John McCain chose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential pick. What you need to know about her is that she is a woman. She has been governor for less than two years. Prior to that she was mayor of a town in Alaska of less than 10,000 people.
A candidate who is running on his experience picks a woman with no foreign policy experience and no national political experience to become the Vice President of the United States. He picks a woman who is currently under investigation in Alaska for abuse of power. He picks a woman who he had only met once prior to this month.
Something doesn’t fit.
It is improbable that the McCain campaign actually believes that putting a very right-wing woman who practically no one outside Alaska had heard of on the ticket will actually win them enough independent and Democratic women’s votes to put them over the top. This is a pick designed to lose an election.
The first big presidential decision any candidate makes is choosing his running mate. It is a test of the candidate’s judgment. In this case, McCain appears to have chosen his running mate on a whim. He picked someone he had only met once, could not possibly have known much about, and who until late last month herself showed a curious lack of knowledge about the office she now seeks. Something was dangerously lacking in the vetting process. It reveals more about McCain’s lack of interest than about his judgment. It seems to me that McCain didn’t care much about who he picked, how much he knew about her, and what the impact would be of putting such a person a heartbeat away from the presidency of the United States.
With this vice presidential pick – more so with how the pick was made rather than who was picked – John McCain has displayed a dangerous lack of interest in the business of governing. A disinterested president is a president who does not get the opportunity to exercise his judgment. A disinterested president presides over a presidency of neglect. This neglect manifests itself in moments of crises such as Hurricane Katrina. We cannot afford another presidency of neglect.
The big story today is about the inexperience of Sarah Palin. I believe the more important story – the one that the American people must come to grips with between now and November – is John McCain’s lack of interest in the heavy lifting of the presidency, and the risks inherent in such neglect.