First, let me express my disappointment in that I have barely had time to turn around this week – let alone write. I had to meet some major deadlines by today, so I have worked seven days this week – somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 hours.
Second, now to the latest news that isn’t so new at this point. I have to admit, when I first heard the news, I was totally shocked. My first thought was that the unconvinced Hillary supporters would now truly desert the party and flock to John McCain’s camp. And all because he picked Sarah Palin, an unknown as his vice presidential selection.
Oh me of little faith. The reasons behind McCain’s pick seem fairly obvious. Perhaps, in an effort to reclaim his moniker as a maverick – a nickname that is belied by his voting 90% of the time with Bush – he decided to bolt from the assumed picks and select a vice presidential pick who has little experience in government but espouses the correct political philosophy that will ensure McCain’s hold on the drifting right-wing of the Republican party.
Photo credit: NY Daily News
With Palin’s selection, McCain, considered a moderate, has apparently redeemed himself in the eyes of those who are anti-abortion, pro-gun, pro-prayer, pro-Iraq, etc. Palin is all those things and more. Her experience in life coupled with her political career in Alaska – a state known for its rugged frontiers and its rugged individuals – purports to reflect a range of qualities that McCain felt made her an ideal pick as his vice presidential running mate.
But don’t let McCain pull the wool over your eyes. This is a calculated attempt to pull in the Hillary supporters and blue collar workers who are still not quite sure which way to go in November. While the Republicans and McCain sorely hope this will bring them much needed votes, his decision will ultimately backfire.
Palin is an admirable example for young women as well as older women. But she has little political experience in a state that is ranked 47th in population – 683,478 – a population that is less than many cities in the contiguous United States. But unless the disaffected Hillary supporters are wearing blinders, they will, in the end, stay with the Democratic party.
McCain’s pick also cuts to the heart of the unending Republican rants about Obama’s lack of experience. Palin has little experience in governing. She served in a couple of political offices prior to her election as Governor of Alaska. From 1992-1996, she served on the Wasilla city council, and then as Mayor of Wasilla from 1996-2002 – a city with a population of roughly 8,500. While she was serving as Mayor of a city of 8,500, Obama was serving in the Illinois Senate. Her own mother-in-law couldn’t quite grasp why she was chosen and commented, “I’m not sure what she brings to the ticket other than she’s a woman and a conservative.” Ah, the mother-in-law hit the nail on the head – she’s a woman.
Even McCain’s own people were purportedly stunned by the sudden and unexpected selection. The talking heads hit the airwaves this morning in an attempt to shore up the idea that Palin has all the experience she needs to be a “heart beat away from the presidency.” I watched as Tim Pawlenty, once a name on McCain’s short list, stoically attempted to defend the pick by swearing that Palin has all the experience necessary to serve as vice-president.
But McCain has little use for the office of vice president. In the YouTube video, McCain, a candidate in 2000 for the presidency, disdainfully gives his opinion as to the role of the vice president – a role that he now has thrust upon Palin.
When the dust finally settles, McCain’s choice will be seen as little more than an attempt to pander to the left-over Hillary supporters who have not yet decided to support Obama. What a shame that he has chosen to subject an articulate, intelligent, and ambitious woman and caring mother to his own shortcomings. And what a greater shame that he sees her as a tool to be used not as a serious candidate for vice president but merely as a draw to disaffected women by filling a position for which he has little respect himself.