Democratic Convention 2008

I Dreamed I Saw Todd Palin Last Night, Alive as You and Me….

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I've been wondering what people are making of the remarkable detail that Sarah Palin and her husband are respectively former and current union members, and that John McCain saw fit to make this a bragging point in his introduction. From McCain's introduction of Palin:

The person I'm about to introduce to you was a union member and is married to a union member and understands the problems, the hopes and the values of working people…

And from Palin's introduction of her husband (which in the delivery really sounded like the part where Pat Sajak reels off a few biographical details about a new Wheel contestant):

Todd is a production operator in the oil fields up on Alaska's North Slope. And he's a proud member of the United Steelworkers union. And he's a world-champion snow machine racer.

Because somebody's always thought of something before you have, Matt Bodie at PrafsBlawg gives it an excogitational rumination:

The real question, in my view, is whether policy will follow rhetoric.  Will McCain-Palin advocate for greater restrictions on trade?  Will they adopt a more restrictive position on immigration policy, or will they drift back towards McCain's more pro-immigration views?  And given that Palin is a former union member, and her husband is a Steelworker, will they support the Employee Free Choice Act?

I'm not sure Palin's own views on any of these matters are that important, given how little Vice Presidents matter in the first place. Nor is this move likely to cause any friction in the storybook marriage of labor leaders and the Democrats (though rank and file union members tend to be less faithful to the party). But it's certainly notable that McCain seems to think of union membership as an advantage here. What are the angles?

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  1. But it’s certainly notable that McCain seems to think of union membership as an advantage here. What are the angles?

    McCain is pandering to a strongly Democratic section of the population, hoping to pick off a few tenths of a percent of the population who are on the fence about who to vote for.

  2. It’s worth noting that Ronald Reagan made quite a deal about the fact that he was the first union member to be president. That was a pander that paid off mostly because the economy was seen to be in the shitter and people were blaming the democrats.

    This pander won’t paid off, because the economy is seen to be in the shitter and this time people are blaming the republicans.

    Just as the pander of picking a woman won’t pay off. To democrats Sarah Palin isn’t really a woman, in the same sense as Clarence Thomas isn’t really black.

  3. It’s pandering, plain and simple. Union membership will continue to diminish and life will go on. Palin and her husband’s (proud) membership is another unfortunate mark against her, but it’s not like she’s a libertarian.

  4. OK, for those who like obscure things to figure out, here is my attempt. I see the Father of African and European Civilization, as LaRouche identified him, playing a larger role in this campaign, first with Pelosi, now with the Dylan reference (in my mind)

  5. I wouldn’t call it a pander as much as emphasizing that Sarah Palin’s family is solidly “middle class”.McCain was attacked for being “out of touch” with this group, while Palin is being attacked for being in that group.

  6. McCain is probably the American politician with the most solid pro free-trade record.

    Palin was always adamant about the proper role of government in a free country. And her decision on the pipeline proves she doesn’t buy the protectionist crap at all.

    Reagan was also pride of being unionized and used it a lot in political campaigns.

  7. The United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (United Steelworkers or USW) is the largest industrial labor union in North America, and claims over 1.2 million active and retired workers amongst its ranks.

    Wikipedia on 2006 mid-term election:

    Exit polls suggested union families made up 23 percent of the total vote and supported Democratic candidates by a substantial 32 percent margin, 65 percent to 33 percent. Based on these numbers, the United Steelworkers, in conjunction with the rest of the labor movement, took substantial credit for the eventual Democratic victory.

    One-third of Union members voted Republican in 2006.I would think that of the remaining 2/3 voting Democrat many are more ideologically aligned with the GOP on everything but their union affiliation. Obviously there are a lot of union votes up for grabs in the swing States.

  8. Remember this fun exchange from Friday?

    joe | August 29, 2008, 1:02pm | #
    What do want to bet the handicapped kid jokes are flying on Kos right now.

    Commenting rights, John.

    If there is a joke about Down Syndrome kids on Daily Kos right now, I won’t post for a month. If there is not, you don’t post for a month. I haven’t looked. This offer is good until 1:03 Eastern Standard Time.

    And I had already found this charming comment on Kos?

    Every male moron in the country is thinkin’ “i bet she’d bear my retahd for me.”

    by Stuarte on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 08:43:03 AM PDT

    Well, this smidgen of enlightened discourse has made the rounds on a number of left-of-center sites. Posted 11:20am August 30.

    (In case it gets pulled, it’s a picture of McCain and his family and the Plain family posed together. It’s captioned with “Remind me, which one is the retard?”)

  9. It’s a play for the demo that didn’t go for Obama in the democratic primary: Blue Collar whites and women.

  10. SugarFree: I’d say the “retard” in your link about “this smidgen of enlightened discourse” was the leftish asshole who felt attacking a woman for loving her Down’s Syndrome child was a good way to advance their pro-choice views.

    Intelligent, thoughtful people can have a difference of opinion about when human life starts and when our natural rights as human beings kick in. Any ‘tard who attacks Palin for choosing to have a child with Down’s and then loving that child deserves all the castigation they get.

    And, I think McCain is cynically pandering about the union thing. And about choosing a female veep — if it had been Joe Palin, male, who was governor of Alaska, that person would not have been chosen.

    But, these are going to be EFFECTIVE panders. These are going to get McCain votes he would otherwise not have gotten, and I suspect will get considerably more votes than he will lose, and get them in states that matter.

    Both major party candidates are pandering and lying like sons-of-bitches. That is the political process. That is what winning politicians fucking DO. That is why politicians can’t be trusted with more power than is allowed under minarchy, or, arguably, anarcho-capitalism.

  11. Palin’s main value is her core conservative values. The rest of it is pretty much meaningless.

    The exceptional energy created on the Right by the pick stems from McCain’s base starving for something they could relate to, and John just gave them a big helping of values.

    Right or wrong, Rush Limbaugh stated it best, “babies, guns and Jesus.”

  12. I might add that her gender will help bring in the apolitical mom bloc that is always so vulnerable to populist appeals at saving them or their children.

    But your average feminist minded woman will be too offended by her values to vote for her.

  13. But it’s certainly notable that McCain seems to think of union membership as an advantage here. What are the angles?

    “Wrong, Leo. You do things for a reason.”

    “Okay, Tom. You know all the angles, Christ, better than anybody. But maybe you’re wrong
    about this. You don’t know what’s in McCain’s heart.”

  14. It is no sin to be a union member. It is no sin to vote (using a secret ballot in an election monitored by the NLRB) for certification of a union. Union members turned out in droves to support Reagan’s re-election after his firing of illegally striking air traffic controllers.

    I think Governor Palin’s union connections are pretty much a wash electorally.

  15. She’s the antidote to McCain’s wife’s wealth. And a smack to Obama’s elitism.

    It’s awesome watching the left tie itself up in knots about her. I’m not sure she’s really right for the job, but I know Obama’s not.

  16. JsubD got it. After all, what’s a chamber of commerce but a union for owners?

  17. Just as the pander of picking a woman won’t pay off. To democrats Sarah Palin isn’t really a woman, in the same sense as Clarence Thomas isn’t really black.

    Feminists switching for Palin, probably not. But women? I heard a lot of them saying, “We need to elect a woman, but why did it have to be Hillary.”

    Obviously there are a lot of union votes up for grabs in the swing States.

    And a heck of a lot of those union members are gun-owners and NRA members.

  18. And a heck of a lot of those union members are gun-owners and NRA members.

    She’s a big game hunter. That will sell. It’s worth more votes than being a former union member. It writes off the Earth First! crowd that otherwise would have voted for McCain. Both of them.

  19. J Sub can she play in Michigan, turn it for McCain.

  20. It’s a decent choice, politically. The union card/ gun owner/ social con aspect will play well in a lot of Rust Belt states. Be interesting to see polls in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, etc. before and after he picked Palin.

  21. BDB,
    Opening day of the deer firearms season is a de facto holiday here. It probably won’t change the outcome, but she’ll garner votes, make the race a bit more competitive.

  22. I ruled out voting for McCain months ago. From a disinterested observer, votewise he made an excellent pick. The loud wing of the Democratic party (far left) has reacted badly so far. If they had been paying attention to Hit & Run they would have been better prerpared for her selection. I know I’ve read speculation on why she would be a good choice for McCain here.

  23. I ruled out voting for McCain years ago. With Palin on the ticket I’d strongly reconsider that if I lived in a swing State.I wonder how many tentative Barr voters she is going to bring back/to the GOP. A quick tour around the political boards of the gun forums suggests she hurts Barr a bit. She seems to have fired up the small government conservatives as much as the social cons (there is quite a lot of overlap there).I don’t know if she will have much influence on the bottom of the ticket though.

  24. It’s a decent choice, politically.

    It is a good choice on paper. McCain had to catch up, and take a risk here. But Palin’s going to be under fire soon, and then we’ll find out whether she has the mettle to be VP. If she caves or blunders or comes off as unready, McCain takes a beating and probably goes down. If she shows some spunk and ability, then McCain picks up enough votes with her to probably make the race dead even going into the stretch.

  25. I’m predicting Palin is off the ticket by mid October. There are a lot of skeletons in her closet from what I’m hearing that weren’t checked very well. We’ll see them in the coming weeks.

  26. BDB,

    Trying to fire the cop who threatened to shoot her father?

    The “it’s the daughters baby not hers” ?

    Or my favorite, she was in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and they are going to lead a fundy guerilla army bent on World Conquest?

  27. BDB,

    I assume you are hearing these from lefty blogs. Those people are scared shitless of Sarah “Barracuda”, and with good reason. The GOP establishment might be a little insecure given her track record in the 49th State.

  28. given how little Vice Presidents matter in the first place

    What am I–chopped liver?

  29. SIV, I wouldn’t pick a VP who has an ongoing investigation whose final report is due a few days before the election. Just sayin’.

  30. And no, i wasn’t referring to any of that other stuff. Just the ongoing ethics investigation.

    It’s probably nothing but it’s pretty risky to pick a running mate who comes with their own built in (potential) October Surprise. McCain’s internals must have sucked wind.

  31. She does think the Founders wrote the Pledge I see, though.

  32. Those people are scared shitless of Sarah “Barracuda”, and with good reason

    I’d be scared of having a local sports reporter who’s been out of the country exactly one time a heartbeat away from the oval office too…

  33. Union members are not going to be impressed with her because she is partnering with a guy who never saw a trade deal he didn’t like.

    To the republicans, union is a dirty word, so it’s a little late to pander now. The union members that will vote for McCain after the vp choice are the same ones that would have voted for him before.

    They are the voters whose focus is the three g’s (God, guns, gays).
    I call them wedge voters, because they allow pious, phony politicians to drive a wedge between themselves and a fair share of the American Pie.

    This is a terrible vp choice for McCain, he blew his best argument: experience, considering his age and who he picked. You can say Obama did the same with “Change” by picking Biden, but its an easier sell.

    McCain, in an obvious act of desperation, just pissed away his chances.

  34. John Lennon musta been talking politics when he said “Everything is the opposite.”

  35. How old does the presidential candidate have to get before the vice presidential candidate matters?

  36. My thoughts on Sarah Palin.

  37. Anybody that’s not living under a rock knows that the word Republican means union buster -lover of cheap labor.

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