I flew back to sea level today after learning the big news, and spent much of my journey home pondering it and discussing it with people in airports and on planes. My initial reaction, which I still hold, was, "well, that should ensure that Obama wins 40 states."
It's a Hail Mary pass, and although I thought that he probably needs one, I didn't believe he would make one; I thought he would make a safe pick and keep hammering away and hope for the best.
I have plenty of thoughts about the political ramifications, and what Obama should do, and what to watch for, and those sorts of things that I normally analyze. But at this hour I feel the need to express not the political analysis, but my increasing personal outrage over this announcement.
This selection, so obviously political, so obviously insulting and condescending to women (I can make the right-wingers happy, and win swing votes because broads will vote for a dame!), is ultimately a flat-out statement that John McCain doesn't give a rat's ass about this country.
Nobody can say with a straight face that John McCain thinks that Sarah Palin is capable and prepared to be President. I don't just mean that the political reasons were more important to him than the readiness factor; I mean that he cannot possibly think that she is at all capable and qualified.
Let me put this simply: John McCain has put his political ambition above the good of the country.
The observation, made by many today, that this pick makes it harder for McCain to attack Obama's lack of "experience," is correct but far too generous. Comparisons of Palin's experience and qualifications to Obama's are a gross insult.
Barack Obama is a Harvard Law graduate who spent years in successful non-profit service, spent seven years representing much of the nation's third-largest city in the upper legislative house of one of the state's most populous states, and has then represented that state as US Senator.
Comparisons to Dan Quayle are also way off: Quayle had a long and impressive political resume when Bush the Elder picked him.
Palin? Up until a couple of years ago, her resume featured a BA in journalism, some commercial fishing, a little TV sportscasting, and a little local political success in a town roughly the size of Boxborough.
It is an outrage that John McCain would place this person next in line to be President.
Whether that matters politically remains to be seen; Obama and other Democrats probably need to step gingerly on making this point, for fear of looking sexist -- particularly coming on the heels of the whole Hillary thing.
Fortunately, my guess is that if the Democrats just keep their mouths shut, lifelong misogynist John McCain will end up demeaning her himself -- perhaps he can suggest that she enter the Miss Buffalo Chip pageant?