As a Democrat, my initial reaction to John McCain's choice of running mate was one of disbelief quickly followed by wicked glee. A "hockey-mom" from Alaska, mayor of a town of all of 9000, an inexperienced Governor who is still trying to get a handle on things? (Snort) How awful and yet, for the Democrats, how wonderful! McCain just blew a hole in his own sinking ship!. Woohoooooo!!
That was my initial reaction. Then I thought a little more about why he chose Sarah Palin. And that thought process led to a dark and scary place.
My theory? First, he's trying to woo the Hillary supporters who, idiotically, are saying that they won't vote for Obama because Hillary is a victim of sexism. While this is perhaps true, it is not a good reason for a Democrat to go over to the Republican dark side. Listen, I'm just as disappointed as the next woman that we apparently still are not to elect a woman president quite yet, but seriously, if you voted for Hillary because of her policies, how could you possibly, out of spite, vote for someone who espouses the antithesis of her policies? It just defies logic. For those voters who supported Hillary Clinton simply because she has a vagina, that might work. For those who actually based their political affiliation on something more substantive, I think not. But then again...
Second, Sarah Palin is young. Perhaps John McCain feels that if we add his age and Sarah's and then divide by two, he won't seem so old anymore? Foolishness but, then again...
Third, Sarah Palin is known for being a bit of a maverick...hmmm where have we heard that word before? Oh that's right, it's what McCain used to be but is no longer, so bring in someone else who can still claim the label. That won't fool anybody. But, then again...
How transparent. Sarah Palin wasn't chosen because she has the experience to handle the job of vice president. She wasn't selected because she is ready to step in as president if something happens to McCain. She wasn't chosen because she possess skill in an area where McCain is lacking. In my mind she seems to have been chosen for her ability, not to enhance or supplement McCain's strengths, but to attract a certain subset of voters for whom McCain, on his own, wouldn't pass muster. If I can see through McCain, so can everyone right? But, then again.... I am continually amazed at the machinations of the voter's minds. Critical analysis and solid logic do not always win out.
Now, I know that this is politics in America and I'm not totally naive. I understand that choices are often made based on how many voters will be swayed, not on what is best for America. But it just seems to me that McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate is just so obvious a ploy that it's...well, it's just unseemly somehow. It's one thing to be duped by a skilled conman or a supremely cunning plan, but to be fooled into believing that Sarah Palin was chosen because she really is the best person to help lead this country? Well that would just be embarrassing.
I like to think that Obama's choice of running mate was based on something other than Joe Biden's ability to pull in votes; that his choice was based on Biden's qualifications for the job. I do believe that Obama chose Biden for his strength's, particularly in the area of foreign policy. I'm inclined to think that he did so, not because he hopes to gain the votes of those who think he is weak on foreign policy, but because he recognizes his own areas of weakness and is intelligent enough to surround himself with people who will enhance his skill set. In other words, I believe that Obama chose Biden because he wants to do the best possible job leading this country.
But then I get to wondering. Is that true, or is it my own bias coming through? Am I judging the presidential candidates choice of running mates differently because of my own political affiliation? Are Obama and McCain both making their choices based solely on the vote-garnering ability of their running mates? Am I just giving Obama more credit than is due because that's what I want to believe? And if Obama is just as guilty of pandering to the voters as is McCain, what then? How do I keep from becoming totally jaded, from giving up on the political process altogether?
What do you think? What was your reaction to the choice of Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate? Is he crazy or am I? Is my theory on McCain's choice of running mate correct? Are Obama's reasons for choosing Joe Biden more substantive and more pure or am I just kidding myself? I'd love to hear what other people are thinking. Republicans, Democrats, Independents...all are welcome to comment...to agree or disagree with my perspective. Please feel free to leave a comment and put in your two cents. The conversation is always more interesting when there are many voices and varying perspectives.
P.S. In light of recent comments left on my blog I unfortunately find it necessary to request that we remember our manners when leaving comments. You are welcome to disagree with me and to voice your disagreement as long as you can do it politely and respectfully, and I promise to respond in kind. I know that this goes without saying for most of my readers but there are always those who will abuse the privilege of adding content to someone's blog and use the opportunity to comment as an avenue for hostility, rudeness and personal attacks. Such comments will no longer be tolerated on this blog, nor will they be honored with a response. They will simply be deleted.
I hope that my regular readers will not be offended by these remarks. Please continue to feel free to speak your piece and add your voice to mine. Whether we agree, or agree to disagree, it is a pleasure to hear from you.