YOU CAN’T FOOL ALL OF THE PEOPLE ALL OF THE TIME…. Conservative activists couldn’t be more pleased with the addition of Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket. The religious right is ecstatic with the announcement. But what about regular folks? Time’s Joe Klein sat in on yet another Luntz focus group, this time in Minneapolis.
Only one person said Palin made him more likely to vote for McCain; about half the 25-member group raised their hands when asked if Palin made them less likely to vote for McCain. They had a negative impression of Palin by a 2-1 margin…a fact that was reinforced when they were given hand-dials and asked to react to Palin’s speech at her first appearance with McCain on Friday — the dials remained totally neutral as Palin went through her heart-warming(?) biography, and only blipped upwards when she said she opposed the Bridge to Nowhere — which wasn’t quite the truth, as we now know.
Then there was this, from a woman named Teresa, who went to the Democratic Convention as a Hillary delegate and is leaning toward voting for McCain — obviously the target audience for the Palin pick: “His age didn’t really bother me until he picked Palin. What if he dies in office and leaves us with her as President? Also she leans toward the rigid right, and I always thought he was a moderate… You know, I change my mind almost every day, but right now I’m wondering where the John McCain I really liked in 2000 went, what happened to the moderate? This John McCain has the look of someone who is being manipulated — probably by Karl Rove.”
I have to admit, that’s fascinating. This not only reinforces McCain’s flip-flop problem, it also speaks to something former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) emphasized today: “Are we comfortable in having a VP who represents the extreme right wing, including the advocacy of creationism and a denial of any human responsibility in climate change?”
Of all of the various angles to the Palin nomination, her ideological extremism seems to have generated the least amount of attention, but may be among the most politically salient arguments. She is, for lack of a better phrase, pretty far out there, a fact that Americans in general are yet to appreciate.