Because Season was a little impatient...
Yesterday, at a rally in Ohio, Sen. McCain announced his running mate—Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. I saw this as I was eating lunch at work. And when I saw the ticker announcing who it was my thought was, “Who is that?” I’ve heard of her but only in passing stories. (Really, who pays attention to Alaskan politics that much?) I was thinking that it might have been Mitt Romney.
When it comes to presidential campaigning here in the States, the general rule of thumb is that the presidential candidates (Obama and McCain) start out by shoring up their bases and move toward the center. Arguably this campaign cycle is different already since both Obama and McCain are portraying themselves as centrist candidates. In addition to that rule of thumb is that the VP pick is the whip keeping the base of support in line as the candidate moves toward the center. Now, that makes perfect sense with Obama’s pick, Sen. Biden. He’s a lefty that is well known for his rabid attacks on the right. McCain’s choice does not make obvious sense.
One of the issues that you can harp on Obama is his lack of experience. He has only been a senator since 2005. How could a senator who has not even served a full term or even chaired a committee, be ready for the Presidency? It would seem that argument would be undercut with the pick of Palin. But I think that there are differences worth noting.
The obvious one is that Palin is being picked to be Vice President not President. Arguing that McCain could die in office and that Palin would then become President is far too attenuated logic for someone to make a voting decision on.
Experience. Gov. Palin has been a governor of a state for two years. Even I will admit that she is still green. However, when it comes head to head with Obama she still has more executive experience than he has. And it’s Obama that may become the President of the United States.
Personally, I’m not too happy with the pick. Nothing at all against, Gov. Palin. From what I’ve read of her, I think she is great in many respects. If she had at least one term down, she’d be a great pick. And with a little more time she could even make a great presidential candidate herself. Although her lack of experience does play into it, I don’t think that she will do much to shore up McCain’s base. McCain is not liked by core conservative Republicans. What he needed was someone that can appeal to them and I’m sorry an unknown Governor from Alaska with her own “maverick” style is not going to do that.
That all being said, I don’t think Vice Presidential picks significantly alter a person’s vote. As I have noted before and as Palin, herself, has joked about in the past, it’s a lame office.