Meanwhile, there’s hardly a peep of media notice that the Obama campaign is preposterously trying to remake Joe Biden into a poor scrapper from Scranton when he’s been in the Senate for 36 years. They all know Joe. But when Mr. McCain picks an authentic middle-class mother who is also a Governor, we are told she’s not up to the job.
The WSJ editorial hits close to home here. The outrage from the media over choosing a first-term governor seems oddly out of place for a media that has spent the last 20 months fawning over not one but two first-term Senators running for the Democratic nomination, or at least fawning over the second until his extramarital affair finally broke into the open. The third had just been elected to her second term in the Senate. Yet none of the media seemed all that exercised about a lack of experience during 2007 and 2008.
In fact, the Democratic frontrunners all had less time in elective office than Sarah Palin. Democrats seem to forget that they nominated John Edwards as VP in 2004 after only three years in public office at all, most of it spent — like Barack Obama — running for President. Where were E.J. Dionne, Sally Quinn, Eleanor Clift, and the rest of the commentariat when John Kerry made that pick? They were too busy singing hosannas to the Democratic ticket to worry about experience then, it seems.
What had Edwards ever done that indicated he should be a heartbeat away from the Presidency? At least Sarah Palin has executive experience, which most people will understand as more applicable to the Presidency than a year of legislative experience. She has worked with a legislature, run an executive branch of government, and managed to do it successfully enough to have approval ratings in the 80s.
The outrage has little to do with experience, and almost everything to do with being outfoxed by McCain. The media expected a staid, boring, safe white man that they could pigeonhole. Instead, they got a dynamic, successful, smart conservative “hockey mom” with a record of reform that Barack Obama cannot match and that is the antithesis of Joe Biden. They got knocked out of their lane, and now they have to figure out how to explain how they could possibly have overlooked Palin in their calculations. Presto! They overlooked her because she’s so inexperienced!
Forget the Eagleton option, people. That’s an option to salvage credibility for pundits who failed at political analysis. Palin’s not going anywhere, and her presence will continue to reveal the hypocrisy of these commentators.