Until recently I was fairly ambivalent over which Presidential candidate I was going to vote for. Both candidates have their strengths and weaknesses and neither have all the answers for the problems currently facing our country. McCain appears stronger on foreign policy and defense whereas Obama has advantages when it comes to the domestic side. But my decision to support Obama was made when McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, and here’s why: Palin is a political choice, and an obvious one at that. Of course, all VP selections are ultimately political choices designed to win over different demographics that the Presidential Candidate cannot win by themselves, but at least in most cases, the selection is someone who one could reasonably envision as being able to take over should something happen to the President. This is not the case with Palin.
At first I was hesitant to automatically discard Palin, despite the obviousness of her selection, thinking there was no way McCain would pick someone who knows nothing about the economy, Iraq, Iran, Islam, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Russia (aside from its geography), but after having heard her interviews, it is clear that McCain’s choice was not just a political choice, but a bad one at that. Yet McCain still has the audacity to claim that Palin represents a dramatic change to Presidential politics? She is serving the exact same role that every VP candidate in history has ever done, she just happens to be doing it in high heels.
Despite what McCain says about Palin being a maverick like himself, one who will shake things up and Palin’s emphatic claim that she is ready to serve, her selection is completely and unbelievably transparent. Does anyone actually believe that Palin would be in this race if not for the prospect of her being able to win over disenfranchised Hillary supporters? Of course not, because that is why she was selected, after all, why else would McCain have picked her? Seriously, identify one other thing Palin brings to the table other than the possibility of winning over disgruntled democrats. Accepting for the moment that a female republican VP can win over Hillary supporters, are you telling me that the Republican party has no one else who is both a woman and competent in the matters of national security and the global economy? If so, that is a sad statement about the GOP, but that is a discussion to be had another time.
So, shame on McCain for selecting a VP pick whose only job is to rally the republican base and win over independents and disenfranchised democrats, but who is completely and utterly unprepared to take over should something happen to the oldest man to ever run for President during a time when our nation is involved in two wars. How can a man who is running on the idea that he is better prepared to defend and safeguard this country choose a running mate who is completely unprepared to take over? As a former military officer, I want my 2nd in command to be able to take over the instant I go down, not someone who knows nothing about the mission we are involved in or how to complete it. One would think that as a celebrated war hero and descendant of a long line of Admirals, McCain would understand the importance of an unbroken chain of command. Sadly, I think McCain does understand this concept, far better than I ever could, yet he is choosing to ignore its time tested wisdom and instead base his decision solely on political scheming, which is exactly why I’ve given up on McCain.