How not to win an election

Published 9:45 am Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It would have been hard to believe, after everything leading up to our presidential election in November, that only a few days would decide the outcome of our country’s greatest decision. That’s exactly what has happened.

Polls and the like give us a general idea of the opinion of the American people. They said the race would have been close before Barack Obama and John McCain chose their running mates, but my feeling was Obama was heading toward a sure victory. That was then; this is now.

Now, I’m not going to pretend to be some kind of political analyst. I took some political science classes in college and now don’t have enough time to keep up with the drama that is American politics. There’s the disclaimer. But, as an Alabamian with no strong feelings toward either political party (except negative ones), my perspective might add to our political discourse. Or, it might not.

Either way, had Obama chosen Hillary Clinton, not long ago an opponent for the Democratic Party’s nomination, he could have almost been considered a shoe-in for our country’s top political office. Instead, Obama committed what might end up being considered the biggest political blunder of a generation.

On the surface, Delaware Senator Joe Biden doesn’t come across as a bad pick for as a vice presidential candidate. The decision looks to be Obama’s way of making up for his perceived weakness, a lack of experience. Biden has been a senator for 35 years. But the option flies in the face of the change Obama has been preaching. Biden is a long-time insider; he’s not a change from anything.

Then, as if everything we knew was suddenly turned on its head, it was McCain going out on a limb and selecting a running mate, Sarah Palin, that will appeal to both ends of the political spectrum. How does a card-toting member of the NRA appeal to Democrats? She’s a woman, and there are a lot of people out there that supported Clinton and are now bitter about her exclusion from Obama’s ticket.

McCain will now surely get these votes, and it just might be enough to win him an election.

– Stephen Dawkins is the sports editor for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Tuesday. He can be reached at