October 12, 2008

The Alaskan Albatross: the Unenviable Position of John McCain

In a lot of ways, you have to feel kind of sorry for John McCain. His VP pick, Sarah Palin, certainly hasn’t lived up to any sort of expectations he may have had, and it seems to be more and more clear she was picked for two incredibly cynical reasons:

1.) she’s female and the thought seems to have been “Hey, she’s a girl, and so all of the pissed off Hillary fans will vote for McCain based on her gender,” 2.) she makes Rush Limbaugh look liberal, and so the ultra-right wingers will vote for McCain based on that.  Then along come the interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and Katie Couric, followed by an increasing number of conservatives and Republicans jumping ship.  This week’s Palin adventure was the release of the report in which the findings concluded that Palin abused her power as governor in the whole “Troopergate” dustup.  You know things can’t be good when the son of the quintessential conservative, William F. Buckley, even endorses Obama.  So what are McCain’s options?  He can’t dump Palin.  It’s enough that his involvement in the Keating Five issue has come back to haunt him (and rightfully so), demonstrating that his judgment isn’t always sound, but if he dumps Palin, he risks being accused of exercising poor judgment in picking her in the first place.  On the other hand, if he keeps her, his judgment can be called into question by choosing as his running mate someone that has been found guilty of ethics lapses while in office, which again can remind voters of his own ethics lapses, and indicating that perhaps his own ethics aren’t so strong after all.  It does make one wonder how carefully Palin was vetted before she was chosen, and who was responsible for suggesting her in the first place.  Every argument McCain had against Obama was rendered moot by putting her on the ticket, ranging from her own age and lack of experience, to her husband’s involvement in the Alaska Independence Party and her own address of that group’s convention.  Yet, I don’t feel too badly for Mr. McCain, as honorable a man he may be (and the defense of his opponent at his own rallies is a clear demonstration of this), after all, he did create this situation, and now it’s up to him to find his way out of it.

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