McCain’s Stunt

Yet his choice is risky – not just for McCain’s campaign but for America’s future. Yesterday McCain celebrated his 72nd birthday; he has a history of skin cancer; if elected, he would be the oldest American ever to serve. Hence, his choice of vice president is critically important because the odds are much higher than normal that such a person would have to assume the office of the presidency.

Sarah Palin has been a governor of state inhabited by more moose than people for twenty months, and before that mayor of a town with a population smaller than two blocks of downtown Manhattan. Although she has barely exercised power, she is already under federal investigation for abuse of it. And while Ms. Palin is perfectly entitled to believe that evolution is a myth, that women should be barred from choosing to have abortions, and that global warming has yet to be proven, these views all run counter to the views of mainstream America.

Robert Reich’s Blog: McCain, Palin, and the Important Difference Between Boldness and Riskiness.

I’ve been thinking about the so-called judgment issue ever since McCain made this announcement, and I think Reich sums up my problems with Palin very well. McCain has his formula for everything: “a noun, a verb, and ‘prisoner of war.’ ” This is supposed to be the ultimate sign of strength and leadership.

The real question isn’t what he did in the camp but afterwords. Once he was freed, he turned not so much to a life of public service as much as to a life of service to power. His political genius seemed to be knowing how to differ from his political elders just enough to stand out but not enough to be locked out.

Palin seems to fit the pattern well, perhaps accelerated by McCain’s desperation in the face of Obama’s historic campaign. It’s difficult to compete, so McCain pulls the biggest stunt of his career. It may well be his last big stunt; even if he wins, he won’t run again. It says a lot about who he has become.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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