By picking Sarah Palin as his running mate, McCain has blown whatever chance he had of winning the election. Palin's NRA membership and footage of her having fun with an assault rifle may win McCain a few extra fringe right-wing votes, but she's a complete flake. For starters, Palin denies that global warming is man-made. In an interview in August 2008 (not August 1998 or even August 2005), she said: "A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I'm not one though who would attribute it to being man-made." Writing in the arch-conservative National Review, Republican pundit David Frum nails it:
John McCain wanted a woman: good.
He wanted to keep conservatives and pro-lifers happy: naturally.
He wanted someone who looked young and dynamic: smart.
And he discovered that he could not reconcile all these imperatives with the stated goal of finding a running mate qualified to assume the duties of the presidency "on day one."
Sarah Palin may well have concealed inner reservoirs of greatness. I hope so! But I'd guess that John McCain does not have a much better sense of who she is, what she believes, and the extent of her abilities than my enthusiastic friends over at the Corner. It's a wild gamble, undertaken by our oldest ever first-time candidate for president in hopes of changing the board of this election campaign.
That Palin is unqualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency is an understatement. Nate Silver in the New Republic:
Palin isn't merely playing at being ordinary, the way that Bill Clinton (Rhodes Scholar) or George W. Bush (son of a president) or Hillary Clinton (wife of a president) might. She really, really comes across that way -- like someone who had won a sweepstakes or an essay contest.
A reader comments:
McCain's choice wasn't just risky, it was reckless and clueless. Not just because it objectified a female candidate (which it did) or because it cheapened the idea of a female running for veep or president (which it did), or because it was grossly irresponsible to create the potential for such a spectacularly unqualified person a heartbeat away from the presidency (which it is) or because it defuses the experience issue (which it most assuredly does)...
McCain has lost it.