In all seriousness, though, in many regards, Palin was most likely a smart political move for the Republicans. She’s able to activate the evangelical, neo-con electorate in a way McCain can’t, and while I seriously doubt she’ll capture too many female voters just by virtue of being a woman, she can help integrate the party base and pick up all the voters who were probably going Republican anyway, but just were less happy about it.
But while usurping some of Obama’s historical mandate may be a good tactical move pre-November, as Ezra Klein has pointed out, it does reflect McCain’s reckless thinking about himself and his presidency.
What you can’t say about Sarah Palin is that John McCain sat down and asked himself, “what if I die?” No one — literally, no one — has actually argued that Palin would be the answer McCain would venture to that question. But McCain, a serious public servant, should have asked himself that question. Part of the maturity demanded by leadership is a willingness to think through what would happen in your absence. Picking Palin, McCain declared himself stubbornly unwilling to entertain the possibility.
Considering the possibility of death wouldn’t be a concession on McCain’s part to age, it would be an example of the kind of forward-thinking people expect in a president. Choosing Palin may be a good way to get into office, but if it works, it also creates a major liability.
From the Anchorage Daily News:
The early morning news of McCain’s pick sent jaws dropping throughout Alaska, with friends waking up friends with “Oh my God, have you heard?” phone calls.
State House Speaker John Harris, a Republican from Valdez, was astonished at the news. He didn’t want to get into the issue of her qualifications.
“She’s old enough,” Harris said. “She’s a U.S. citizen.”