I wrote this for the Huffington Post. I'll let you know when it appears there, in the meantime, check it out here:
It seems as though John McCain has once again followed in George W. Bush's footsteps, this time with a gaffe that will go down in history as one of the biggest election blunders our generation has seen.
As you all probably remember, in 2005, George W. Bush nominated his White House Counsel, Harriet Miers to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court despite the fact that she had no judicial experience whatsoever and seemed completely wrong for the part in every other way but her gender. After both sides of the aisle finished scratching their heads, outcry turned to panic and Miers was forced to withdraw the nomination.
On his 72nd birthday, John McCain announced Sarah Palin for his running mate in a half-assed attempt to put a female on the ballot to fill the void left by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Despite the fact that she has no federal experience whatsoever and seems completely wrong for the part in every other way but her gender. Add to that her scandal at home which has her under investigation for the abuse of Gubernatorial power of which she's only held for 18 months and you've got everyone on both sides of the aisle really scratching their heads. I imagine outcry will soon turn to panic and Palin might have to consider withdrawing her nomination, leaving McCain to choose a new running mate halfway through the race.
I think that McCain is going to have a much harder time with Palin than Bush did with Miers, though. Most people I talk to don't even remember who Miers is (granted, three years from now, I doubt anyone will remember the name Sarah Palin, too), but Bush didn't have anywhere near as much at stake as McCain does. In 2005, Bush still had three years left of his second term and his approval ratings had been circling the drain for years. He really didn't have much to lose by screwing up with nominating Miers.
McCain has everything to lose by choosing Palin.
I've been one of those scratching my head as well, trying to figure out what McCain is doing. I'm sure everyone reading this has read over and over again that this kills his experience argument with Obama. Palin stands against everything Clinton stood for as far as women's rights are concerned, so she won't fill in that vote. She'll be torn to shreds by Joe Biden on the foreign policy front. Any talk of family values will be negated by the fact that she's willing to leave home and become Vice-President with a 5-month old Down Syndrome baby to be cared for. With her abuse-of-power investigation in full swing, it'll be hard to convince voters that she's part of the change both candidates agree that Washington needs.
The best I can come up with is that McCain is hoping that some horrible tragedy will befall her, enabling him to pick Joe Lieberman as his running-mate. Maybe he's pulling a fast one on everyone and she'll get to the convention and not accept the nomination. Maybe Lieberman, Pawlenty and Romney still have a shot.
I know it's a terrible thing to say, but maybe McCain really has picked her in hopes that something happens to her, something to make her unable to continue the race. At that point, maybe he's thinking that he might be able to swing into office on a sympathy vote.
But even that's a stretch.
Perhaps, as the days go by, we'll figure out if there's rhyme and reason to picking Sarah Palin or if McCain simply set up a dart board with pictures of all of the office-holding Republican women and let loose with a dart, blind-folded.