All things considered, the storm around the Republican Party's choice of VP nominee should have been highly predictable.
Let's face it, John McCain is 72. Were he to serve two full terms, he would leave office aged 81.
Eight Presidents of the United States, not quite 1 in 5, have died in office.
It may seem ghoulish, but the fact is that there is a significant chance that whoever John McCain might have chosen, they could indeed be called upon to serve as the leader of the United States were- God forbid- anything to happen to John McCain himself.
Of course, that also applies to Barack Obama, despite his being three decades younger than the Republican nominee. Although I do not particularly admire Senator Joe Biden, the fact is that in his thirty-five year service in the US Senate and in his own abortive runs for the Presidency, he has demonstrated his knowledge and indeed considerable influence in the American political system.
Sarah Palin has only been Governor of Alaska for three months less than two years, and Alaska has a population less than half of that of New Hampshire- or about the same size as Hamilton, Ontario. Her supposed executive experience leaves her totally ill equipped to assume office as the leader of the United States- and that is what we should be seriously considering as we weigh up the measure of the McCain-Palin ticket. I am on record as opposing the rise of a political class, and advocating breaking up this class. However Mrs. Palin is not outside politics- she is just from an exceptionally small an unimportant part of the American body politic. If we look beyond her political life, we do not find the kind of hinterland that could help to make her an informed and successful leader of her country.
Her education- a journalism degree completed at the University of Idaho- is little better than the much derided degrees in "media studies" in the UK, and makes a striking contrast with the institutions that the young Barack Obama attended- Columbia, Harvard Law School and the University of Chicago. Whatever the rights or wrongs of affirmative action, there can be no doubt that Sen. Obama has gained a first class education.
Beyond her education her sole hinterland is her family, which is why much attention is being paid to it though this, of course, comes before the National Enquirer turns its baleful eye upon the issue. Though I take my hat off to the Governor's eldest son for his decision to enlist in the American Army as a private, the fact is that- again- one gets the feeling that the Palin family does not respect the value of a good education. The latest imbroglio over the teenage pregnancy of the Governor's daughter reflects badly on a family that firmly espouses American Conservative principles. That the National Enquirer now alleges that Governor Palin has had an adulterous affair is beginning to make the Sarah Palin look like just as good material for Jerry Springer (who was Mayor of Cincinnati, a much larger city than Wasilla, Alaska), as the usual trailer-park trash.
All in all, the choice of Sarah Palin reflects very badly indeed on the judgement of Sen. McCain. That further problems seem set to emerge, I do not doubt.
They will be the fault of a man who chose misguided tokenism over common sense. John McCain knew that his VP choice would be carefully scrutinised. Instead of making a considered choice, it seems clear that he made a rushed, last minute decision. Through this choice, Sen McCain has demonstrated that his Republican colleagues were right to be fearful of his rashness and impulsive, maverick nature.
It should forfeit him the election.