GRAPHIC: McCain and his runningmate Gov. Sarah Palin

(Updated six times below)

This is the kind of news you can hardly avoid. Sen. John McCain has chosen first-term Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate.

My take
Palin offers nothing of substance to the McCain ticket but she offers a way for McCain to appeal to female voters and disaffected Clinton supporters. In other words, this is the perfect pick for the GOP. For at least the last nine years Republicans have focused on winning elections at the expense of competent governance.

Interesting tidbits from around the web

  • Alaska is less populous than Austin, Texas.
  • Before Palin was governor, she was the mayor of a town of 9,000. For you North Carolinian’s, the town of Carrboro has a population of 16,000.
  • Palin is a creationist.
  • It turns out Palin is not Hillary Clinton.
  • The Alaska governor’s website appears to be down. I guess they weren’t ready for national traffic.
  • John McCain is 23 years older than the state of Alaska.

Definitely check out the great comment from Ian below, especially the part about insulting the intelligence of women everywhere. I can’t agree more.

Also, this tidbit of news is a little disturbing:

John McCain first met Palin in February of this year and had a telephone conversation with her. That is the full extent of his familiarity with Palin until he spent time with her last week. That’s how seriously he is taking the presidency of the United States. It’s simply unbelievable recklessness. It’s Bush-level recklessness.

Picking Palin was John McCain’s first real executive decision and as far as I’m concerned, he blew it. McCain has made a political gamble and if he wins, he’s put someone with no national record a heartbeat away from the presidency. This doesn’t shore up McCain’s maverick credentials, instead it establishes his insanity credentials. I’m having trouble saying this, but Mitt Romney would have been a far better choice.

Also, it’s galling how blatantly this is a nod to identity politics. In her speech today Palin she claims to be continuing the work of Hillary and Ferraro on behalf of women everywhere. Can you imagine the reaction if Obama had made his being black the centerpiece of his candidacy? On one level it’s great that her gender is considered an asset, but it’s another thing entirely to base the pick entirely on her gender. I can’t imagine McCain picking someone with Palin’s record or experience level had she been a man.

Update II
From Ezra Klein:

You’ve got [CNN] replaying McCain standing in front of the camera and gravely saying that his top criteria for a VP would be “finding the person most qualified to step in and assume the presidency.” Read that quote: “Most qualified.” You can argue a lot of things about Palin, but no one can suggest she’s literally the “most qualified” running mate McCain could have chose. You can’t even argue she’s in the top 25.

Update III
The McCain camp is trying to establish her credentials as an opponent of earmarks by touting her opposition to the bridge to nowhere. Great story, too bad it’s not true.

Update IV
I want to go on record as saying that I find this Palin story extremely fascinating. The Republican party is having a hell of a time defending McCain’s judgment. Check out Cindy McCain claiming that Palin has foreign policy experience because Alaska is near Russia:

You don’t even need comedians to mock this stuff.

Update V
Atrios thinks the campaign graphic at the top of this post looks like it’s from a Hollywood comedy.

Update VI
Republicans are now claiming that Palin is ready to be president because she was in charge of the Alaskan National Guard. That doesn’t pass the smell test either:

…in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, [Maj. Gen. Craig Campbell, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard] said he and Palin play no role in national defense activities, even when they involve the Alaska National Guard. The entire operation is under federal control, and the governor is not briefed on situations.


  1. Ian

    OK, so at first glance I thought, “Oh crap. The GOP has picked the perfect thing to beat Obama with those Hillary voters.” Then I have thought more about it, and now I think it was an ENORMOUS blunder on McCain’s part.

    His chief complaint about Obama has always been the experience factor. In Palin, McCain has picked someone with little experience. Now he comes off as hypocritical, even more than usual, if he criticizes Obama’s experience. Obama, on the other hand, has selected Biden to up the amount of experience on the ticket. Remember that one of the things you think about with a VP is what if the President dies and this person has to take over. Who would you rather have based on experience alone? Palin or Biden? Add to the fact that Palin is a relative unknown compared to Biden.

    Then there is the whole deal about her being a woman. The problem with this is McCain has basically insulted women everywhere. He thinks that Hillary’s supporters were only behind her because she was a woman. While I am sure there was some of that, its a little insulting to the intelligence of women in this country to think they only vote based on the candidate’s genitalia. Also, while the Democrats had a woman competing for the nomination and almost winning through the primaries, the GOP basically says women are only good enough to be second banana. They don’t even get a shot at President in that party.

    And seriously, you want to appeal to Democratic women by having a pro-life woman be VP? Come on…

  2. Ian

    The Daily Show ripped on this choice pretty well. They had Sam Bee saying she would vote for McCain because he understands that “Women don’t vote with their heads, they vote with their hoods.” And in response to the thing about Alaska being near Russia, Stewart said, “Are you f’ing kidding me?!”

  3. Chris

    Yeah, I saw that. It was in response to Steve Doocy of FOX News making the same claim on Friday that Cindy McCain made this morning.

  4. Now it looks like Palin’s teenage daughter is pregnant, and will apparently keep the baby and marry the father. Of course.

    This whole situation is so obviously ridiculous. Does anybody in the GOP think, “Sh*t, we really f*cked this one up” and now they’re just trying to massively save face? Or do they truly believe this is a great decision?

  5. Chris

    I think the hurricane muddies the water right now, but we’ll get a better idea of whether the public considers this a disaster in a week or so. Right now I’m guessing that most people still have no idea who she is.

  6. Ted

    hurricane muddies the water… nice

  7. Ian

    The Washington Post is running a report showing how Palin cut funding for programs for teenage mothers and how she and McCain have always stood for the abstinence only education. I personally think a candidates child should be off limits, but the GOP can’t use Palin’s status as a mother only when it benefits them. If kids are going to be off limits for negative judgment, they too much be so for positive. Also, I really wish the GOP and everyone else would cut the crap with commending this girl for keeping the kid. Like thats some great accomplishment. “Good job, you didn’t have an abortion!” How retarded.

  8. Chris

    Bastard children for the win? 🙂

    I honestly don’t care what her daughter does, but you’re right. It’s hilarious to see the values party praise this entire situation.