Sarah Palin is the person most qualified to step into the presidency should the aging McCain need to step down?
Yes, I'm impressed that Palin has, in oil-centric Alaska remained independent of the oil companies, indeed rooted out oil-related corruption in her own party. She was brave enough to endure the opprobrium of conservatives because she wanted to support domestic partner benefits for gays. And I respect Palin deciding to go back to work three days after having her child. Great role model.
But Palin has no foreign policy experience and not much experience at all--mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (pop. 5,500 when she was its mayor) and less than two years as the governor of our least populous state...unless you want to count her experience as runner-up and Miss Congeniality in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant.
Sure, you could say that Obama hasn't much more experience than Palin, but as Lloyd Bentsen said about Dan Quayle in another vice-presidential debate, Palin is no Obama. For example, she attended three colleges before getting her BA in journalism from the University of Idaho; he has a law degree from Harvard, where he held its most prestigious student position: editor of the law review. Obama has virtually no equal as a speaker nor charismatic character. And he's black--the vast majority of the public is eager to show they're not racist.
On Oct. 2, Palin debates Joe Biden, a long-time, respected senator, top debater, and foreign policy expert. It will be a bloodbath.
More important, McCain's choosing Palin will ever more clearly be seen, correctly, as mere pandering to the youth and woman vote. Ironically, I suspect that most women will support the pro-choice Obama-Biden ticket than the firmly anti-choice McCain and Palin. (Palin would outlaw abortion even in the case of rape!)
I agree with McCain's impulse to make a bold choice--this is Hail Mary time for him. But such a lightweight? Puhleeze. In today's society in which being celebratory of diversity is deified, if his goal is to win rather than necessarily choose the most qualified person, McCain should have limited his search to credible women or minorities, for example, Hillary, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Olympia Snowe, or even deposed HP CEO Carly Fiorina. Even Oprah or Bill Cosby would be more credible than Palin--and would garner a helluva lot of votes.
I'm guessing the reason McCain settled on Palin is that he couldn't convince anyone better to run. I'd imagine, for example, that Tim Pawlenty knows that a McCain/Pawlenty ticket wouldn't stand a chance against Obama/Biden. Pawlenty would devote tremendous effort and spend credibility capital and all he'd get was to have been associated with a loser.
It's Obama-Biden. I'm taking bets.