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COMMENTARY: Why John McCain Will Select Sarah Palin As Running Mate
Palin completey changes the complexion of the election, and helps establish a narrative of two mavericks, one too old and one too young, waging an underdog quest against Battlestar Barack.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a 44-year-old with five children, a captivating TV-mom look and a brief and but weighty background as a reformer governor, could vault from relative national obscurity to star in a game-turning role as John McCain’s running mate.
In fact, of all the candidates under consideration to ride shotgun with the Arizona senator, Palin brings the most to McCain. The Republican Alaska governor should be his choice.
Millions of Americans fell in love with Barack Obama’s biography. They’ll go for Palin’s too — and perhaps relate more to it. She hunts and fishes, and in Iowa, where girls basketball is a major cultural force, the fact that this governor led her high school team as point guard to an Alaska state title as “Sarah Barracuda” will resonate. She appears to pull off the Clair Huxtable balancing act: being strong and feminine at the same time.
The Almanac of National Politics speaks of her thusly: “An avid hunter and fisher with a killer smile who wears designer glasses and heels, and hair like modern sculpture.”
Her oldest son, Track, is in the military (having enlisted in the Army on Sept. 11, 2007), and she opted to continue with a pregnancy of her fifth child, born recently with Down syndrome. She is not only pro-life, but she has a son to prove it.
With his strengths being experience in Washington — as measured by tenure in the Senate — and foreign policy, McCain, 72 in August, can afford to go with a true balancer, someone much younger with a strong suit in domestic issues. And a woman.
Elected in 2006, Palin admittedly has had a short run as governor of a state most of us associate with exotic cruises and a oil-drilling debate no one really understands but on which everyone has an opinion.
She has astronomical approval ratings in Alaska and is getting a good deal of press for going after corruption and focusing on fiscal responsibility. The Politico reports that as governor she has shown a willingness to veto some of the state’s large capital projects.
While some Republicans may worry that Palin would get knocked around in a vice presidential debate by, say, U.S. Joe Biden, D-Del., it could actually work to the ticket’s advantage in the same way Hillary’s tears did in New Hampshire, not that Sarah would be crying over a botched point on North Korea. The Democrats would have to be careful about bullying her, and she would be a vessel for Hillaryites, bulging with estrogen, looking for a reason to bolt the party. What’s more, suburban women, a key swing block now seemingly more fit for Obama, could actually be pulled by Palin, one of their own in a very real sense.
And the press — with spectacularly little knowledge of Alaska and life there — would seize on her family background. Her husband, Todd, is a four-time winner of the Iron Dog, the world’s longest snow machine race. The McCain camp will get weeks of biography stories on Palin, and she will puncture the stodgy stereotype of the party. She’ll also play well in rural America where McCain, with provocative comments and a farm-unfriendly voting history, will face more challenges than he now expects.
Think about this way: Imagine the reaction to the selection of Mitt Romney as a vice presidential candidate. What does that get MccCain? Maybe Michigan, but likely not. A known white male governor like Tim Pawlenty from Minnesota is about as inspiring as a Wednesday — and with Obama’s lead there, he may not even pull that state.
Palin completely changes the complexion of the election and helps establish a narrative of two mavericks, one too old and one too young, waging an underdog quest against Battlestar Barack.