Will history remember unforgettable Sarah Palin?
William Miller is the answer.
The question is who was the last Republican candidate for vice president that everyone forgot.
Miller ran with Barry Goldwater in 1964 before the pair was trounced by Lyndon Baines Johnson. Goldwater came back from that defeat to represent Arizona in the Senate until retiring. John McCain took over the seat from Goldwater.
Now McCain has picked someone who hardly anyone will forget. Remembering 44-year-old Gov. Sarah Palin doesn't seem to be a problem today, but if she and McCain lose, she is likely to be recalled as the biggest VP mistake since the Democrats stood behind Thomas Eagleton 1,000 percent.
Palin's handlers are dribbling out tiny, controlled media shots. First ABC's affable, but no heavy puncher, Charlie Gibson queried her and showed that Palin has a Cliff's Notes grasp of national and foreign policy, with little depth.
Then the sycophantic Hannity and Colmes on Fox News served up an hour's worth of soft pitches. Next up is CBS's Katie Couric, with all the potential to turn the interview into a soliloquy of the trials of competent, professional women.
After Palin has ducked the "stand up and answer" questions from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and all the regional papers in real news conferences, the Republicans will proclaim that they will not let the mainstream media dictate this country's agenda.
They would be wise to also toss in a line about how the Democratic candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, also rarely holds news conferences or is accessible to the media.
News media aside, the addition of Palin to a plodding GOP presidential ticket has focused the energy of conservative and evangelical voters. Those voters would go to McCain, anyway, if pushed, but before Palin, there was little interest in the Republican race.
Perhaps of most concern for Republicans is when Palin and McCain appear together, because then the contrast in ages is so sharp.
Even the most fervent Republican voter will have to take a look at 72-year-old McCain, a cancer survivor and somewhat hobbled former prisoner of war, and wonder about his health. And then a much more serious weighing of Palin's merits is likely. Can Palin jump in and answer questions like, "When the Czech Republic takes over the rotating head of the European Union in January, will it support efforts to block Russia against Georgia?"
Then Palin's fresh face may fade. Picking vice presidential running mates is a lot like what the famous Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes said about the forward pass:
"Three things can happen, and two of them ain't good."