So it's official - John McCain has thrown a Hail Mary and tapped Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. The trad med types are ga-ga about what a game-changing choice Palin is. And they're right. It is a game-changer. The Palin pick takes a race already leaning toward Obama and pushes it further into his corner.
Why? Because Sarah Palin is the most unqualified VP nominee in modern history, with the possible exception of Admiral Stockdale.
She's worse than Quayle.
After his selection in 1988, Dan Quayle was rightly lambasted as a dim, inexperienced lightweight with no real pertinent experience who was named by George H. W. Bush as a gimmick - a case of an old, out-of touch candidate trying to appear relevant by teaming up with a much younger pol. Now, Palin's not Quayle - by all accounts, she's quite bright. But she's fantastically inexperienced, far more so than Quayle was when he was tapped. And she possesses an attribute far worse than Quayle's stupidity - she's a big corrupt wheel in Alaska's big corrupt Republican Party, arguably the most corrupt political apparatus in the United States.
We're told that McCain really wanted to pick his old friend Joe Lieberman to run with him, but that Karl Rove and the rest of the elite Republican politburo nixed the idea, and told McCain that he had to take a conservative. And as he has at every step of his campaign, the one-time "maverick" sold out to the venal, icy core of the Republican leadership, and acquiesced by selecting Palin. Palin is really a Republican after Rove's heart - she's a product of the party that produced the indicted Ted Stevens and ethically tarred Don Young, and she's embroiled in a Troopergate scandal of her own, with state investigators looking at serious allegations that Palin abused her office by pressuring the state Public Safety Commissioner to fire "an Alaska state trooper involved in a rough divorce from Palin's sister." Sounds like a woman after Karl Rove's heart.
In addition to further associating McCain with the Republican culture of corruption, the Palin pick undermines one of his main anti-Obama narratives. It's going to be laughable to hear McCain assail Obama's supposed lack of experience after naming the first-term governor -- only one-and-a-half years into her term -- of the 47th largest state to be his running mate. Palin lacks any foreign policy experience, and is bereft of even the two core areas of policy expertise that governors are supposed to bring to a ticket -- ag policy (Alaska doesn't have much in the way of traditional agriculture) and urban affairs (Anchorage is the 65th largest city in the US, behind giants such as Corpus Christi). She's easily the least experienced running mate in recent memory, which is pretty scary, given McCain's age and his history of cancer.
By picking Palin, McCain revealed his desperation to make a splash to rival the genuine excitement generated by the Obama campaign. But desperation leads to poor decisions -- and McCain's Hail Mary, like most last second desperation moves, is destined to fail miserably. He's smeared himself with the pungent mud of Alaska Republican corruption, while cutting the legs out from one of his most reliable attacks against Obama. And he's presented Americans with the prospect of electing a dangerous neophyte to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, behind a man whose life expectancy is less than two presidential terms.
We all expected McCain to pick someone underwhelming to run with him. But we never could have expected a pick worse than Quayle. Yet that's what we got. Thanks, John!
(And for those who are certain to point out that Bush-Quayle won in '88 -- do you really think that Barack Obama is remotely close to Michael Dukakis in political skill? No? Didn't think so.)
crossposted from dailykos.com