Ezra on Palin
Very good post from Ezra Klein:
You can say this much, at least. She sure won’t be another Dick Cheney.
The choices were all bad. Tim Pawlenty was a lightweight. Joe Lieberman was a liberal. Mitt Romney was a Mormon. Over the past few weeks, it became clear that John McCain couldn’t pick anybody for vice-president. And so he didn’t. Instead, he picked Sarah Palin.
There’s nothing wrong with Sarah Palin. Indeed, she’s a perfectly normal politician. A hardline conservative with a good government streak who’s proven a skillful political comer in a tiny, remote state. It’s just a bit…odd.
McCain speaks often of the transcendent challenges we face. His whole campaign is based on the idea that we need steady, experienced leadership to guide us through a world populated with lethal foreign threats. McCain has amassed that experienced the hard way: He’s a 72-year-old man who’s served in Congress for almost three decades and spent five years languishing in a prison camp. The simple reality of his campaign is that, for reasons of message and age, his vice-presidential pick matters more than most. If the world really is as he describes it, then experienced leadership is enduringly crucial. And it is not unimaginable that there could come a time in his presidency when his understudy must sorrowfully step forward.
Sarah Palin has been in office less than two years. She’s governor of a state with a shade of 600,000 people, and before that she was a mayor of a hamlet with 9,000 people. She has no foreign policy experience. She has no experience making national policy. She has spent fewer than 700 days crafting statewide policy for Alaska. None of this is a moral flaw or personal failing. It just makes it hard to imagine her fit for the vice presidency.
This was, for McCain, a major decision. And we can learn from it. The calculations are gallingly transparent. Understanding that he needed to broaden his electoral coalition, he picked a woman, Understanding he needed youth, he picked a young politician. Understanding he needed to emphasize his reformist credentials, he picked a onetime whistleblower. What he didn’t pick was anyone able to help him govern, or capable of stepping forward in a moment of crisis. Palin is not an experienced foreign policy hand like Lieberman or a successful and experienced governor like Tommy Thomson. Today, McCain chose his campaign over his presidency. Over our presidency. In this decision, country did not come first. Polls did. Palin seems like a promising young politician, but McCain increasingly seems like a desperate one.