Does Palin help or hurt McCain?

Public Affairs Consultant specializing in Issue Advocacy and Strategic Communications

There are so many qualified and experienced Republicans out there, many of whom would have complimented Sen. John McCain’s perceived lack of domestic policy expertise such as Charlie Crist, Linda Lingle and Tim Pawlenty. Each of these governors is politically battle tested in states that are not all that red, and each of them has shown tendencies to be consensus builders. Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson would have been solid picks to be McCain’s running mate, too, and don’t forget Meg Whitman.

I am sure that Sen. McCain thought he was making a wise move by selecting Gov. Sarah Palin to shore up his conservative base and to show undecided women voters that they could count on him to further “crack the glass ceiling” in a direct appeal to Sen. Clinton’s supporters.

Yet, for probably every dissatisfied Hillary Clinton supporter, I suspect that their decisions on Election Day will come down to one issue—the Supreme Court. I don’t believe for a minute that any of Sen. Clinton’s supporters are willing to support McCain knowing that the next president will most likely determine whether Roe v. Wade is overturned or not.

Sen. McCain has a solid anti-abortion voting record, but he never has seemed to me comfortable with the single issue voters in the GOP who place that issue at the top of their agendas as demonstrated by his opposition to his party’s platform that opposes legal abortions even in cases of rape and incest. By downplaying the abortion issue, Sen. McCain probably was going to attract some of Sen. Clinton’s supporters on Election Day.

However, Gov. Palin has voters and the media talking about abortion again as well as whether abstinence-only classes are effective in reducing teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. (Gov. Palin supports abstinence-only instruction).

Instead of picking up some of the Clinton supporters, McCain’s selection may have pushed them in another direction and reminded Republican voters who favor abortion rights that the next president will likely pick the next Supreme Court justice.

Can’t wait for the first Biden/Palin debate!

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