Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain's VP Choice.

Are we ecstatic by John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate? Ecstatic? Not really. Perhaps there were stronger, more experienced choices, but not very obvious ones. Mac's competitors for the nomination were all damaged goods, and all suffered the political liabilities of being white and male while Republican. Yes, the Zeitgeist has turned on The Man.

So what were McCain's goals in choosing a VP? Somebody that could step in to be President, but the wrong political choice for VP would render that concern moot. His choice would need to break GOP "tradition" (white male running mates) if there would be any chance to win the Presidency.

The dismantling of the Gingrinch Revolution of '94 (which truly sought to court minorities into the party) and the subsequent control of the GOP by the brain-dead (Hastert, McConnell) or the corrupt (Delay) has lost the party at least a decade in expanding the conservative movement to "non-traditional" groups. Thus, there are no African-American GOP members of House or Senate, and precious few Hispanic members.

The GOP women in the Senate are either a bit shopworn (Dole, Hutchison), too liberal for the party base (Snow, Collins), or otherwise unacceptable (Murkowski). Women Republican members of the House are a rather anonymous group (why is the subject of another conversation). Palin is one of a handful of women Republican governors. The reaction by the GOP base to her selection has been enthusiastic (Lieberman would have kept the base home on Election Day), and may - may - draw moderate women to the ticket. Politically, Palin was the best choice.

Palin has been been swimming with the sharks of Alaska politics - the Murkowskis, Ted Stevens, and Don Young - and has beaten them. She is quite knowledgable on energy issues, and as governor has experience in actually running a government. On these matters she is more qualified to be President that Mr. Obama , who has been running for President since his election to the US Senate in 2006, and has particpated in damned little real leglislation. That Mr. Obama has pulled off what he has does say something about his political and leadership skills (let us give credit where credit is due). The "experience" issue may have been a dead end for McCain anyway; a look back a previous popular Presidents can reveal some rather short resumes (TR, FDR, JFK).

Palin had better be a quick study on the national issues on which she is unfamiliar, and please let her not say anything stupid out of obligation to say something in which she is not knowledgable. Leave that to Mr. Obama.

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