I maintain that Sarah Palin was a terrible, terrible pick for VP. The three interviews that she’s dared participate in since her nomination have shown her as a naif, looking every bit the deer in the headlights, utterly unqualified to run a company, to say nothing of the country. Her scandals keep getting deeper and more numerous (the bridge to nowhere, pork, troopergate, library censorship, ), and now half of the country says she’s not qualified to be president. (Only 75% of Republicans think she is.) Palin was never vetted by the McCain campaign, despite their protestations, and now she’s being vetted by the media in a two-month-long train wreck.
Small wonder that McCain has taken the stunning step of suspending his campaign…although it remains to be seen what “suspending” actually means. (Ending all spending? Suspending staff without pay? Halting advertising? Or is it just a political ploy?) Obama is pummeling McCain in the polls—he’s up 9% today—which surely has something to do with the McCain’s decision to take this make-it-or-break-it leap of faith. If somehow Republicans can get their own bailout plan passed, with McCain’s name on it, I think this will pay off. Short of that, I find it tough to see how this will help to dig the campaign out of the hole that it finds itself in.
For the record, I was wrong in my speculation that McCain was more likely to drop immediately after the convention, which I chalk up to the McCain campaign managing to spin clear negatives into positives, which voters were willing to buy for a period of a couple of weeks. Clearly the shine is off that apple now.
Palin was a bad choice, pure and simple. The base loves her, but the base was going to vote for McCain anyway. If McCain loses this election, I’m looking forward to some candid remarks from him in a year or two. I suspect he’ll agree by then—if he doesn’t already—that he could have done a lot better in the VP department.