As "less contentious" than BU STH stuff, Sean brought up the veep pick, and Carolyn and Cheryl slammed the pick and I said I thought she was a surprisingly strong choice actually and then stopped myself, saying, "How much can I devil's advocate before I get thrown out?" Someone said two minutes, and then Sean left and Michele promptly moved the conversation to football. I wasn't gonna force the issue.
Later, Marla was sitting with us, and I think we were soliciting new topics of conversation and Marla suggested politics and I told the story of how we'd already tried that, and Marla was like, "Yeah, she was a really strong choice" -- in a totally serious tone. That was the first time that I ever felt, "Hey, Marla and I could talk politics!" (She cares deeply about a lot of things and gets really intense, and so I always felt cowed at the prospect of actually engaging in debate with her.)
We didn't actually get into the topic, but since I've been discussing the Palin pick ever since the news broke on Friday, I figured I'd email my bullet point list anyway (I'm never any good at letting stuff go).
Marla emailed me back:
Elizabeth,I'm not entirely sold on the idea that the Obama camp will be able to come out ahead on the experience issue, but I was so heartened by the thoughtful response. And YES! to the idea that people can have beliefs we don't share and can hold them sincerely.
Sorry I wasn't there for this conversation... I would have jumped right in. I love talking politics. You're right that Palin is a great choice... given my own political commitments (not "to" anybody or any party, but solidly AGAINST McCain), when rumors about his veep pick were first circulating (followed a few hours later with confirmation of the rumors), my response was something like "f**king evil genius"! This reaction was about my serious desire to keep McCain out of the White House. Democrats are self-defeating idiots far too often.
I already knew who Sarah Palin was and had a lot of respect for her (thus my "evil genius" reaction). Her courage in standing up to corruption by oil industry lobbyists is really monumental, especially in Alaska, where oil funds EVERYTHING. And she has demonstrated more than courage; she's gotten some serious reform done. Palin is clearly well-suited to many of the demands of political leadership, and she is a natural on the stump (or has worked hard enough so that she seems like a natural).
It was only after McCain announced her as his pick that I learned about some of her positions on social issues. As you may have guessed, I'm not as impressed with this part of her identity as a candidate, but these are positions she clearly comes to authentically, and there doesn't seem to be even a hint of hypocrisy in her stance on any social issue. I just don't agree with her (and I happen to think that my positions are just as authentically held).
While I do agree that Obama can't slam her for lack of experience in general, he's not the one that's going to do the slamming. For a variety of reasons, that's Joe Biden's job, and I don't seen anything standing in the way of him questioning her readiness to assume the presidency based on her complete lack of foreign policy experience.
Also, the choice of Palin works against McCain's ability to attack Obama credibly on Obama's lack of experience.
Overall, I think it's a cunning political move. I would have been happy to have a conversation about it. Maybe next time.