Even before a candidate is elected, the public can gain a sense of how they will act once they take office, based on the decisions the candidates make during their campaigns. A good example of this is the Republican nominee for president, John McCain.
McCain, who has been involved in national politics for more than 20 years, had one last major decision to make before the election-choosing a safe running mate.
Political commentators threw out the names of the many potential vice presidential hopefuls he had to choose from-former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, or even the recently turned independent U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, to name a few.
And yet, instead of choosing one of these safe and reliable choices, McCain went out on a limb and chose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Not only does Palin bring personal baggage to the plate (it was announced just days ago that her 17 year old daughter is five months pregnant), her choice as running mate undermines McCain’s major attack against Obama-that he is inexperienced.
It can be said that Palin herself is even less experienced than Obama, despite Republicans claims to the contrary. Palin became governor of Alaska just two years ago, in 2006.
Before that, she served two terms on the Wasilla City Council and then two terms as mayor of Wasilla, a town in Alaska with close to 8,500 residents. She also counts her time as the chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission from 2003 to 2004.
Obama became a U.S. Senator from Illinois in 2004 after he served in the Illinois State Senate since 1996. Obama began his public service as a community organizer for low-income residents on the south side of Chicago in the late 80s and worked as a civil-rights lawyer before entering the state senate.
Clearly, McCain did not choose Palin based on what political experience she brings to the table. He chose her to try and gain women voters who had supported Democratic NY Senator Hillary Clinton.
But Palin and Clinton have virtually nothing in common when it comes to the issues. Palin is pro-life, while Clinton is pro-choice.Palin opposes bans on guns while Clinton supports stricter gun control laws.
The governor from Alaska would solve our energy woes by increasing oil drilling in Alaska, while Senator Clinton has advocated alternative energy sources. Will Clinton supporters really vote for a candidate whose views are fundamentally opposed strictly because Palin is a woman?
Normally, the vice presidential candidate has not really mattered in the past few elections. This year is an exception. If McCain is elected at 72 years old, he will be the oldest first-term president in the history of the U.S.
While people are living longer today, McCain has dealt with skin cancer in the past, sparking the question of whether he could possibly get sick again if he is in office. In that case, Palin is just one step away from the presidency.
With the great responsibility of vice president falling to Palin should the McCain ticket win in November, one major question remains. Is she ready for that responsibility, or more importantly, for the presidency itself if McCain in unable to finish his term?
After posing the question to a CNBC interviewer, “What is it exactly that the VP does every day?” Palin proves just how poor a choice she is for the second highest position in the nation.