My initial reaction to the Palin pick is that in the short term, it will prove quite wise. Coming from relative obscurity, the Obama campaign won’t be able to drum up quotes of internecine squabbling from the primaries or otherwise distracting marginalia. Further, she’s a pretty “on message” pick for McCain: it seems she has quite the reputation for pork busting, which is a favored tactic of McCain for seeming fiscally responsible, even though his proposals would plunge us into largest deficit in 25 years. She’s also for expanded domestic drilling, is otherwise a staunch social conservative, and appears to have some bipartisan experience in fighting corruption. In this regard, she sounds very much like how McCain thinks of himself.
But perhaps that’s the problem with this pick: she doesn’t bring any legitimate credentials to the fight. If Barack Obama is inexperienced, Sarah Palin is prenatal. She has literally no foreign policy experience, and is in this regard completely overshadowed by Joe Biden. She doesn’t even have a record on many issues.
What she brings to the ticket then is almost purely aesthetic. She’s a woman, not old and white, but is this contrast really one McCain wants to draw? She will make McCain look old. As somewhat of a legitimate maverick with few negatives to speak of, will her intangibles only highlight McCain’s prostrate embrace of party line neoconservatism? And perhaps most importantly, will she update her style to look less like a character from Napoleon Dynamite?