The Republican candidate created a surprise Friday in nominating the Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, as his running mate.
A young woman, just that. Taken by surprise on Friday, American journalists and commentators competed in ingenuity to explain John McCain’s choice. But among all the arguments, either in favor or against the Governor of Alaska, one single one appeared immediately: he who would, if elected, become the oldest president of the United States, had chosen, to accompany him as vice-president, a young woman.
In the world of political communication, one must not be afraid of truisms. Simple images and ideas, even simplistic ones, are often the best. Barack Obama chose in the person of Joe Biden (65 years old) an experienced and older man as his running mate. McCain (72 years old), whose age is the worst of his handicaps in this campaign, replied by choosing a woman (44 years old) who is younger than Obama (47 years old) to be by his side.
With an art approaching that of war, the McCain team very effectively launched its counteroffensive. The Democratic Convention having just finished, the Republican candidate did not leave the commentaries to dwell on (often in elegiac terms) Barack Obama’s performance. He took the upper hand by announcing his running mate. The media impact was as strong as the surprise was large.
The secret was well-kept. And Sarah Palin, as a semi-unknown outside of Alaska, took journalists and public opinion aback. As in a theatrical surprise ending, an unexpected event suddenly changed the situation completely.
An Effort To Capture Hillary Clinton’s Disappointed Supporters
For many days, even just up until the Republican convention, the McCain team is hoping that the choice of Sarah Palin will be dissected. Evoking what was only a hypothesis, Karl Rove, the electoral guru of George Bush, said on Fox News Friday morning: “This is a strong signal from the McCain campaign to women, which could convince, as in every election, the urban, largely independent feminine electorate as well as those who were disappointed by the loss of Hillary Clinton.”
Many other sociological analysis have been added to this one since Friday, any of which could prove to be true. John McCain has attacked Barack Obama’s lack of experience and then he chose as his running mate someone without experience. Yes, but then again, a vice-president is not a president. Sarah Palin, known for her conservative ideas, will help McCain with traditionalist voters. The choice of this unknown woman from Alaska shows that McCain has maintained the independent spirit that has always characterized him.