Let me go on record as saying I was completely wrong in who I thought John McCain was going to pick. I was hopeful for Mike Huckabee but thought it would be Mitt Romney, I know people were talking about the governor of Minnesota or of Florida but I did not think that was the way he was going to go.
As I looked at the choices I really did not see how any of them, even my beloved Huckabee would really help McCain. Here is what I felt John needed to do to be elected President:
First, he had to have a pick that would excite the base of the Republican Party. While I may not agree with their lack of enthusiasm, it is a fact. The Rush Limbaugh’s and other conservative talking heads were not excited about that pick, it was possible that they may not go out and vote.
Obama has his base excited, he needed a pick that gave experience, McCain has the experience, he needed a pick that give the excitement.
Second, John McCain needed a pick that would have some pull for the “Angry Hillary Voters”. There are a lot of strange reasons why people vote the way they do, for some women out there the only reason that they wanted Hillary is because she is a woman.
If McCain could reach into his magic bag and pull out a pick that brought in some of those voters that would be awesome.
Finally, he needed a pick that would add some visual appeal to the ticket. I am not talking eye candy like Paris Hilton or anything like that, but when you compare the GQ qualities of Barack Obama to the nitty gritty John McCain it really does not look so good on TV. I hate to even say that this is important, but the 1960 Nixon/Kennedy debate showed us that looking good on TV matters.
The people that listened to the debate on the radio thought Nixon won (he did by the way and should have been President in 1960), those that watched it on TV thought Kennedy won.
As I looked at the cast of characters I did not see anyone that could do all three. Huckabee would energize the base (maybe), would have little appeal to the “Angry Hillary Voters” and had some visual appeal in the sense that he is a natural campaigner.
Joe Lieberman would have angered the base, would have had a solid pull on the “Angry Hillary Voters” and would have had the visual appeal of a 65 year old philosophy professor at Yale (sorry Joe, love your support).
Finally Mitt Romney would have appealed to the base (why I do not know) and would have added to the visual appeal on TV. Like Huckabee, I doubt he would have brought in the “Angry Hillary’s”. While I wanted Johnny to go three for three, I felt like two out of three was not bad, hence the belief that it would be Romney.
One of the things that I have always appreciated about John McCain is that he is a maverick, when it looked like his campaign was dead in the summer of 07 he did what he has always done, town hall meetings and he won.
I would love to tell you that I always knew he would come through but that would be a lie. Now when I think he is going to make a safe pick he goes bold and picks Sarah Palin.
While she may not have the national experience that some of the others would have had, I love the pick because she helps McCain with all three of the goals. Her strong social conservative values had Rush Limbaugh singing her praises and back supporting the Grand Old Party.
For those people who really wanted a woman might now consider McCain and finally, as America’s hottest governor she will add visual appeal.
Also, the more the Democrats make the case that Palin is not as prepared as Biden to be VP, it highlights that Obama is not as prepared as McCain to be President. Yes, she is a heartbeat away from being the President, Obama would be the President. Finally, with Palin as the VP choice it limits how affective Biden can be in the VP debate. If he is too harsh it is going to look really bad, call it reverse sexism if you want, no one wants to see a man yelling at a woman.
If he is too soft it will be a wasted pick getting an attack dog as a VP when he could have gone with the inspirational Tim Cain. Overall, it is a great pick, that is why McCain is the man!