Still reeling from the spectacle that became the Democratic National Convention, culminating in Barack Obama's momentous speech, John McCain announced his running mate today. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will be the second name on the Republican ticket in November, ending months of eager speculation surrounding the VP choice. This choice comes as a surprise to many as McCain passed up more well known candidates like Mitt Romney for the female from the north.
Various news outlets explain the hits and misses of this decision. In one sense, she's perfect. As a woman, she may be able to draw in some of the former Clinton supporters still reluctant to support the now official democratic nominee. And she fits right in with the traditional Republican views on key social issues, such as her opposition to both abortion rights and gay marriage. Another huge draw is her support for offshore drilling. Voters don't have to be concerned that she's an Alaskan preoccupied with preserving nature's integrity either. She recently signed a bill allowing the construction of a 1,715 mile pipeline, to be built by TransCanada Alaska.
The main flaw in this choice is the same criticism Republicans have been throwing at Obama this whole time: inexperience. Palin, 44, is three years younger than Obama, has not served in Congress and, as the former mayor of a town of just 9,000, has minimal foreign policy experience. But she would only be the vice president you say? With respect to experience, McCain's the one that really matters? Ah, but I think we may be forgetting that, in the event that, for whatever reason, McCain were to be incapable of serving, Palin would be next up to bat. And considering his age, something voters have been bothered by from the start, do voters want to take the chance of replacing the war veteran and highly experienced nominee with a rookie? Not to say that this would be a complete deterrent but it is certainly something to consider. The choice also screams of strategy in its use of a woman to draw out the more undecided or centrist voters and, potentially, some democrats too.
So, is this going to be a big enough boost for McCain to win in November? Let's face it, I'm no psychic. We'll just have to wait and see.
For more on this story visit the New York Times, CNN, the LA Times, Politico and MSNBC.