McCain Picks Palin: His Safest Bet Given the Circumstances

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Friday August 29, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

I don't usually comment on US politics except as they relate to Taiwan but everyone is touting McCain's choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for his running mate as his boldest move yet. I don't see it that way at all. McCain is playing it safe.

Palin is probably McCain's safest bet in trying to find someone in the party that does not carry baggage either from a contentious relationship with McCain or from the last eight years within the party. McCain needs to distance himself from the eight years of Bush and how best to do that by picking someone that everyone says, "Who?" when they hear the name. Most people don't know which way Alaska voted in the past elections and probably care less. Alaska is not a key swing state vote.

Pundits will invent numerous reasons why Palin is a bold move or why Palin is a great risk; neither fit for me. McCain is playing it safe; he wants to go it alone. You could call him stubborn, pig-headed, or what, but in his mind, this is his last race and he is going to run it his way. McCain expects that he can live forever and won't need a VP.

Other safe reasons? McCain would find it hard to listen to advice from any VP candidate regardless of who it was; having someone like Palin as VP makes it easier to ignore her. Palin at the same time will be grateful to have finally had a woman put on the Republican ticket that she will accept the role and be a good soldier.

The hard-core Republicans will stick by McCain whether they like it or not. Where else can they go? They would not run to the Obama camp. They can't quite own up to the Bush eight years as a selling point. So they are safely behind McCain.

This makes it safe for McCain, but what about the voters? Is McCain's choice of going it alone hubris or trying to regain the maverick role? Does it make a difference? The issue comes to that he wants the voters to gamble on the fact that he, the oldest presidential candidate in history, can go it alone and live forever with no complications. Here the risk returns front and center. Voters have to make a choice. Even putting McCain's policies etc. aside, do they want to gamble all on this? Chaos? Back to four more years following the eight years of Bush? McCain is a loyal American but he is asking a lot.