Wow. What a shocker. McCain picked a complete unknown to be his veep pick. Interesting. Her name is Sarah Palin and she is a mother of 5 from Alaska. Republicans are thrilled even though none of them know her--not even McCain who has only met her twice.
Apparently they think that the fact she is a woman is enough to steal democratic women away from Obama. Never mind the fact that she is a religious fundamentalist who doesn't like science, opposes a women's right to choose, wants to drill for oil in ANWAR because the scientists are all wrong about polar bears being threatened and so on.
Another commentator was thrilled because Joe Biden won't be able to attack her at the debates because she is a woman. Do we still live in the Stone Age people? I mean really. Look, I realize that by and large, Republicans tend to think that women need to be protected and that they shouldn't be pressured too much because of their delicate sensibilities. But, Biden likes women, respects women and is not the sort to make snide icky jokes about women (unlike McCain--who seems to favor the beauty pageant type). Biden is simply not the type to make an ad hominen attack on Palin to point out weakness as a woman. I realize this might come as a shocker to many Republicans because they never hesitate to launch anti-feminist attacks on their female democratic opponents, but Biden and Obama have higher standards then that.
Ok--so by what standards should we be judging this pick? Well, simple. The job of the veep is to become president should something happen to the president. This means, we need to feel comfortable that the veep choice is at least qualified for the job of president. You will notice amongst all the Republican self congratulations for how forward thinking they are at choosing a woman 24 years after the Dems did it, that no one will say they think she is qualified to be president if something happened to McCain, even when asked directly. They all talk about how wonderfully qualified she is to be vice-president.
Here is the problem with that. We all worry about that. If you weren't alive for Bush I, you will not remember how worried everyone was about Dan Quayle. The entire nation basically prayed every day that Bush Senior would remain healthy so we would not be subjected to a Dan Quayle presidency. The man had more problems with language then Bush Jr does.
This isn't just mild speculation. Everyone is worried about Obama being shot or McCain becoming incapacitated in some way or even dying--he is no spring chicken after all, and he may in fact be in the early stages of Alzheimer's. So, considering whether we want their veeps to be president is a valid concern in this election. In that light, lets compare Obama's pick against McCain's pick.
Biden is respected by pretty much everyone on both sides of the aisle and by leaders around the world. When Obama chose him, it was clear it was because he was thinking about how he wanted to govern, not who would help him get votes. Biden will be a good partner for Obama to actually get things done in Washington, and will have no problem assuming the reins of the presidency should the need arise.
Palin is a whole other story. It is clear that McCain chose her not because he thinks she would be a good president should something happen to him, but because he wants to woo women voters. Even McCain's supporters won't state she should be president--only that she will make a good vice president. Not a good start.
From what I have heard about her, a Palin presidency scares me more then a Quayle presidency did. Quayle at least had good intentions. Palin is smart, but apparently a bit of a steamroller, which seems to be why the Republicans like her. The problem, of course, is that steamrolling is ok at the city level or even a small population state like Alaska where nothing much happens and even a mom of 5 from a small town will be able to have a basic grasp of the economy and issues facing that state. But, at the national or international level, it can be disastrous. Take the Bush Jr presidency for example.
If Palin is not good at diplomacy, and we have no indication she is, she will be an abject failure as president of the United States. Additionally, her legislative agenda is anathema to everything I hold dear. From a philosophic perspective, she is everything I don't want in a president. She is my worst nightmare actually. Lets not forget the fact she lied twice in her first speech as the veep selection for McCain and she is simply not someone I want in the White House.