I just heard that John McCain has picked Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, as his running mate. Like virtually everyone else in the country, I was surprised. I thought that the smart choice would have been Tom Ridge, a popular former governor of my state, Pennsylvania, and the first head of Homeland Security. Ridge has a good résumé and had the potential to deliver a large state that is most certainly in play in the fall.
Of course, I want McCain to lose in November, so I have to be pleased by his vice-presidential choice. On the positive side, from a Republican viewpoint, anyway, Palin’s plusses include having a strong anti-choice and reform-minded record and, in an election season in which Hillary Clinton energized women over the prospect of there being a woman to vote for, being female. Oh, and she apparently was runner-up for Miss Alaska in 1984. At 44, she is still a looker.
Alas, Palin doesn’t have many other obvious credentials for a job that, at least in the past eight years, has become very powerful. McCain has certainly found a way to grab headlines the day after Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, however.
The good news, from the Democratic viewpoint, is that the selection of Palin takes the question of qualifications off the table. If Obama’s qualifications for President are a little thin, Palin’s qualifications border on nonexistent. And, should McCain win, she will be a heartbeat away from taking over from an elderly President with a worrisome health record. Of course, should she become Vice President, we can expect that, unlike the current meddlesome office-holder from the heart of darkness, she will likely spend most of her time in her house at the Naval Observatory playing with her children.
But she can always do that in Alaska.