Joe Biden may be the most knowledgeable, capable, and qualified vice-presidential candidate in recent history. He is in distinguished company: Al Gore, Lloyd Bentsen, Geraldine Ferraro, Walter Mondale, Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon Johnson, and Harry Truman are among former Democratic VP candidates.
So when John McCain set out to select a running mate, he naturally had to find someone as different from Biden as possible. After all, elections are won based on differences, not similarities. And for Republicans, elections are all about winning, not governing.
Joe Biden is a well-known, 65-year-old male from the East. He has served six terms in the Senate. He has been in politics his entire career. He is a man of faith but does not wear his religion on his sleeve. As a public speaker, he informs but does not energize his audiences.
McCain’s selection criteria were thus laid out: he would look for a little-known, mid-40ish conservative female from the West, a Washington outsider and born-again Christian. She must have an interesting personal story, some government executive experience, and be a glib public speaker. A military connection would be a plus.
She would be the anti-Joe Biden.
Her age would be important. At 72, John McCain is the oldest first-term presidential candidate in history. And while he is not exactly in his dotage, he does get the joke about not buying green bananas anymore.
The list of candidates was short. There are only eight currently-serving female governors and five of them are Democrats. Among the Republicans, Jodi Rell of Connecticut is too old at 62 and she is from the East. Hawaii’s Gov. Linda Lingle, is 55 (marginal) and Jewish. They wouldn’t do.
The governor of Alaska, however, is 44 (check), conservative (check), female (check), from the West (check), a Washington outsider (check), a sitting governor (check), and a Pentecostal Christian (check). She has an interesting personal story and she’s a military mom (check check). And she can energize the Republican base (check). And as a bonus, she is a former beauty queen.
“Hold your cards, folks, we have a winner! What’s her name?”
Georgette W. Bush? No, her name is Sarah H. Palin.
Trouble is, in selecting Sarah Palin John McCain picked as his running mate a veritable clone of George W. Bush himself.
George Bush in drag. George Bush, going for a “three-peat.”
Is she qualified? Of course she is qualified … she’s got the political, religious, and social doctrines down pat; what other qualifications does she need?
She understands the Republican political approach: “fear, smear, and sneer.” In that, she is more than qualified … qualified to take her place in the rogue’s gallery that includes Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle, Spiro Agnew, and Richard Nixon.
Palin favors pre-emptive war, an aggressive military, states’ rights, pork-barrel spending in her state, drilling in the ANWR and off-shore, prayer in schools, faith-based social policy, the death penalty, using her office to carry out her personal agenda, and, of course, Christ himself.