In his latest move, with his trademark blend of panicked desperation and political calculation, John McCain announced his choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Palin has signed on the Bush administration's economic policies, opposes increasing the minimum wage, and opposes equal pay for equal work regardless of gender. And this is McCain's way of reaching out to women and the working class?
"Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency," said Bill Burton of the Obama campaign. "Governor Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies -- that's not the change we need, it's just more of the same.''
Gov. Sarah Palin
Palin, a former small-town mayor with a taste for mooseburgers, has more experience catching fish than dealing with foreign policy or national affairs. I hate to mention the Peter Principle, but this lady is in way over her head. Her level of expertise is more appropriate at a city council meeting than on the Council of Foreign Relations. Even now, the Alaska governor is under an ethical cloud.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
Even in that regard, the depth of McCain's cynicism is revealed by the fact that he picked the distinctly under-qualified -- but very photogenic -- Palin and passed over Kay Bailey Hutchison, the Texas senator who is very knowledgeable about the military, but is, unlike Palin, not a former beauty queen. (Palin was a runner-up in the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant.)
Palin brings a strong anti-abortion stance to the ticket and opposes gay marriage - constitutionally banned in Alaska before her time. As governor, Palin vetoed a bill that would have granted benefits to gay state employees and their partners.
Palin with her kill. Photo credit: The Weekly Standard
Palin lives in Wasilla, a town of 6,500 about 30 miles north of Anchorage, with her husband, Todd, a blue-collar North Slope oil worker who won the 2007 Iron Dog, a 1,900-mile snowmobile race. He is part Yup'ik Eskimo.
She is often seen walking the Alaska Capitol halls in black or red power suits while reading text messages on Blackberry screens in each hand. She made a recent appearance in a photo layout in fashion magazine Vogue -- I kid you not. (Full disclosure: the following image was Photoshopped, but the Vogue appearance is real.)
Take me seriously. I wear glasses.
Palin's reputation has come into question with an investigation recently launched by a legislative panel into whether she sacked Alaska's public safety commissioner because he would not fire her former brother-in-law as a state trooper. Trooper Mike Wooten went through an ugly divorce from Palin's sister.
The governor denied orchestrating the dozens of telephone calls made by her husband and members of her administration to Wooten's bosses.
Palin is an avid proponent of petroleum development, in tune with McCain. In fact, she's even more "drill here, drill now" crazy than McCain, favoring drilling in Alaska's protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. McCain opposes it.