McCain/Palin: The Twelve-Year Plan

I was startled to read this analysis by AllahP over at Hot Air, which discusses the possibility of a break between McCain and Palin in 2012, based on the idea proposed in this Politico piece on whether Palin might take McCain on directly in four years.

Startling, indeed: I had thought that the heffalump in the room here was the fact that McCain is only intended to be—and probably only intends to be—a one-term President. The whole reason that Palin has invigorated the candidacy of a man who is around the age Reagan was when he ran for his second term is that she is there to serve as an independent-minded protegé of an experienced legislator-reformer. McCain is not, in my mind, going for eight years in the White House, and the McCain-Palin team is not aiming for a sixteen-year double administration. (And it is clearly a team: Palin isn’t meant to be a “sit around and wait for the President to die” kind of VP: both McCain and Palin have telegraphed this repeatedly.) The idea is to take Palin’s talent as a retail politician and combine it with the knowledge of a cantankerous old guy who’s bright and knows the ropes in D.C. She spends four years working with him, and at that point they either swap positions or (more likely) he steps down and becomes an advisor in her fight against Hillary. (“This is how you get under her skin, even more than you already are.”)

I had thought everyone knew this, and that it was tacitly understood that when the Clintons talk about how they “hope” and “expect” that Obama will win, they mean exactly the opposite. I don’t agree that 2012 is Hillary’s last bite at the apple, because women live longer than men, but it is her next realistic shot, and a Hillary-Palin matchup would be reasonably equal, once Palin’s “internship” in the White House is over, and she’s burnished her foreign policy credentials. These are both bright, aggressive women who would be further refined by fire after that campaign (which will make the present one look like the proverbial walk in the park).

I would truly be surprised if McCain meant to serve more than four years, and I had thought that his picking a young-ish woman of unusual talent (who is a quick study and has a heavy background in energy policy) was a signal that he intended to groom Palin as his successor from the get-go.

Attila Girl—Joy Whittemore McCann—blogs at Little Miss Attila.

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