So John McCain is no longer a maverick. Here is one Democratic talking point that will need some work, and it is by no means the only one. In naming Sarah Palin – the young and only recently elected governor of Alaska, a small-town mayor before that – as his Republican running mate in the US presidential race, Mr McCain has taken an extraordinary risk. It was certainly the act of an unorthodox politician. Was it, though, the act of a reckless and stupid one? I think not.
The instant reaction among Democrats was astonishment. Quickly that gave way to outrage. James Carville, a former adviser to Bill Clinton, said he was “vexed, completely vexed” by the choice. Paul Begala, another friend of the Clintons, in almost his first sentence on the matter, sneeringly attributed Mrs Palin’s poise to her time as a beauty queen. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the House of Representatives’ Democratic caucus, said: “On his 72nd birthday, this is the guy’s judgment of who he wants one heartbeat from the presidency? Please.” The prevailing attitude was a hair’s breadth from laughter at the bimbo from a state that does not count.
Will these people never learn? Let me try to walk the experts, with their many years of experience, through this thing.
The McCain campaign staff could not have scripted a more helpful response. They are anything but embarrassed by a focus on Mrs Palin’s inexperience, and the more spluttering, condescending and incredulous it is, the better. The reason is obvious: Democrats’ amazement at the suggestion that Mrs Palin is fit to be vice-president has disturbing implications for Barack Obama’s own fitness to be president. She, after all, has had two years running a state. He has had no years running anything. Also, if experience matters as much as the Democrats now say, you want it at the top of the ticket, do you not?
—Clive Crook. Whatever my concerns regarding Palin’s selection as McCain’s running mate, Crook’s political analysis is dead-on accurate.