Frum and Gergen Question the Palin Choice
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
When I first heard that McCain had chosen Sarah Palin to be his running partner, I expected there to be a revolt from the intellectual wing of the GOP party, the same thinkers who rebelled against Bush's choice of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. Yet as it turns out people like David Brooks and George Will have both lined up behind the Palin pick.
The only voices of dissent from Republican commentators I have been able to turn up are from David Frum and David Gergen. In a column at Canada's The National Post, Frum calls the choice "irresponsible" and concludes: "If anything were to happen to a President McCain, the destiny of the free world would be placed in the hands of a woman who until the day before Friday was a small-town mayor."
Gergen on the other hand has his eye on how the Palin choice changes the dynamics of the campaign and the focus of media attention. Here's how Gergen described it over the weekend on CNN's Anderson Cooper:
Well, you know, I think we're learning more and more that John McCain's years as a pilot when he sort of flew solo and made his own decision are very much the way he operates in politics. His decision making process is one in which he relies heavily on his own instincts.
So here he is he's met this woman once, he called her down in the Sedona for that second conversation, but it was really to offer her the vice presidency.
And I think Democrats are going to say, well, look at the decision making process on the Obama side, you know, the vetting of Caroline Kennedy and Eric Holder and all the rest and the long, long conversations. And which one do you want making decisions in the Oval Office?
So that, I think that's going to open up questions now.
I have to tell you, Anderson. This woman may be all surprises on the upside. She may play very well in blue collar America. She clearly is exciting the Conservatives. They're going to come in charged up.
But I do think that whether you like her or don't like her, one thing has now apparent about the politics of this and that is a week ago, this was an election about Barack Obama. And Republicans thought they could win that election. And indeed that John McCain was making rapid gains against Barack Obama.
A week later, this is no longer just about Barack Obama.
Suddenly now we have the question of a McCain/Palin ticket. And I think that question is going to overhang the Republican convention in the first few days and it may make it more difficult to get their message out because there are going to be these questions about is she up to this or not?
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