I must confess, I find myself still pretty agog over the Palin choice. I'm hard-pressed to think of a more cynically short-sighted, purely news-cycle-motivated choice in presidential politics history, and given the events of the last eight years that's saying a lot.
Consider: John McCain picked Sarah Palin in a desperate bid to win the half news cycle two days before the start of his own party's convention. This is nothing more than a publicity stunt—except now the former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, (population: 8,000, or about a third the size of my tiny suburban hometown) could be a heartbeat away from the presidency.
Really, has there ever been a more deeply unserious choice in the history of the vice-presidency? It's not as if they haven't shown it before, but these people just don't believe in governance, at all. It's lunatic. It's stunning. I am stunned.
I even, amazingly, find myself in agreement with Pat Buchanan:
Biggest political gamble I believe just about in American political history...that is not hyberbole. I can think of no choice of VP that approaches this.Yes. But I think it's a bad bet, the sort you make when you're down $10,000 and trying to break even. The election isn't this Tuesday, it's 67 days away—even under the best of circumstances, with the best possible performance from Palin, I don't see the choice being a net positive for McCain after two months of scrutiny. No way.
Hell, I'm not sure this will still look like a good idea on Monday.
Matt Yglesias is having fun with facts about Alaska, but it's Kevin Drum who better speaks my shock over this:
Look, call me a partisan hack. Whatever. But I'm just stunned by the cynicism of the whole thing. I'm sure Palin is a fine person, loving mother, devoted wife, learning her way as governor, and so forth. But a heartbeat away from the presidency? Someone with virtually no serious political experience, and no serious experience of any other kind to make up for it? She's going to shake up Washington?
I don't know how she'll do on the stump or in the debates. Maybe she'll be great. Who knows? But a potential leader of the free world? You gotta be kidding.