Like the rest of the world, I was startled - is that the right word? - when John McCain announced his choice for VP. Since then, in an attempt to figure out what was going on, I've been reading everything I can find in the infamous "mainstream media" about Gov. Palin. I'm trying to be as objective as possible, to counterbalance my visceral reaction to her. In short, the lady creeps me out, probably because she's diametrically opposed to me on virtually every position.
I've deliberately avoided the Internet riffs floating around on her, with one exception: the "Letter from Wasilla," attributed to one Anne Kilkenny - largely because the thing was signed, and showed internal evidence that the author was trying to be fair-minded. Snopes.com considers that letter authentic; much of what I say about her here comes either from that letter or from the New York Times.
I've concluded that Gov. Palin is the affirmative action candidate. She is where she is because she's female, and for no other major reason. To prove this to yourself, just invert the situation. You have the one-term governor of a large but thinly populated state, with no national or international experience or (apparently) interest; with a public record of hiring cronies and family members; a gun supporter, a disbeliever in global warming, a born-again evangelical creationist and right-to-life supporter, with 5 children, one of whom has Down's syndrome, and another of whom is pregnant at the age of 17. And this hypothetical governor is male.
Would this person be anywhere near the vice presidency? He wouldn't even be on the backup list. But she's in the catbird seat.
McCain apparently picked her himself, bypassing the usual vetting process. The New York Times ran a major article suggesting that no one in the Alaska Republican Party - for that matter, no one in the national party - was contacted about the governor before the announcement. It's a very interesting read; apparently McCain simply leaped to the conclusion that this woman could save his campaign and offered her the job on the spot, in place of two or three male candidates with real records of competence.
Consider this as an example of McCain's decision making under stress. Is this really the man you want running this country??
Also consider what this implies about McCain's opinion of American voting women. He thinks we'll vote for his ticket because his number two has ovaries instead of balls. The level of contempt for the people he expects to vote for him leaves me gobsmacked. It is an insult. If I were a Republican woman, I'd be furious. If I were a moderate Republican woman, I'd be practically radioactive.
Gov. Palin has one attribute that is usually required to attain high office: ambition. Is that enough??