by Scott Mendelson
First off, congrats on McCain from completely swiping the news cycle away from Obama. If this was going to be the pick, I'm genuinely surprised that they didn't 'accidentally' leak it yesterday as was rumored to be the plan.
Since everyone is noting the slight similarities, I wonder if Obama and co (or more likely an unaffiliated 527) can haggle Tina Fey into doing campaign commercials for them, basically portraying Sarah Palin and explicitly laying out some of her conservative opinions and bits of scandal. Something along the lines of "I may oppose a woman's right to choose, even in cases of rape and incest, but that's ok, cause I'm a woman too!" or "I'm currently under investigation for firing my safety commissioner after they refused to fire my former brother-in-law, but it's ok because you all hate your brother-in-laws." Regardless, I'd imagine that Ms. Fey will be doing plenty of guest cameos on SNL this season. At the very least, Hillary Clinton now has a new arch-nemesis, and Geraldine Ferraro has a shot at redemption (it's a shame that Elizabeth Edwards' rep is tarnished as she would be useful here too).
Point being, McCain seems to have picked her because she's a very conservative female politician with a good biography and a generally attractive appearance. Basically, he's trying to shore up the hard-right base, and he's cynical enough to hope that women (especially some former Clinton supporters) will vote for him simply because his VP selection is a woman. Furthering the inexplicable nature of this pick, there are plenty of very qualified Republican women in various government offices right now, such as Kaylee Hutchinson or (ideology aside) Condi Rice, but instead McCain went with a more or less novice, breaking the first rule of VP selection - 'because I could die' (and breaking of said rule will further make his age and health a major issue in the coming weeks).
The irony of course is that McCain's best line of attack against Obama (because it had a kernel of plausible truth to it) was that Barack Obama was a foreign policy novice and lacked experience, and that much of his success in politics came from the aura of celebrity (I don't agree, but it was a solid point of criticism). Now, after Obama attempted to blunt said criticisms with his VP pick of Joe Biden, McCain has gone and picked a running mate with zero foreign policy experience, someone who is more or less unknown that will now become an instant celebrity more for her position (the first female VP candidate of the GOP) than for her (modest but genuine) political accomplishments. Quite frankly, I can't wait to see Joe Biden debate Palin on foreign policy, or even domestic policy (imagine - the first woman GOP vp candidate vs the old white male who wrote the 'violence against women act'). Although now anything short of a massacre would be considered a disappointing performance by Biden.
Come what may, history will be made in November. It's just a shame that the shattering of one glass ceiling may cause death by a thousand cuts.