I’ve had a few days to think about this situation. To read, to observe, to take in as much information as possible (from all manner of sources), because I didn’t want to write anything that would seem reactionary.
Now that I’ve had a chance to do all of that, I feel comfortable in saying this: John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate was one of the single biggest gaffes in the history of the United States, and it will be the singular thing that people will point back to in ten years when discussing how he lost the election to Barack Obama.
It’s no secret that I’m an Obama supporter. I’ve donated to his campaign. So you know who I’m voting for.
But this isn’t about my vote. This is about the process of the election and knowing that the people representing your party are concerned with actual governing and not just politics. And McCain’s choice of Palin is chock full of nothing BUT politics, and the worst kind of politics at that.
She’s a fantastic choice in terms of publicity. There’s no doubt that McCain made a brilliant first impression with the pick and succeeded in stealing the spotlight away from Obama for a few hours on Friday morning. But then the ugly stuff started to seep out, and it seemed as though John The Maverick maybe didn’t think this thing through as much as he should have.
She’s under two separate investigations for corruption in Alaska, the results of which will be released right around November 1st. Palin allegedly used her power to get her brother in law fired from his job as a state trooper. This isn’t left-wing stuff that they’re tossing out to smear her good name; this is a real, actual investigation that’s been going on for months, long before John McCain even met Palin for the first time.
Did you know that John McCain had only met Palin one time before asking her to join his ticket? Yep. They’d met one time in person and spoken once on the phone, and through this minimal amount of time spent with her, he deduced that she would be ready to lead the country should something happen to him.
Vice Presidential candidates are supposed to be vetted, to be researched, but it’s looking more and more like McCain pulled the pick out of nowhere. If the due process had been observed, if she had been vetted and had her background checked, then someone would have discovered the corruption charges. And if McCain knew about the corruption charges and still chose to pick her, then he’s even more arrogant than I thought.
The main talking point of the McCain campaign was that Barack Obama is too inexperienced to be President. And compared to many other candidates out there, he most definitely is inexperienced.
Why, then, would you choose someone who has spent the majority of their political career as the mayor of a tiny Alaskan town? When I bring up her inexperience levels, people say “well, Obama is inexperienced also.” And that’s true. But Barack Obama has spent 10 years in a state legislature and 2 years as a United States Senator. Trying to compare her experience levels as mayor of a small town and governing a state (a reign that has apparently been fraught with corruption and abuse of power charges) to Obama’s is laughable.
The first test of a potential President is his ability to choose a running mate who is ready to step in and lead the country if something bad happens. Barack Obama made a measured, careful selection that was vetted time and time again. Joe Biden is the safe choice and certainly not the flashy one, but he counteracts Obama’s inexperience in foreign policy and balances him out on many levels. Biden is not as exciting as Hillary Clinton would have been, but Obama didn’t make the pick for historical purposes; instead, he selected someone who can legitimately step in and govern should be be called upon to do so. The Biden pick didn’t get me excited, nor will it get anyone who is undecided to choose Obama.
John McCain made a selection for purely political purposes, one designed to attract headlines and take away from the momentum Obama has been building that culminated with the moving DNC speech from last week. He succeeded in his efforts, but in doing so also proved that he could care less about governing. All he cares about is winning, and if he can do it by appointing the most woefully inexperienced Vice Presidential nominee of all time, then so be it. He can worry about the rest of the stuff (like actually leading a country) later.
In talking with some staunch conservatives this morning at my church, it’s apparent to me that many in the GOP cannot fathom why Sarah Palin was asked to join the ticket. Sure, she is easy on the eyes and is a gun-toting, beer-swilling conservative mother of many children, and I’m sure she’ll have a long and fantastic career in politics. But one thing she most definitely is not ready to do? Lead this country should something happen to John McCain (a very real possibility given his age, unfortunately).
In choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain took whatever fraction of a chance he had of winning the election this November and snuffed it out. What I figured would be a close race will now be a blowout. It’s a historic pick, but it will backfire badly (just as it’s already started to). The Sarah Palin choice will go down in history as one of the worst political decisions ever made, right up there with Spiro Agnew and Dan Quayle.