John McCain has announced the stunning choice of Sarah Palin for Vice President.
It’s stunning not only because she’s gorgeous. It’s stunning because it shows that John McCain isn’t quite as predictable and stuck in an old-white-guy rut as the opposition might want to paint him.
It’s hard to imagine George Bush, for example, making the same choice if he were in the same position. It supports McCain’s “maverick” status, his ability to think outside the box. This choice conveys a certain youthfulness of spirit/mind in McCain in addition to Palin’s actual youth, whereas Obama’s choice of Biden telegraphs a desire to play it safe and was a (dare I say it?) conservative pick (with a small “c”).
Palin is not the safe pick for McCain, because she’s open to (valid, I believe) criticism that she hardly has more experience than Obama. However, it’s also true that her experience in government is at least executive and managerial experience, which none of the other candidates have (Biden, for example, has been a Senator most of his adult life).
One oddity is that this is the race in which Alaska and Hawaii came of age. There’s never been a candidate—or even a serious contender—from either state. But now there’s one from each.
Neither VP pick had the conventional advantage of balancing the ticket in terms of geography. Delaware was already firmly in the Democratic camp, and Alaska was already leaning red. The balance involved is of a different sort: age/youth, experience/novice. The good news for the Republicans is that their slate has the person with the experience in the proper position: running for President.
Plus—although this is hardly important—it proves the McCain camp can keep a secret an awful lot better than Obama’s can.