Largely unasked is the question of how the people McCain sought to win by choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate really think about her choice. The stupid cabloid style blather about winning over Hillary Clinton’s supporters is only useful to show how useless those guys are. No one with a functioning brain would vote for Hillary Clinton in the primaries and then vote for the McCain-Palin ticket. People that clueless wouldn’t have supported Clinton in large enough numbers to begin with. The real reason he chose Palin was to call out the Republican far-right who showed signs of staying home on election day. Republicans can’t win an election without their support and they could be counted on to not want McCain to win this election. The only way he could get them to come out in large numbers next November is by selling them someone who they would want to see as president.
But to win them, McCain fundamentally betrayed the fabled “moderate” Republicans who are supposed to constitute his voter base. It’s a bait and switch gamble that only pays off for McCain’s moderate supporters if he serves out his term. In choosing Palin, McCain gives away the charade the “moderate” Republican politician really plays.
Stated or not, the extreme right, the real audience intended to be won over by the Palin choice, will be eagerly anticipating her becoming president at the earliest possible date. They will be looking for her to have influence even while McCain is in office. The cynicism of choosing someone at odds with his one-time positions on major issues for the purpose of getting in the Oval Office could be among the most irresponsible actions ever taken by the presidential candidate of a major party. It is similar to Nader’s final gift to the American People. You don’t have to wonder how sincerely McCain holds his legacy as a “maverick” because if he’s elected, those allegedly bold positions in opposition to his party will be about the mootest point imaginable.
The line that bringing up John McCain’s age is unfair, heard on even the most unlikely venue on TV last night, is dead wrong. It was always a legitimate point to bring up because John McCain is old, the oldest presidential candidate nominated by one of the two major parties. Being 72 simply by itself renders a man at greater risk of dying in the near future. That’s one of the less pleasant aspects of getting old. Not everyone makes it to 77, a significant percentage of the population don’t. Added to that is that he has had serious health problems, recurrent cancer. His age takes on added significance due to that, bringing it up is a perfectly legitimate issue. It is one of the facts that makes his tactic of using Palin to catch the far-right vote work.
McCain, himself added to the need to bring up his age when he chose a Vice Presidential candidate who is far different from himself on many important issues, or at least from the McCain who used to exist. A presidential term is a fixed four years. If McCain wasn’t able to finish out his term a new election can’t be called, his understudy will be president. McCain’s choice was to give a person from the quite far-right the greatest boost someone from that extreme has ever been given. There is every reason to expect that Sarah Palin could become the President of the United States at any point in the four years. Having a quite old man with far less than excellent health the only thing preventing that is a legitimate issue in the campaign this fall.
You can well imagine that if he is elected John McCain will immediately join the less rabidly right wing members of the Supreme Court on the list of those whose deaths are fervently prayed for by the far right. We know the list exists, they’ve openly talked about it on TV.