McCain's Palin Pander Raises Age, Ends Experience Issue
With his unexpected selection today of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain stayed true to form. Not as the mythical maverick, but as the craven opportunist willing to do anything to capture the presidency. Desperate to pander to whatever disgruntled Hillary Clinton voters may remain, McCain turned to a 44 year old woman virtually unknown on the national stage. More important, by putting his campaign and not the country first, the now 72 year old McCain has taken his signature issue - national security experience - off the table.
Choosing symbolism over substance, McCain's reached out to Clinton voters by picking an anti-abortion stalwart and lifetime NRA member, a woman certain to back McCain's planned transformation of the Supreme Court and his war on reproductive rights. An economic conservative with close ties to the Alaska oil industry, Palin could signal a coming change from McCain on drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Preserve (ANWR), a reversal which would follow closely on the heels of his flip-flop on offshore drilling. It's not a stretch to imagine John McCain endorsing Palin, a one-time Alaska beauty pageant contestant, to join his wife Cindy in vying for Miss Buffalo Chip.
But with a single stroke (no pun intended), John McCain celebrated his 72nd birthday today by removing experience as an issue in this campaign. The claim that Barack Obama is "not ready" to be commander-in-chief has been a central McCain talking point. Just days ago, the McCain campaign debuted a misleading ad which distorted Obama's foreign policy statements, concluded that he is "dangerously unprepared." Now, in his desperate gambit to win the White House, John McCain has turned to a green small state governor who just two years was the mayor of town with under 10,000 people. At most, Palin earned her national security chops by keeping Canadian moose from crossing the Alaskan border.
At the end of day, the only surprising aspect of McCain's VP choice was her name. That McCain would turn his back on the defining theme of his campaign is sadly typical. As a doddering John McCain said on June 3rd, "that's not change we can believe in."
UPDATE: Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, herself passed over by McCain for the #2 slot, said of Sarah Palin, "I don't know too much about her."