Governor of Alaska, part 3

So I took a spain through the way-back machine to take a view on how the choices of Geraldine Ferraro and Dan Quayle reverberated through into the media, and what political calculations and pressures were believed to be at play.  I cannot say I have a huge amount of new insight, as just for the heck of it I also flushed through some pre-selection Sarah Palin items — which suggested very little to me as well.

Palin is more of a Quayle than a Ferraro.  The elder Bush’s pick of Dan Quayle was meant as a salve to the Conservative Christian base, who distrusted Bush’s basic “moderation”, better thought of as Toryism, and yes indeed, Quayle was going to solve the Gender Gap of support amongst women… because… Quayle was cute?  I don’t believe that the Conservative Christian base was quite as distrustful of Bush as they are of McCain, but then again I don’t believe they were quite as enthralled of Quayle (acceptable, in the lenses of 1988 – slashes the right ‘t’s and dots the right ‘lower case j’s) as they are of Palin, but then again Sarah Palin through sheer Identity Politics has a somewhat more understandable clutch for women votes than Quayle who was… huggable — is that it?

The only thing I can say about Geraldine Ferraro was that from the vantage point of 1984, it was probably the case that she was — from the perspective of traditional presidential political criteria — about the best pick in terms of female Democratic candidates, three terms in Congress be damned.  Such was the situation that Mondale interviewed a crew of black and female mayors, and Lloyd Bentsen, and the public largely groaned at the process.  And probably not coincidentally Dukakis selected Bentsen in 1988.

Neither pick mattered one iota.  What can be said about Betsen is that he almost assuredly would have defeated Quayle in a presidential contest, and may just have defeated Bush I.  But Dukakis dragged that ticket down moreso than Quayle dragged down the Bush ticket, and what we were left with was Bush/Quayle.

The problem of Obama is in the area of gender is a suggestion that a woman probably would not be able or allowed to “jump out the gate” as he did.  Although maybe she might be plucked out and prenaturally groomed for the Big Stage, as was the case of Bush II, and now seems to be the case with Sarah Palin.  I get the feeling that the Conservative Christian base is chopping at the bit with her, not much caring what happens to McCain but hoping to push Palin’s profile to greater and greater heights — at the end of the election, even if McCain is crushed, they can start booking Sarah Palin to any and every media event they can find or influence. 

I am a little nauseated by the slimness of the resume of George W Bush in offering himself up for the presidency in 2000, Obama in 2008, and now Sarah Palin — though, circular logic that it may seem to be, there is credence in the “running a presidential campaign” argument (a larger operation than running the state of Alaska), and there is a bit of clenched teeth I have in seeing the hackneyed double-backs taking place on the grand issue of “Experience” with, for example, Newt Gingrich.

It could be worse, and at least it is not a total after-thought.  Henry Davis was the vice presidential selection for the Democrats in 1904, for Alton Parker.  Parker was a Clevelandite who William Jennings Bryan, the candidate in 1896 (when he actively displaced Clevelandism) and 1900 and again in 1908, sat aside and didn’t bother much with, viewing the Democratic nomination as useless that year.  Parker is probably the most forgettable presidential nominee in our history — and it was noted in the 1940s that he is the only major party nominee not to have had a biography written about him.  Davis was an 80 year old rich millionaire.  He was selected because the party was broke — Bryan’s anti-business populism had slowed the flow of money into the party — and it was hoped that he would fill the party’s coffers.

Leave a Reply