I think it’s fair to say that no one saw coming John McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate. With this stunning news, so fresh that I’m still unbending the twist-tie, I’m having one heck of a debate in my head as to whether or not it’s a good choice.
See, the feminist in me—still smarting from Mrs. Clinton not being on the democratic ticket—is almost giddy at the prospect of a woman being so close to the Oval Office…in a constitutionally official capacity, for once. On the other hand…who the heck is she?
The cynic in me says that McCain chose Palin solely for the first reason: to woo moderates who would have voted for Clinton in any case and who are still smarting from Obama’s lack of consideration of that (based on the rhetoric, no one really thought he was ever seriously considering her as a running mate).
Very quickly, though, the pragmatist in me managed to take hold of my brain. First off, she’s not running for president, McCain is. Second, while it might strengthen his allure to feminists, her anti-choice stance on abortion is likely to alienate many of those same feminists. Plus, it completely dilutes McCain’s argument that Obama isn’t experienced enough to be president. By selecting someone even more inexperienced (and younger) than his opponent, just one heart attack away from the White House, McCain is essentially conceding that Obama is qualified. Obama, of course, doesn’t have the same baggage with his selection.
And what about the Romney-ites? You know, all those supporters who were no less looking forward to seeing him on the ticket as were some Clinton supporters on the other side of the aisle. Seems to me that McCain can experience a similar sort of backlash. No, I don’t think (m)any will jump ship and vote for Obama, but they could simply not vote for McCain.
I can see the early ads coming from the dems: Is She Ready To Lead? The wrinkly, white-haired dude picked a running mate who isn’t as hot as Paris Hilton, but has even less experience (she hasn’t even been on all the talk shows). If he’s no longer there, she’s in charge. Is She Ready To Lead?
So…craft pick? In some ways. Poopy Ploy? I think in a few more. This does certainly deflate Obama’s post convention balloon a bit (and what was with the bad-mouthing of the GOP during the dem convention, isn’t that the week the opposing party tacitly agrees to be quiet?), focusing the attention on McCain…but is it the sort of attention he needs. This sort of pick sort of echoes G.H.W. Bush’s pick of Dan “The Potatoe” Quayle, and we all know how helpful HE was.
See also: Political Poopy-heads in 2008