You can’t fault John McCain for making a boring or predictable choice for his running mate.
According to reports, McCain has selected Sarah Palin, the 44-year-old governor of Alaska, as his vice presidential candidate. (What were the odds on her, Tim?)
• As a relatively young, attractive woman (a runner-up in a Miss Alaska beauty contest), she provides balance for the older, male McCain. And of course a surprising choice like this creates a lot of buzz for the Republicans, at least in the short term, diverting attention away from Obama’s speech last night.
• On abortion, she is “pro-life” and thus avoids the problems that a “pro-choice” candidate like Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman would have caused with social conservatives. (However, if her selection is an attempt to win over angry Hillary Clinton voters, her “pro-life” stance may be a problem.)
• She did not run for the Republican nomination and thus there are no embarrassing video clips of her criticizing McCain, as there are with Mitt Romney.
• Palin is the subject of an investigation over whether she tried to get her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper, and whether she dismissed Alaska’s public safety commissioner because he would not fire the trooper, Mike Wooten. Her husband and members of her administration made dozens of phone calls to Wooten’s bosses.
• With no detectable foreign policy experience, and only two years as governor, she may be at a disadvantage in the vice presidential debate with Joe Biden. The contrast between her and Biden may not be favorable to her.
• I don’t know how much difference it will make, but to me, at least, her selection is transparently political. Clearly McCain was not thinking in terms of “Who is best suited to be president if I’m unable to complete my term?” (which I think was one of Obama’s reasons for choosing Biden) but rather “Which choice is least likely to hurt me in the campaign, while creating some buzz and possibly drawing away some Hillary supporters?”
That’s all I can think of for now. Please feel free to add others.
Update: I see Gordon beat me to it. So I’ll disable the comments here and you can comment at his post.