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The Palin Gambit
September 29 2008

Now, that the initial confusion, disbelief, shock, outrage, and laughing out loud jokes about the GOP VP pick have more or less settled down (at least, until the Thursday debate)and almost everybody agrees on the both sides of the political divide, that Mrs. Palin should have been left to her business in Alaska for everybody's sake, one can't help but wonder, what was senator McCain thinking about, when he picked her.
The popular working theory is, of course, he had to please or to "energize" the venerable conservative base of the Republican party. If this was the only role of a vice-presidential nominee of the most powerful nation on this planet we would all agree, he couldn't have made a better choice. But since a VP nominee's job description includes generating some coherent ideas about economy, security, international affairs, not to mention debating opposite to Joe Biden, one of the most experienced foreign relations members of the US senate, the burning questions remains, what was the McCain's campaign planning.
Before the disastrous pick was announced I heard from many people an opinion to which I subscribed myself, that is, both McCain and Obama seem like decent, intelligent leaders. While I have been rooting for Obama, I was impressed with McCain's life story, his frank attitude and obsession with honor. Finding a solid veep was an important matter, since Obama was the media darling and McCain needed a boost, but nobody had expected this.
Senator Lieberman would have been a great choice for a vice president, but that, apparently, would further alienate the conservatives. So, he picks not Marsha Blackburn, not Elizabeth Dole, he picks Sarah Palin, whom he doesn't know and doesn't bother to vet. If this is not what you call a self-destructive behavior, I don't know what is.
McCain never really was a staunch republican and his pro-choice and anti Alaska National Reserve drilling stance speak for that. He is too liberal for many republicans' taste. And he famously said that "he would rather lose an election, than loose a war". Well in this case he would rather lose the election and stick it to the conservatives. The genius of the Palin pick is that it was a calculated move to defeat his own party. At 72 he has little to lose, on the other hand, the hypocrisy of the conservative base has never been more obvious, thanks to him.
With the tactical sacrifice of losing the election McCain serves his country by handing the White House to the Democrats.
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