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Seattle Times Political Caucus

The Seattle Times Political Caucus is an online community aimed at adding diverse voices to our coverage of politics. How we'll use the Caucus will evolve over time. But the idea is to create a conversation with people of various backgrounds and political beliefs. As the election season unfolds, we'll ask participants to weigh in on key political questions and then post their comments here.

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August 29, 2008 4:35 PM

McCain's running mate

Posted by Katherine Long

Sen. John McCain surprised many observers Friday morning when he selected Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate. We asked the Seattle Times Political Caucus: What do you think of his choice, and does it make you more or less likely to vote for him? Read all of their answers here.

Many Republicans and quite a few independents praised McCain for a bold, interesting choice. Some were swayed by her addition to the ticket, while others were not so sure.

Sarah Andeen of Kirkland says she's voted for McCain before (as a write-in), but remains undecided. "Her lack of experience on the world stage is not a huge issue -- I think she could probably step up to the plate and learn what she needed to, but in general I do not think she has the people skills to be effective at creating bi-partisan coalitions and while her accomplishments as a whistleblower are nice, they do not completely balance out her own ethical issues. So this choice has sealed John McCain's fate in the negative column for my vote, but it is still not yet in the pro-vote column for Obama. Which is disappointing."

"I have to give it to John McCain for picking a candidate who may be as maverick as he claims to be," wrote Dave Iseminger of Capitol Hill. "He certainly didn't pick a safe choice and I am extremely excited to hear her speech at the convention next week."

Iseminger went on: "I would heavily consider voting for McCain-Palin because during the 2000 primary I liked McCain quite a bit. His bold choice and her ethics make them an intriguing ticket. I don't know quite what to make of her experience and the proximity to the presidency she will have if elected. I'll reserve judgment on that until I hear and research more." Nevertheless, Iseminger hasn't yet changed his plans to vote for Obama.

"I wouldn't ever vote for McCain, but choosing Palin was definitely a bold move for a candidate that doesn't seem to make too many bold moves," wrote Dan Rosson of Seattle. "I think though once the initial surprise dies down, Democratic women will fiercely campaign for Obama, and it will end up not being a great choice. It was certainly a risky one!"

"I am a huge Mitt supporter and I like her a lot," wrote Apollo Fuhriman of Bothell. "She brings a whole new dynamic to the ticket and will be an excellent Veep!"

Steven Fenton of Snoqualmie is a fan, too. "The selection of Governor Palin to become the Vice Presidential nominee is historic and refreshing. Democrats would be ill-advised to dismiss her too lightly. Though she is already being embraced by conservative Republicans, her appeal may be much broader than just the traditional conservative base."

Scott Kastelitz of Bothell is impressed with Palin's background, and is leaning strongly toward voting for McCain now. "After reading more about Palin, I realized she's young and vibrant, which the Republican ticket desperately needs. I was surprised to learn that as governor of Alaska, she presided over a tax increase on oil company profits, so that shows she's not afraid to stand up to the big boys."

William Marx of Seattle offered a number of interesting observations, including this one: "Hillary supporters sensitive to attacks on female leadership may easily scoff at Democratic attempts to paint a picture of naivete as further media sexism. Yet, Hillary supporters may also see the obvious pandering by McCain for their vote. If the end result of this frustration leaves female Democratic voters at home while energizing female GOP voters, this issue could very well be a net positive for McCain. Interestingly enough, McCain's selection begs for Hillary Clinton to take up Obama's cause much more than she ever planned or may want to. If so, she could consolidate the very schism McCain is attempting to exploit. "

Sheila Harrison of Renton, who says she was a precinct delegate for Clinton, doesn't think Palin will have much crossover appeal for Clinton's supporters. "By putting Sarah Palin on the ticket I feel that the McCain campaign is making a blatant attempt to garner support from those of us who supported Hillary," Harrison wrote. "What the McCain campaign fails to understand is that most of us didn't support Hillary because she was a woman; I strongly agreed with her positions on health care, the economy, the environment, and her foreign policy stance. The fact that she was a woman did contribute to my admiration of her, but I certainly wouldn't have supported her if I didn't also agree with her positions."

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