As the Washington Post reports that McCain’s chief of vetting only interviewed Sarah Palin the day before she was tapped as vice president, I wonder whether McCain’s maverick nature has bit him too hard. The disadvantage to being a maverick is you forge your own path – the one that others haven’t seen, or if they’ve seen it, have viewed it as too hard, too dangerous, or just unwise. I happen to view this choice as just plain unwise, as spur of the moment, as foolhardy. I’m female, I’m Christian, I’m what some would argue as middle class (hey, we make less than $5 mil a year, anyway), and I was an undecided voter. Until he picked Palin, that is. He had multiple women on his advisory team who would have made better picks (Whitman being my preference over Fiorino). There are multiple women senators, other women governors, current women Cabinet officers: any of which I’d have looked at more seriously than Palin. A relatively rookie governor from Alaska, which could hardly be described as a state wrestling with most of the same issues as others, whose previous experience was as a mayor of a 9000 person town. My university has a bigger population than her town did, and as much as I respected Dr. Hrabowski as a leader, my veep choice he wouldn’t be.
McCain’s choice demonstrates his inability to do several things: listen to his vetting team, select people appropriate to accomplish his vision, and convince the rest of us of his choice. All of those I see as key markers of him, not just of her. I’ve seen various comments that suggest the Dems put their inexperienced candidate at the top of the ticket, and the Republicans at the bottom. But what I’m seeing indicates that the Dems seem to have made a wiser pick for veep, which makes me much comfortable with their TOP of the ticket than does the Republican pick.
And by the way, for those in the Christian right who are applauding their issues coming front and center: when the candidate is only there to front those issues, and not any others that the American people cares about, it just yet again separates Christians from the concerns of the rest of America. I agree that (some of the) Christian right concerns deserve far more discussion and focus; I just don’t think they are the exclusive issues for the American populace, and I’m concerned to see Christians cast yet again as way outside of the fray. We are called to do God’s work in the world. That only works if we’re involved IN the world, as was Paul and the apostles, not trying to stand completely outside of it.
I don’t see McCain recovering from this, in my personal selection process. I had been undecided: both candidates had their plusses and minuses. But now I see myself needing to vote against McCain, against what I see as a pandering selection, trying to please both women and the conservative Christian right with one candidate who covers all the check boxes. Except for the ones that would cause me to see her as viable to fill the role of Vice President, to have some ability to step into the highest office in the land should that become necessary. And that is a horrible mark against the man who would like me to check his name in the ballot in November.