Why I'm excited for the first time in over a year
I was never very excited about any of the Republicans running in the primary. Usually a party's strongest pick is a popular and talented governor, but in the Republican's case, that best describes a man named Bush, so that wasn't going to happen. I figured I'd vote for Giuliani, since I thought he would be good on national security, but by the time the primary rolled around to Ohio, I was left with McCain and Huckabee. Going with security as my most important issue, I unenthusiastically hit the swanky touch screen next to McCain's name.
This November, I will be doing the same, but this time with a smile on my face in hopes that McCain wins, rather than with a grimace praying Obama loses. Why? Sarah Palin.
Is she a perfect pick for McCain's Number 2? No, but McCain didn't have any perfect options. He could have gone with a deadly dull white man who has a good resume but produces the excitement of a ham sandwich without mayo. But let's be honest幼ould the oldest white man to ever run for President really do that against the first black Presidential nominee for a major party? So that left McCain to choose an exciting running mate with a thinner resume. Actually, the Republicans do have qualified women and minorities with experience, but they all have their own problems. For instance, Kay Bailey Hutchison is as boring as the old, white men; Christine Todd Whitman is further left than McCain who already has problems with his base; and J.C. Watts (*swoons*) doesn't seem interested in holding office again. Anyhow, that meant McCain had to pick from the list of exciting people with little experience. Frankly, I would have gone with Bobby Jindal, but McCain decided to go with Sarah Palin, and that's a darn good pick.
A Vice Presidential running mate is supposed to do a few things and Sarah Palin has already done some of these things and shows potential for doing the others.
1. Voters ought to believe the person is ready to be President should, God forbid, the worst happen. Admittedly, this is Palin's weakest spot, but is she really any less qualified than the person who will be President if the Democrats win?
2. A Vice Presidential choice has to do well in the debate. Now, I've never seen Palin debate, but I can say that if Joe Biden gets snarky and condescending with a mother of five, it's not going to play well. Also, people expect Biden to be a good debater, so anything less than stellar from him will likely be seen as a loss. Since almost no one has seen Palin, she would have to be terrible to not at least get the "exceeded expectations" prize.
3. The underside of a ticket needs to perform well on the stump. In her unveiling, she did great耀he was straightforward, plainspoken, excited, and exciting.
4. And that leads to the last thing a good running mate ought to do庸ire up the base. McCain's biggest problem before this decision was an apathetic base, which might not even vote for him. With Sarah Palin, now people want to give him money if the feedback at Nation Review Online is anything to go by. Palin is Pro-Life not just in theory but in practice. Even as a Pro-Choicer, I have to admire a woman who says, "I'm over 40, with four kids, and now I'm pregnant with a Downs Syndrome baby, but I'd never think about not having it." You might disagree with her "talk," but having a politician who walks the walk is a refreshing change. Also appealing to the right is her lifetime membership in the NRA, which is again about how she lives her life and not political expediency. She's pro-tax cuts and drilling in ANWR, while being anti-pork. (You know who killed The Bridge to Nowhere? Palin.) And that "culture of corruption" Democrats love talking about is going to lose its sting against a woman famous for fighting corruption in her own party.
So, is Sarah Palin a perfect pick? No. But for the first time I'm actually asking myself if I can squeeze in some time to volunteer for the campaign or maybe write a check. I guess that means Palin is a pretty good choice.