Last week John McCain nominated Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential choice, and lots of people are quite perplexed about why he did so. On one hand she seems to appeal to the Republican base – she seems to be very definite on issues like gun control (or lack thereof), abortion (or complete ban thereof), a son about to serve in Iraq (although the same is true of the son of Democratic VP nominee Joe Biden) and general evangelicalness (she supported Pat Buchanan in 1996, although that won’t help their campaign with Jewish voters).
However, she’s very inexperienced – less than two years of a geographically enormous state with a population of only 600,000, and that after a few years as mayor of a town of 7,000 people. She doesn’t seem to have much recorded opinion on international affairs (although a Fox News pundit and now Cindy McCain says that with Alaska being right next to Russia she does have some exposure to international matters – as the Daily Show retorted, Alaska is near the North Pole so she must also know Santa) and there seem to be some questions around the firing of some of her senior officials. It’s worth reading this short article from Newsweek on her biography for details.
But the biggest thing is that it just seems like such an odd choice. There are so many other good potential candidates, and pulling a barely-tested, barely-vetted running mate who by all accounts McCain had only met once or twice in person just seems like such a strange thing to do. Perhaps he thinks that it will win him the election by appealing to women voters, but it seems just, frankly, flippant.