In choosing Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, you first had to endure the television talking heads gushing over how canny John McCain was in making the selection and how pretty Palin is.
Then you had to hold your nose from the stench of the cynical political calculation.
If there were any doubts that the 72-year-old McCain is having “senior moments” this move confirms it.
The selection of Palin undermines the central argument McCain has used against Obama. That is the “experience” issue. If Obama lacks executive experience and has only been on the national stage briefly as a U.S. Senator still serving his first-term, the same charge can be made against Palin with her 22 months in the governor’s office.
If Palin has the experience necessary to be Commander-in-Chief so does Obama. That particular avenue of attack has now been closed.
People don’t vote for or against a ticket based on who the vice-president is, so while Palin and Biden will do their best to get the man at the top of the ticket over the hump, neither one of them are a game-changer by themselves.
However, if anything should happen to a President Obama or President McCain Americans will have to ask themselves would they want Joe Biden or Sarah Palin as their next Commander-in-Chief?
Should I also mention that Governor Palin said “she doesn’t know what a vice-president does?”
The first executive decision a presidential candidate makes is who he believe will best serve the nation should he be unable to. Barack Obama chose an experienced and qualified senator who is well known and respected both at home and abroad. John McCain chose a first-term governor from a sparsely populated state who is a total enigma to the Lower 48.
The choice of Palin, someone McCain had only met once, smacks of calculation, not inspiration. McCain seems to gambling that disgruntled Democratic women and independents will see Palin’s pretty face and family and ignore her less attractive firmly right-wing beliefs. I don’t think women are going to vote for a woman simply because she IS a woman.
McCain is being cynical to the nth degree by selecting Palin. His overture to Hillary Clinton supporters is as clumsy as it is obvious. He seems to think women will vote strictly along gender lines. That same accusation was leveled at African-Americans for backing Obama. What that simplistic assumption ignores is just as Blacks never coalesced around Alan Keyes because his positions were out of the mainstream of African-Americans, Palin’s hard-right conservatism will be less appealing to Hillary supporters. Additionally, no one questioned whether Clinton was experienced enough to be the president or vice-president.
Women read the fine print too.
Palin may prove to be the asset McCain needs to give him the keys to a eighth house—1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Or she could do for him for Geraldine Ferraro did for Walter Mondale.
Not a damn thing.