Let's give McCain the benefit of the doubt, and assume he's a healthy 72-year-old. The stress of the job would be enough to do him in. Of course, if he knows there is something [medically] wrong with him now (say, another bout with cancer), he just needs to keep that hushed up as long as possible. Regardless, if you endorse the McCain ticket, understand that no matter how you feel about him, you're still asking for his running mate to take the reins. Whether the 25th Amendment or the 20th will come into play is anybody's guess at the moment. (Or he could simply step down "for personal reasons.")
The beauty queen turned queen bee isn't viable on her own; she needs an expendable drone: John McCain. Once he's outlived his usefulness, he'll receive one-way passage on the River Styx, and she'll get to lead the colony. Is America ready for Sarah Palin?
The 2005 television series Commander in Chief told the story of an "independent" female vice president who succeeded a Republican president, subsequent to his death. Besides a husband in a lesser line of work, she had several children, including two older teenagers. The boy tried not to be an embarrassment, but the girl was rebellious, and (not to spoil anything if you haven't seen the series) managed to get into, um, mischief. Sound familiar?
This wasn't the first time Hollywood presented us with a vision of a powerful woman "shattering the glass ceiling" in Washington. First Monday in October was rushed into theaters a few weeks after Reagan appointed Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court in 1981.
Why Palin? McCain is a shrewd politician, but (1) he doesn't call [all] the shots and (2) he has to pay back his [financial] supporters. He owes the evangelicals big-time. Sarah Palin is unquestionably the Christian Right candidate. She belongs to a fundamentalist church, as well as the vehemently anti-abortion organization Feminists for Life, whose most prominent public face (until now) had been actress Patricia Heaton. Palin is also a lifetime member of the NRA.
Palin described herself as a "typical hockey mom" ... who just happens to have a formal education in communications-journalism and political science, was a highly competitive champion athlete, worked as a television sportscaster [under her maiden name, Sarah Heath], and placed second in the Miss Alaska pageant. She knows how to look good on camera, work a crowd, and manipulate the media. Today, she's a politician first.
Some have suggested McCain picked Palin to appeal to female voters disappointed by Hillary Clinton's failure to obtain her party's nomination. Are there really people out there who would vote for a candidate solely because she's a woman? Sadly, the answer to that appears to be yes. Actress Roseanne Barr's endorsement is featured on a campaign web site [www.votetruth08.com] for Democrat-turned-Green Cynthia McKinney, giving no other reason than "I will vote for a woman instead of a man any day." (Although I seriously doubt Roseanne would have backed Palin, given their diametrically opposed positions on reproductive rights.)
(I also believe there are some Republicans who feel sufficiently threatened by the very real possibility of a female president to actively set Palin up for failure, in order to "prove" that a woman isn't viable. Plus, this strategy might help "vaccinate" undecideds against Hillary Clinton should she decide to run again.)
Why turn to abortion as a wedge issue? I think it's largely because they can't get enough traction by opposing gay rights, and Palin's kids can be exploited in an attempt to shift focus away from the economy long enough to coast through the election. Also, it serves as a "lightning rod" to deflect attention away from the race factor.
When the Republicans ask if Obama is ready to lead America, the subtext there is that America is not [yet] ready for Obama. This has nothing whatsoever to do with whether he has enough "experience" to hold office, but whether someone like him belongs in the White House. Much of the Christian Right "base" that hijacked the Republican party in the 1970s-1980s started out as Southern Democrats, unhappy with their party's role in the Civil Rights Movement. To them, Barack Obama is an abomination, a product of miscegenation.
Palin hails from Idaho, whose 0.5% "Black or African-American" population ranks 50th in the nation. [2006 data] (Alaska comes in at 3.5%; for the U.S. as a whole, 12.4%.)
And this leads us to the biggest problem with Palin: she's an outsider. Not just a Washington outsider, but a real outsider, as in outside the continental U.S. When the Republicans accuse Obama of lacking foreign policy experience, you really have to wonder whether Palin is qualified to deal with domestic issues. After all, she's spent pretty much her entire time in Alaska, the least densely populated state. The largest city she ever lived in was Honolulu, during her one semester at Hawaii Pacific College. After that, she transferred to North Idaho College in tiny Coeur d'Alene, before receiving her degree from the University of Idaho.
It's difficult to relate to the 83% of Americans who live in major metropolitan areas when your entire life has been spent in relative isolation. It's hard to understand how the weak the U.S. economy really is when you reside in the state with the fourth-highest median household income (despite a whopping 6.9% unemployment rate), the lowest individual tax burden, and every resident (regardless of income) gets paid to live there. She isn't going to grasp inner-city gun violence, nor why it's a bad idea to force poor, single women to carry unadoptable "special needs" babies to term. (Don't we have enough Marching Morons already?)
Finally, there is the possibility Palin is McCain's "trojan horse," and part of a plan to settle a score from his unsuccessful 2000 campaign. Much as I'd like to see the national Republican party get some sort of comeuppance, I shudder at the thought of how she might pack the Supreme Court.