Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin? Really?

After a whole day of reading/watching/listening to news reports about Sarah Palin, my jaw remains squarely on the floor. I can't believe McCain picked her.

The only possible reason I can think of for choosing Sarah Palin is a cynical, superficial attempt to peel away some die-hard Clinton supporters - basically, the hope that women will cast their votes for other women, regardless of significant political differences. Governor Palin offers no geographical advantage, she doesn't address McCain's significant weakness (economics), and her strong pro-life record is unlikely to sway many Democrats who were strong Clinton backers.

Worst of all, though, she undercuts McCain's strongest argument: his experience. Sarah Palin's education consists of a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Idaho. She was a city councilwoman and mayor of a town of about 6,000 people before becoming governor of a state with only about 100,000 more people than live in my county. And this is the person John McCain has chosen to be one step away from the presidency - even though he is 72 years old and likely to serve only one term. President Palin? Really? Is Sarah Palin to be the Republican Party's heir apparent in 2012?

I simply cannot see the logic behind this choice. It escapes me. Even as a Hail Mary option - an attempt to fundamentally change the race and breathe new life into the McCain campaign - it is transparently desperate and alarmingly short-sighted. Now, none of McCain's options were great. Romney, Pawlenty, Ridge, Lieberman, and all the others presented significant challenges, but I cannot imagine anyone who was on the "short list" with fewer advantages and more drawbacks.

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