Strike One on McCain

Republican presidential nominee and Sen. John McCain must have awakened last Thursday morning with the proverbial favorite horse’s head in his bed. That’s when he had his first meeting with his vice presidential selection, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

It’s my guess that Sen. McCain had already decided who his vice presidential running mate was going to be and it was not Gov. Palin, when he got a call from some, someone who told him his plans had been changed for him. He met that evening in a secretly arranged “interview” with Gov. Palin, and the next day announced that she was to be his running mate. Hm-m-m.

In one of the classic “Godfather” movies, there was a scene in which an all powerful mob-boss woke up at his heavily guarded and palatial estate to find the head of his very favorite horse in the bed beside him.

The message: the reluctant Don was not nearly as secure in his leadership as he imagined himself to be, and therefore he had to do something he had vowed not to do. Not only was there an enemy cutthroat among his most trusted aides, the Judas also had access to the Boss’s own boudoir, while he slept. Chilling.

In recent political history, maverick Texas billionaire politician H. Ross Perot had a similar experience during his ill-fated 1992 presidential campaign.

Mr. Perot first promised his supporters that if they got his name on all 50 state ballots he would run an independent presidential campaign. They did, but in mid-July when he was ahead of incumbent Republican George H.W. Bush (the former Director of U.S. Central Intelligence) Mr. Perot mysteriously withdrew from the race, eventually complaining that digitally altered photographs were going to be released, ruining his daughter’s wedding planned for later that year. Hm-m-m.

The problem is not that Mr. McCain made a last minute decision. His problem is that he made a bad, bad choice, at the last minute. Setting aside the drama about the contradictions around “abstinence-only” education advocate Palin’s 17-year-old daughter getting pregnant out of wedlock (my own daughter’s mother had her first child at age 15, and she is a fine person and a great mother and grandmother; and my own father was married to another woman, not my mother, before I was born, until the day he died), setting that aside in the case of Gov. Palin, she is a poor choice to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

First, she has no experience. She was mayor of the town of Wasilla, Alaska–population 5,000 and change–for several years. My high school in Los Angeles had that many students. And she’s been governor of Alaska, with a total population about equal to that of Anacostia, for less than two years!

Neither does she get any respect from a neighbor, and fellow Republican. Lyda Green, an Alaska state senator and fellow Republican from Wasilla, where the Governor served as mayor, had this to say: “She’s not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president? … What would she do to the nation?”

That’s okay, except Sen. McCain had been bashing Democratic nominee and Sen. Barack Obama for lacking experience, particularly international experience. Republican mouthpieces argue that Gov. Palin still has more “executive” experience than both Sen. Obama and his running mate Sen. Joseph Biden (both legislators), combined. Well you can add Sen. McCain’s name to that list, because he has no more “executive” experience than do his Senate buddies, Obama and Biden.

And as for international experience, Gov. Palin just received her first passport a few months ago, and as far as anyone can tell, she has only been out of the country once, to visit Alaska National Guard members serving in Kuwait.

But the worst knock against Gov. Palin is her temperament and judgment, which reflects on Sen. McCain’s judgment in choosing such a hot-headed rookie at the last minute, just so he could appeal to disaffected Democratic women voters.

There’s an official ethics investigation underway of Gov. Palin, because she fired the Alaska state director of public safety because that official would not dismiss the governor’s former brother-in-law, a state trooper. The governor was so angry at her sister’s former husband that she improperly tried to get the man fired from his job, when there was no legitimate justification for his dismissal. So when the state public safety director refused to fire her ex-brother-in-law, she fired him. She’s a hothead, just like Sen. McCain. What a White House that would be.

That lady has more political “baggage” than I do. Her story belongs on “The Jerry Springer Show,” on “Maury Povich,” not on “Meet The Press.”

So, this is “strike one” against used-to-be straight-talking John McCain. Remember. Three strikes and you’re out.

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