John McCain has stunned the political world by selecting Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Palin is a former runner up in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant and former Mayor of the tiny town of Wasilla, AK. She has been the Governor of Alaska since December, 2006. She holds a Bachelor's degree from the Univeristy of Idaho, and she enjoys mooseburgers.
Whew! What to say? Palin is a total unknown to Americans. She has no foreign policy experience to go with what is already a mighty thin resume. Currently, she's embroiled in an investigation into her conduct during her brief tenure as Governor.
So what's McCain doing? First of all, it seems like he's making a play for Hillary Clinton supporters. Second, since McCain is not a social conservative, he's been heavily pressured to choose a running mate that will appeal to the Party's evangelical base. But to choose someone with as little experience as Sarah Palin has made McCain look desperate for something to shake up the race.
Forget about what Democrats will say about her, conservatives themselves are expressing alarm at the choice of Palin:
Pat Buchanan: "She Just Is Not Ready to Be Commander-in-Chief."
The National Review: "a reckless choice; it strikes me that way. And McCain's age raised the stakes on this issue. Can anyone say with a straight face that Palin would have gotten picked if she were a man?"
AP conservative Ron Fournier: "She is younger and less experienced than the first-term Illinois senator, and brings an ethical shadow to the ticket. Just 20 months ago, she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, a town of 6,500 where the biggest issue is controlling growth and the biggest annual worry is whether there will be enough snow for the Iditarod dog-mushing race. "
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough: "It Sounds Like a Harriet Miers Decision. Let's Find a Woman, Whether She's Experienced or Not."
But here's my favorite: Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney expressed anger today that they had both been given serious consideration but had then been passed over for Palin.
I have been worried about Pawlenty as McCain's choice, because it would significantly reduce Al Franken's chances of beating Norm Coleman in Minnesota's Senate race this year. Without Pawlenty on the ticket (and hopefully with Minnesotans angered by that fact), Obama might beat McCain in Minnesota by a big enough margin to help Franken win.