A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The ex-mayor of Wasilla

There are lots and lots of good attack lines on GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin - not least that she is an off-the-scale conservative - but I'm not sure it is wise to focus on mocking her for having been "mayor of a town of 9,000 " as Democrat spinners have.

Surely rather a lot of American voters, particularly in rural bits of swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, and in the western states that Obama thinks he can make a breakthrough in, live in towns this size or smaller? Won't attacking the size of the place she is from reinforce a perception that the Democrats, with a ticket headed by a man from Chicago, are the party of the liberal big cities and "don't get" the values of smalltown America?

I've checked out the facts from the last US census and the numbers are as follows:

21% of the US population live in rural areas i.e. settlements of fewer than 2,499 people
a further 1.5% live in villages of 2,500-4,999 population
9% live in Wasilla size small towns of 5,000-49,999
10% live in middle-sized towns of 50,000-199,999
58% live in large towns and cities of over 200,000


Blogger Bob Piper said...

I don't think people are mocking the Town. Most UK councillors constituencies have a population larger than 9,000 but I suspect if one of them was in a position where they may have their finger on the nuclear button - McCain isn't in the first flush of youth - a lot of people would question whether they had the appropriate experience.

It isn't a slight on the Town at all.

12:43 pm, August 31, 2008

Anonymous Morus said...


The McCain campaign has already started to use this argument. I was sat in Denver airport, and CNN used the 'she was mayor of a town of only 9,000 people' and McCain's cmpaign director said

"That's the problem with all you liberals and media types - you think someone can only be in power if they are from a metropolis or from the coasts."

The newscaster, Cameron ...., was flustered and denied that's what she meant, but it doesn't matter what is meant. It matters what people hear, and when they hear that line of attack in small towns, they might not hear it the Democratic PArty's way.

Good piece.

1:31 pm, August 31, 2008

Blogger Ewan Watt said...

You're absolutely spot on Luke, it's such like Howard Dean mocking people who watch Nascar.

Obama and Biden have already claimed that "I think that, uh, you know campaigns start getting these uh, hair triggers and, uh, the statement that Joe and I put out reflects our sentiments."

The Republican response? "And if Senator Obama can't control his own staff during a campaign, perhaps he shouldn't be so quick to belittle Governor Palin's executive experience."

1:37 pm, August 31, 2008

Blogger Dave Brinson said...

They've got to be careful about how they play it, but, given John McCain's advanced age, the "heartbeat away" argument is indeed valid. The Democrats knocked Agnew (correctly !) and Dan "Potatoe" Quayle without success, but the arguments are even clearer here. I hope that the fact that John "moderate" Mccain has picked such a frothing-at-the-mouth conservative is also mentioned...

4:24 pm, August 31, 2008

Anonymous hughes views said...

She looks to be a brilliant political choice by McCain. She'll reassure the core Republican vote whilst he courts the floating voters.

We may well see a female US president (Ms Palin or Ms Clinton) before we see a black one...

5:21 pm, August 31, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

I think Obama now has his work cut out. Many female swing voters who were disgusted the way in which Hilary was treated will certainly be voting for McCain now.

6:08 pm, August 31, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do people always assume that the President makes and takes mighty decisions in a lonely little room in the back of the White House. What about the the National Security advisers, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defence etc. ?

7:05 pm, August 31, 2008

Blogger scott redding said...

> She'll reassure the core Republican vote whilst he courts the floating voters.


You might want to read this before believing in that too strongly.

The first Rasmussen poll found that, among undecided voters, Palin made only 6% more likely to vote for McCain; and it made 31 percent less likely to vote for him. Among undecideds, 59 percent said Palin was unready to be president. Only 6 percent said she was.

11:31 pm, August 31, 2008

Anonymous Woman on the Clapham Omnibus said...

It is rare to see such unwholesome patronising of
1 A woman
2. A mother
3. A leader of a community where she was elected against an incumbent male (white)
4. A leadre of a State where she was elected against an incumbent male (white)

The Education system in America sells the story - exemplified by Clinton no less - ANYONE born in the USA can become President.

The naysayers will be proved wrong come November. I don't support the repugs nor do I support Obama but picking her is a briliant move.

Slam dunk for 4 more years of Bushism.

12:24 am, September 02, 2008

Anonymous Chris Bates said...

Regarding fingers on nuclear buttons - Harry Truman started off life selling second hand motors in Missouri! Is Bob Piper saying he wasn't qualified?

12:58 am, September 02, 2008

Blogger Antoine Clarke said...

We're now on the THIRD woman being trashed by the Obama camp. How many more before we can call his side misogynists without being accused of kneejerk racism?

Didn't Obama make some silly speech about people in small towns clinging to God and guns (when he thought no one was taping [twit!])? And didn't Hillary Clinton actually win more votes than Obama, including Ohio and Pennsylvania? OK that includes the 2 states he didn't campaign in, but whatever happened to "count every vote?"

And then the Dems will start screaming "fix" when they lose Ohio by 10 points and Colorado by 5!

1:37 am, September 02, 2008

Blogger Chris Paul said...

It's like being the senior councillor in a ward in the UK Luke. How many of the Senior councillors in wards near you would you be happy to see on a ticket for leader of the free world?

And how about zoning in on only the creationist, polar bear hating, family score settling, conservative senior councillors.

That's the point. Citizens in such towns might like to take a look at their own mayors and ask themselves would I want Mayor Hogg being President?

What was the Town's budget? And did she really mess up the Alaska budget with $300 m overspend and doubled tax hike?

12:25 pm, September 02, 2008

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Small postscript. The current budget of the town in something like £4M sterling. There are 100s and 1000s of people who are eminently unsuitable for nuclear button action who have managed far far higher budgets than this. I've had several jobs with budgets and responsibilities in this ballpark for one. And goodness knows how unprepared I am for high office. Ditto people who have "ruled over" 600,000 people say as a Leader or senor exec member on one of our bigger councils.

11:43 am, September 06, 2008


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