go with an old friend, someone's who's been in the congress a long time? mccain is famous for working with democrats and republicans to do good things.
or, as happens with presidential candidates as they're looking for likely running mates, go with a governor, or congressperson, whom perhaps most people don't know well, but who have done some good work and represent something important to the ticket and the party?
- mccain chose a governor from a Western state. good, i guess. if it's a governor with a proven, solid record.
- she's a woman who's been governor for only a year and a half. not necessarily bad, but not so good.
- mccain chose a woman. good. i mean, good, if it's the right person for the job. and not good, if it's not the right person for the job. i don't give a shit if someone's black or white or red or male or female or gay or straight: i want the right person for the job at hand.
- but mccain saw that many woman voters who supported hillary clinton could be won if a woman candidate were on his ticket. not so good. he chose a woman who, in her acceptance speech, invoked Geraldine Ferraro, who ran for vice president in 1984, and Hillary Clinton, who ran for president this year. both of those women are democrats, who would disagree with this woman's stand on every issue i can think of. but let's face it: it was a smart strategic move for mccain in a year when millions of women felt angry or sad that the woman they were supporting didn't get to be their nominee. so, here's a woman. let's get the women. and while we're at it, we can get nice middle-class republican women too.
- mccain chose someone from outside the washington establishment. which can be good. the insular, self-possessed conglomerate of washington politics can be very unhealthy, i believe.
- but someone who - did i hear this right? - until recently had no passport? who has no experience with federal government? who lives so far outside the beltway that she doesn't know anything about how even to participate in what's happening in washington? not necessarily so good. (not entirely a bad thing - jimmy carter was a relative unknown and a washington outsider - and he's an amazingly good man - but wasn't a great president. etc etc etc) (george w. bush came across as a washington outsider, but come on - a president's son?)
- mccain chose a fresh face. someone with obvious personal charisma. that can be great. a leader.
- but i don't know enough about this person to know whether her charisma is in the service of a good mind and heart and healthy purpose, or not. not so good.
- mccain chose a woman who represents the traditional values of the conservative movement of the last 30 years, including yes to guns, no to abortion, yes to "family", yes to "patriotism", no to same-sex marriage, yes to military expansion, no to large government, yes to religion and government being connected.
- john mccain only espouses some of these values/positions, and is against some of them. many conservatives said that they were reluctant to support him. so he chose a running mate who is all about conservative stands and values. now those conservatives are saying they will vote for him. not so good.
- mccain is a decorated and recognized veteran and survivor of a p.o.w. camp. he represents courage. very good.
- he chose someone whose son is a soldier in iraq, and who is a flag-waver. not so good, if it's being done for political button-pushing. which i think maybe it is. i don't ever see mccain capitalizing on his being a veteran. i have huge respect for that. but she came out swinging her son's being deployed to iraq. creepy.
- mccain is strong and tough. good. (i wouldn't wrestle him; he'd kick my ass.)
- mccain is 72 years old and has had cancer twice. not so good. especially if his running mate is someone whom the american people have only a couple of months to test, and get to know, and put in the pressure cooker to see what she's made of. not so good. i don't want a vice president, who very well might become president, whom i haven't had a chance to see over time.
this doesn't feel like that to me. this feels like a strategic choice, one in which he bent his own views on the issues in order to appeal to more conservative voters, and chose a woman to pull in women voters who don't agree with him or his running mate but are pissed off, and did all of this not to get the best thing done but to get elected.
it's a move that will absolutely work with millions of people. they will see her as a woman with a great story - five kids! the oldest a soldier in iraq and the youngest with downs syndrome! see how good a mom she is! - who fights corruption and stands up to the good old boy network. they'll see her as a mainstream heartland soccer/hockey mom just like them, who was active in the pta and then town council and then became mayor and then became governor and now she's going to be vice president. an american story.
and yeah, i guess all that is true. but i know lots of mainstream heartland soccer/hockey moms who are active in their communities with lots of kids, and i wouldn't want them in charge of a picnic, much less the country.
and ... i'm disappointed in john mccain. none of this feels like the part of him i felt i trusted. i've never seen him as an unworthy candidate. i've always felt that - even if i disagree with him on particulars - he's a good man with integrity. this doesn't feel like integrity. it feels like politics. did he do it because it was the right thing to do for america? true to his deepest convictions? or did he do it because it was a smart move, and it fit his image of being independent and tough, and he's not going to do what you expect? or did he do it because he just wants to win and this was a way to defeat an opponent in an election about change, with all the change juice on his side?
not so good.
ps i know obama selected joe biden partly because joe biden has experience with foreign policy, and is experienced in washington politics, and is seen as an everyday common dude, all of which obama's critics had said he wasn't strong in. but joe biden is a man we've known for decades, whom we have the opportunity to test and whose record we can know, and i also think joe biden is cool, and smart, and strong. i've thought so for a long time.
the smartest thing obama could've done if all he wanted to do was get elected would've been to select hillary clinton as his running mate. but he didn't. she wasn't the best person to work as part of his administration and what he's about. he chose for larger reasons. he didn't sell out. but i think maybe mccain did.