I've spent a good chunk of the day trying to wrap my head around this pick. It makes very little sense.
First, Sarah Palin may well be a lovely person, but she is in no way qualified to be vice-president of the United States, much less a heartbeat away from the presidency of a 71 year old man with a history of cancer. This apparently sensible Alaska blogger explains her as well as anyone. She was mayor of a town of 8000 (note the picture on the blog) and governor of a state of a half-million. For the sake of comparison, please note that Barack "He's not prepared for the presidency" Obama's state senate district comprises about 1/2 the population of the entire state of Alaska.
In addition, I mean no disrespect when I note that Alaska's politics do not resemble those of the United States of America. This is a tiny right wing socialist republic of sorts. Oil supports them. Corruption is endemic. The wild west lives there. It sounds like a heckuva fun place to live, but this is not a place that creates presidential timber. It just isn't. That blogger notes, in fact, that Palin comes equipped with a scandal of her own and, again, given that state, the scandals are likely to start piling up.
Second, it's becoming increasingly apparent that McCain barely knows the woman; he may have spoken to her as little as twice. Now, FDR barely knew Truman, both before and after Truman became VP. But Truman was vetted by the party bosses and possessed a considerable level of experience. Palin possesses neither. It might be reasonable for a nominee to make an oddball choice if s/he knows that person and knows that it will be a great relationship. This isn't one of those times. McCain just rolled the dice here for little other apparent reason than the fact that he felt like it.
Third, then, one has to wonder whether McCain intends to run a serious campaign for the presidency. Truly, the behavior thus far has been that of a person who does not truly expect to win and is not ready to govern. From the staff shakeups to the "bomb, bomb iran" jokes to the inability to work within the Republican establishment or transform it to the celebrity ads to this pick--there's a lack of seriousness about this campaign. Even Dan Quayle was, on paper, more qualified with this. The only two comparables (I bought a house this year) are Walter Mondale's choice of Geraldine Ferraro and Barry Goldwater's choice of William Miller. Heck, both of George McGovern's choices in 1972 (Thomas Eagleton and Sargent Shriver) were better prepared for the presidency.
Fourth, Ferraro suggests another issue. Just as Mondale picked a palpable pander of a long shot unqualified choice, so, too, has McCain picked Palin. And let's note this for the record: The crocodile tears Republicans are shedding for Hillary Clinton and this choice are insulting to women. If Senator Clinton was the nominee, I imagine that the tears, the lovely conservative tributes, and Sarah Palin would be on hold. Palin does not believe in evolution, choice, global warming, social security, or environmental protections. If a Hillary dead-ender supports McCain because of Palin, then that person has no moral compass. And, frankly, it would be nice of Senator Clinton to say thank you for the condolences, but I suspect you mean them in much the same way the orphan who killed his parents laments being alone. Yep, it's hard alright. Very tough. I believe you care about me. Let's also note for the record that if John McCain wanted a woman on the ticket, he could have chosen from, at minimum, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Elizabeth Dole, and Olympia Snowe. But none of them are young, inexperienced, or owe their national careers to McCain. The latter two are from states that he could use, but evidently that's not important.
Finally, this choice disrupts McCain's campaign narrative in several ways. First, of course, it becomes nearly impossible to charge that Obama is unqualified for the presidency. Second, it casts serious doubts on McCain's judgment. As I argued earlier. the reaction of the opposing party is the most telling when it comes down to a VP choice. Obama got the preferred reaction; McCain got the head scratch. Third, McCain must again deal with the split in the Republican party: "Senator McCain, why did you pick a running mate who does not believe in global warming? Have you flipped your flop?" Palin may be a woman but she is most definitely from the paleolithic wing of the Republican Party. McCain has cast his lot with his base.
A couple of other last notes. She was a sports announcer and a beauty queen. What are the odds that the McCain campaign actually vetted all of the video that's out there? In her speech today, she claimed that she opposed the bridge to nowhere. HONK! Thank you for playing, Governor Palin. Would you like to tell the truth in the national campaign round, when the prizes get really big? And, of course, Palin's Alaska receives more earmarks than any other state in the Union and is smaller than 46 of them. So, the McCain crusade against pork is really cookin. There's also video of her out there half-laughing at the possibility that she could get picked.
And, of course, Palin has never been to Iraq. Will John McCain soon denounce her for her lack of interest? When will she go?
This is all in the first 6 hours or so after the choice. You can get 99% of it through that secretive process unknown to John McCain called "Google." Again, do you think the McCain campaign vetted any of this, prepared any responses to all of this (none so far), or prepared a team to move her from the Single A Anchorage Republican farm club to the majors? No, I don't think so, either. I think Sarah Palin will end up with deep regrets about this day. Very deep regrets.