Was Sarah Palin Really the Right Choice for Vice-president?
Surprising many a political prognosticator, John McCain has announced that his running mate will be 44-year-old Sarah Palin, Alaska's first female governor. Honestly, I can't say I'm surprised, as I told someone just a week ago that she could be the choice. The question is, is she a good choice?
Yet I have to wonder about the wisdom of this decision. First, I get the feeling that, with all that has been made of McCain's age, many voters are looking for a vice-presidential candidate who is at least as ready to take the helm as McCain himself. Palin, however, has no more "experience" than Barack Obama, and she has less "education." Now, I have those two words in quotation marks because I know such factors to be little more than superficial measures. After all, what does a given politician usually have experience in? Lying to get elected, fleecing the people through taxation and enacting intrusive laws and regulations? As for education, as G.K. Chesterton said, the most important variety is received at your mother's knee. Wisdom and a sound grasp of governance are what matter, and those qualities cannot be imparted by a left-wing propaganda mill.
But that is the ultimate reality, and, in election seasons, political reality dictates that image trumps all. People are influenced by the superficial, and experience has been the hammer used against Obama all throughout the campaign, by both Hillary Clinton in the primaries and the Republicans since then. It has been McCain's strength, and someone such as Mitt Romney would only have augmented it. Can the same be said about Palin? Moreover, do the qualities she brings to the table override this defect?
Then we come to the matter of women. I'm not so sure that Palin will be able to help deliver them (not to mention disaffected male Clinton voters) to the ticket. These women did glom onto Clinton, as she captured their very questionable imaginations and represented their hopes. Yet the Alaskan governor is not the New York senator. Oh, don't misunderstand me, I much prefer Palin, but remember, again, what will carry the day here isn't the ultimate reality, but political reality. And, quite frankly, women don't always like other women; in fact, they're famous for sometimes hating them. So will the fairer sex fall in behind Palin? I'm not so sure.