McCain throws dice in naming Palin as VP
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain has chosen Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate.
John McCain made history Friday when he became the first presumptive Republican presidential nominee to pick a woman as his running mate. McCain's act of desperation in choosing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was clearly intended to draw votes from disaffected supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton.
That result is questionable. In 1984, Walter Mondale was the first Democratic presidential nominee to choose a woman, then-Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, for No. 2. Ronald Reagan and George Bush won the women's vote by 12 percent in that election.
Palin, the mother of five, calls herself a "hockey mom." She was a star basketball player in high school and a beauty pageant queen. She was a city councilwoman, then a part-time mayor of a town of 8,500. Palin has been governor of Alaska for less than two years.
Her contrast with Sen. Joe Biden, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, is enormous. Biden has been highly regarded during his 35 years representing Delaware in the Senate, having served as chairman of the Judiciary committee and now chairing the Foreign Relations Committee. His seasoning to be commander in chief on short notice is unquestionable.
However, Democrats would be mistaken to underestimate Palin. McCain had met her only twice and has disagreed with her support of drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. She is a strong opponent of abortion rights - without exception -and her selection is celebrated by the GOP's evangelical wing.
Palin was a whistle-blower who helped uncover misconduct in the administration of Gov. Frank Murkowski and later defeated him in the Republican primary, but her qualifications to be vice president are suspect.
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