My initial reaction to McCain's VP choice: who? After reading a bit about her, I came to the conclusion that McCain is taking a massive risk in choosing Palin as a running mate. He clearly is pandering to the Party Unity My Ass (PUMA) bloc - the group of disillusioned Hillary supporters who still have not gotten over the fact that Obama won the primary. While no official numbers on PUMAs are available, I cannot imagine it is anywhere close to the number of people who supported Hillary during the primary. There are not that many ignorant people who supported her and want to throw the election simply because the person who won was not a woman named Hillary.
As I said, I think that he is taking a big risk. He is putting all of his eggs into one basket. To think that a one-time Hillary supporter who is still on the fence between McCain and Obama will lean toward McCain because he chose a staunchly conservative, pro-life woman who finds sport in killing animals is wishful thinking. It seems that one of the few things that these two women have in common is just that - their gender. If McCain ends up winning the White House, his choice of Palin will be viewed as genious. If he does not, however, end up winning, his choice will be viewed as disastrous. I'm leaning toward the second outcome.
Don't get me wrong, there is plenty that I like about Palin. I like what she has done for Alaska in terms of finances. She has trimmed a lot of the fat from the Alaskan bureaucracy. She tackled corrupt power in Juneau and only has one ethics charge against her (for a Republican these days, that's good). But her stance on the issues is from the 1950s and earlier. She is anti-gay marriage (and from what I can discern anti-gay civil unions), staunchly pro-life, and believes that creationism should be taught alongside evolution. Find me a true Hillary supporter who finds these stances attractive, not a person who simply supported Hillary because she was a woman and could have cared less about where she stood on the issues. While Palin may interest traditional Republicans (old-school Goldwater Republicans, not these bullshit Neo-Cons), she is hardly palatable for the average Democrat. She may boost McCain's numbers a point or two, but in my opinion it's not going to be enough to beat Obama come November. Peace.
Photos - McCain and Palin (www.latimes.com), McCain and Palin again (blogs.wsj.com)