John McCain picks Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for VP

Where to even begin on this. Republican nominee-in-waiting Senator John McCain picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate in this more-often-than-not historical presidential election.

It was no doubt a surprise move that left many a jaw hanging and shocked even veteran politicians into dazed disbelief. Mission accomplished.

That’s exactly what John McCain intended to do. It was a smart move if he were to consider only the GOP voter base, and make no mistake, he desperately needed to show them some affection, what with the constant thorn of Ron Paul in his side and the conservative right voter eying him with undisguised suspicion.

But in a general election scenario where independents and swing voters – many of them women left ambivalent as to what they should do after Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama successfully vanquished Hillary Rodham Clinton- are the top prize, this was, for all intents and purposes, a dick move.

It is very surprising that the mainstream media did not pick up on the blatant urgency and brashness of the move. It seems to have accepted without question the notion that the McCain campaign is so apt at keeping its secrets locked up that no one caught wind of what was actually going on. That is absolute bull.

The media got it right, dead-on in fact, when it predicted that McCain would go for Mitt Romney or Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. And in my mind, there is no shred of doubt that McCain’s choice was indeed one of the two or – if he were to go very radically different – Joe Lieberman.

Then came the Democratic National Convention.

There is no question about whether or not the DNC was a success. What sent shivers down McCain’s ancient spine was the amount of unity the Demcorats actually exhibited, and how well Joe Biden performed, coupled with the rockstar persona of Obama himself. Biden brought a grace to the democratic ticket that has been unseen since Kennedy-Johnson or Roosevelt-Truman. He is one of the precious few vice presidential nominees in recent American history who could hold their own, and not be just an extension (see: yes-man) of the presidential candidate.

The other thing that scared McCain immensely was the extent to which Obama managed to reconcile with the Clinton voter base. He left men and women in tears and the younger ones with a feeling that they were witnessing history in the making, which they incidentally were. The convention as a whole was orchestrated so well that even Republicans were left speechless.

And let’s not forget the newborn juggernaut of Michelle Obama. The woman knocked socks off in her prime time address and – whether they admit it or not – left Hillary supporters feeling vindicated by the notion that she could be First Lady.

Look at all that from John McCain’s perspective. He is already battling with the “Boring-Old-Man” image in an election that is decidedly about the millions of young Americans who are reaching for the ballot for the first time. He is fighting for election as president under a brand of politics that had the misfortune of having George Walker Bush – a veritable buffoon – as president in a time when American consciousness as a whole is skyrocketing.

He generates almost as much excitement among voters as a bucket of warm spit, to quote John Garner out of context. He is blatantly anti-abortion in a time when women have taken control of their lives more than ever before. He panders to the right and centre unabashedly and supports one of the most tremendous foreign policy disasters in American history: Iraq. He is running as a maverick who – as Obama pointed out in an unusual but wise moment of negativity – voted with Bush 90 percent of the time. In short, he’s running on those too racist to vote for a black man they think is a Muslim as well – two traits that are taboo in their minds – for president, or those who are too hopelessly Republican.

That is not a position you want to be in when you are running for the most powerful office in the world. And John McCain knows that full well.

Enter Sarah Palin.

I will not hesitate for a second before betting my legs that McCain panicked. He realised that he needs to do something radically different from the norm so that people who have so far been yawning at the mention of his name  will sit up and say: “He did what?” And he achieved that much, there’s no question.

What he failed to realise in his panic that once the dust settles and people actually sit down and take stock of Sarah Palin when the shock wears off, the move is more see-through than a sieve. I will not bore you with the short career of the “Hockey Mom” here, you can visit the trillion or so news sites that are pounding on her virtually non-existent resume right now. But what I will do is to tell you with certainity that we are about to witness another Dan Quayle. Possibly even worse, if that is at all possible.

McCain thought, obviously enough, that Palin would appeal to the disgruntled Hillary supporters, but I don’t think so. At the end of the day, when they step into the polling booth, they will realise that they are Democrats, and that the Democratic candidate is Barack Obama, and they will vote for him.

This will fall apart quicker than, well, something that falls apart very fast. In short, I CANNOT wait to see how things now unfold. I need some laughs.


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