It’s a daring pick but I think a very weak pick. I’m perfectly happy with it. Palin is in the midst of a reasonably serious scandal in her home state. Her brother-in-law is a state trooper who is in the midst of an ugly custody battle with her sister. And she’s accused of getting the state police to fire him. Recently she was forced to admit that one of her aides had done this, though she insists she didn’t know.
Next, John McCain’s central and best argument in this campaign is that Barack Obama simply lacks the experience to be President of the United States. And now John McCain, who is a cancer survivor who turns 72 years old today, is picking a vice presidential nominee who has been governor of a small state for less than two years and prior to that was mayor of a town with roughly one-twenty-seventh of the citizens that Barack Obama represented when he was a state senator in Illinois.
Whatever you think of Barack Obama’s qualifications to be President, Palin is manifestly less qualified. And that undermines the central premise of McCain’s campaign.
I also think it’s a rather cynical choice. Just last week, after Sen. Obama picked Joe Biden, the McCain campaign was running an ad trying to win over disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters; now they’ve chosen Gov. Palin. The only thing she shares with Sen. Clinton is the lack of a Y chromosome, yet the GOP thinks that the “Hey, she’s a woman” meme will be enough to make the Hillary Clinton supporters switch to McCain. Ms. Palin is virulently anti-choice and she’s all in favor of drilling in ANWR, something even Sen. McCain isn’t in favor of. So this selection seems to be geared to the right-wing, the evangelicals, and the low-informed voter who will not examine her record.
Like I said, it seems like a cynical choice to me, and it points up the cracks in the Republican brand than complements it.