Daily Archives: September 1, 2008

Bromley illustration

So John McCain is no longer a maverick. Here is one Democratic talking point that will need some work, and it is by no means the only one. In naming Sarah Palin – the young and only recently elected governor of Alaska, a small-town mayor before that – as his Republican running mate in the US presidential race, Mr McCain has taken an extraordinary risk. It was certainly the act of an unorthodox politician. Was it, though, the act of a reckless and stupid one? I think not.

The instant reaction among Democrats was astonishment. Quickly that gave way to outrage. James Carville, a former adviser to Bill Clinton, said he was “vexed, completely vexed” by the choice. Paul Begala, another friend of the Clintons, in almost his first sentence on the matter, sneeringly attributed Mrs Palin’s poise to her time as a beauty queen. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the House of Representatives’ Democratic caucus, said: “On his 72nd birthday, this is the guy’s judgment of who he wants one heartbeat from the presidency? Please.” The prevailing attitude was a hair’s breadth from laughter at the bimbo from a state that does not count.

Will these people never learn? Let me try to walk the experts, with their many years of experience, through this thing.

The remainder of this column can be read here. Please post comments below.

Clive Crook’s blog

This blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

I have been the FT's Washington columnist since April 2007. I moved from Britain to the US in 2005 to write for the Atlantic Monthly and the National Journal after 20 years working at the Economist, most recently as deputy editor. I write mainly about the intersection of politics and economics.

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