McCain’s choice for V.P. was a smart move

On the heels of what some have called a historic Democratic National Convention, GOP presidential candidate John McCain made some history of his own. Just hours after Barack Obama officially accepted the nomination of his party in Denver, a chartered aircraft carrying Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had left Anchorage, bound for Dayton, Ohio. On Friday morning, after an entire morning of free media for the McCain campaign, McCain stood with his new choice in front of thousands to announce a head-turning decision. Sarah Palin, 44, is described as the âÄúhockey momâÄù governor in Alaska, which has propelled her to unimaginably high approval ratings in that state. She won that office by ousting the incumbent GOP governor who had been surrounded by controversy. This is just one example of her record which is peppered with examples of reform and independent thinking. Her resume may be thin, but at the end of the day, her experience is very comparable to another so-called âÄúnewcomerâÄù to the political stage: Obama. With five children âÄî one of whom is about to be deployed to Iraq in the army âÄî Palin is a shining example of hard working, middle class women who have a record outside of our broken Washington system. In McCainâÄôs own words, sheâÄôs âÄújust what we need.âÄù McCainâÄôs surprise pick is no doubt a gamble, but it is one he must take. With the political climate favoring change, a Washington insider on the ticket would make ObamaâÄôs support swell. On the most important domestic issues, however, she will be a powerful asset. In Alaska, Palin had firsthand experience with the energy issues we hear about every day. As a supporter of environmentally responsible drilling, she will finally be able to tell the American people that we can recover more energy sources âÄî and we will. She will also have the opportunity to strike a note with families struggling from other, lesser publicized issues. PalinâÄôs youngest child was born with Down syndrome, and it is already clear she will be an advocate for those with disabilities on several levels. During the chaotic primary season, it was evident that if McCain did win the nomination, he would have to find a running mate that the conservative base could relate to. It appears we can check another box off his to-do list. PalinâÄôs record on the local and state level has been one that the millions of conservative citizens can relate to, including controlling corruption and government spending, and action on social issues. The McCain campaign is hoping Palin will pick up many of the disenfranchised Hillary Clinton supporters that fought hard for a woman to be on the ticket but didnâÄôt succeed. Immediately after being announced, the new ticket headed to battleground states like Pennsylvania, where Clinton had a large set of female supporters. With the largest crowds yet, it appears momentum for the pair is already growing. PalinâÄôs strongest credential is that she relates to the common voter, and she hasnâÄôt been adulterated by years elbowing with Washington insiders. The most ironic part about the choice is that ObamaâÄôs campaign has run on a platform of reform from outside of Washington. When their years in Washington are combined, however, Obama and Joe Biden have spent over a third of a century there. BidenâÄôs pick as ObamaâÄôs running mate was a mistake that will make inconsistencies in their campaign even more evident. BidenâÄôs record in the Senate has been almost entirely party-line, with no effort to cross the aisle. McCain, meanwhile, has come under fire from his own party almost as much as Democrats for his willingness to compromise on important issues like campaign finance reform, the War in Iraq and immigration. There is as much âÄúmaverickâÄù in Palin as there is in McCain, which is why she completes a theme the campaign has been building for months. Her personal story is compelling. Her personality is competitive, straightforward and honest. The United States needs an open and honest debate about ObamaâÄôs plans to raise taxes on those that provide jobs, cut vital funding to our troops at a time when they are succeeding and exchange personal responsibility for overreaching government bureaucrats. Palin has faced these challenges already while running the largest state in the United States, and I think everyone will be surprised with her poise and savvy in exchanges with Biden. Palin balances the GOP ticket, first and foremost. McCain has consistently said he would not choose a running mate that was identical to him, but one that would bring a new perspective and new supporters to the campaign; she does both. Andy Post welcomes comments at [email protected]