McCain’s choice fails American people
It pains me to write this.
I have always liked John McCain. He is just two years older than I, and we share the background of Navy service. His was much more heroic than mine. Mostly I’ve respected his willingness to take outsider positions because he thought they were right. In 2000, staunch Democrat that I am, I thought of voting for him. When he clinched the nomination this spring, I was pleased to think that whichever candidate we elected we would have a strong man in the White House.
Unfortunately these positive perceptions are receding in the rearview mirror. Sen. McCain now wants to be president so bad he will do whatever his handlers tell him is necessary.
Just before their respective conventions, both presidential candidates named their vice presidential picks. Barack Obama chose Sen. Biden of Delaware, a seasoned, thoughtful and respected head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Biden has some political positives for the Democratic Party. He’s Catholic and from a working class background. More importantly for the country, he will be ready from day one of a new administration to take over as our national leader should tragedy strike.
Sen. McCain, in what folks often describe as the candidate’s first presidential decision, chose Sarah Palin, who describes herself as a pit bull with lipstick. Thus far, her only roles have been standing beside the senator or throwing buckets of red meat to rabid Republicans.
Earlier this year, McCain said he understood that given his age he had to pick a vice president strong enough and competent enough to take over the most difficult job in the world at any moment. Unfortunately, his vice presidential choice demonstrates that when his ambition is on the line, he seeks to protect his chance to be president rather than protect the nation he once so staunchly defended.
No one, including the Republican strategists who thought her up, believes Palin is in anyway ready to be president. Unfortunately, that does not matter to them. They have a belief they can get the American public to swallow just about anything. Didn’t it buy ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in Iraq as reason for war?
Palin simply lacks the kind of background to be seriously considered. Prior to being picked, she seems to have rarely left home, listing Canada as one of her big foreign trips. She apparently was the competent mayor of a small town and is now the popular and somewhat controversial governor of the state with most land and fewest people. Her political career has been helped by the fact that Alaskan oil reserves mean the state has money coming out of its ears.
When the presidential primary season was upon us and Obama, Biden and McCain were out there being banged on by the press, the voters and other candidates, she was nowhere to be seen. If McCain had picked any one of these thoroughly vetted Republican candidates ‘ Guiliani, Huckabee, Thompson, Romney, for example ‘ I would not have voted for the ticket but I would not have felt McCain put his election ahead of his country’s good.
Vice President Cheney, a man whom I do not like but know to be a political heavy weight, is now on a diplomatic tour to Georgia, the Ukraine and Italy seeking to deal with Russian military and political moves in the Caucasus. I cannot imagine this kind of effort would be a good fit for the pit bull with lipstick. Nor do I see her having a role reaching cross the aisle to form common cause with Democrats.
As of this writing, Palin’s handlers have not deemed her ready for the rough and tumble of a press conference. I know many people don’t like the press, and I freely admit they can be a tank of barracudas but they represent the public’s right to know how we are governed. Without the press asking tough questions, we could be a monarchy where everyone shows due deference to the king or queen.
In the end, I am left with the uncomfortable knowledge that Palin is ill equipped for the terribly difficult job she is so vigorously seeking. More troubling is the fact that, in this instance, McCain has failed the American people.