So now it’s official, Senator John McCain has picked Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate. How did it happen and why?
If you will re-read my post of March 5, 2008, you will see how clear the process really was. The choice is much more limited than it may have at first appeared.
If he picked Mike Huckabee he risked seeing some Mormons in the Mountain States sitting at home on Election Day. Many of them are still simmering over Huckabee’s heavy handed political style during the early primaries. And those Mountain States, though small in electoral votes, are needed, every one of them, in any Republican electoral victory map.
On the other hand, if he picked Mitt Romney, as Washington insiders expected, he would have seen some Evangelicals in the South quietly sitting at home on Election Day. That was the lesson learned from Iowa and the primaries. In a close race it could have impacted some of the border states.
If he picked another white male who didn’t actually get in the primary races, say Florida Governor Charlie Crist or Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour or South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford or Minnesota Governor, Tim Pawlenty, he risked disgusting both Mormons and Evangelicals besides reducing his ticket to the level of hopelessly boring in a year when American’s are crying out for change. Facing Barack Obama, an African American, McCain would have looked terribly old fashioned and traditional with another white male on the ticket.
Colin Powell would have worked. But he wouldn’t take it and good thing, he has never really been forgiven for dissing Evangelicals in a nationally televised Barbara Walter interview after the first Gulf War. It made him the darling of the media but it ruined his chances to win the Republican nomination and anyway, McCain already dissed the Evangelicals himself in 2000 when he called their leaders “agents of intolerance.” So the media should already be sufficiently sated and the Evangelicals would be hard pressed to be enthusiastic about a ticket that boasted two of their detractors.
Condoleezza Rice would have been perfect, a woman and a Black, who also happened to be a born again Christian, except for the fact that she is joined at the hip to George W. Bush whose approval ratings are now in a virtual dead heat with Rosie O’Donnell’s.
Which leaves us with a woman. Yes, that’s it folks. There is no other choice. I thought it would be Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas. But I didn’t know about Sarah Palin. True, McCain is risking the fact that she has not been publicy vetted. But he has been rolling the dice throughout this whole campaign and look where it has gotten him? He is still in the race when all others counted him out.
This decision has clearly stolen the limelight form the Democratic coronation, which was practically an infomercial for the Republicans. Now, the media will gush over the fact that no matter who wins history will be made.
Yep, that’s it, folks. That’s what it had to be. Read my blog from March 5th. And just change the name from Hutchinson to Palin, and you will see why it had to be.