John McCain might love America, in the abstract, but he clearly has little regard for us Americans, in the here and now.

John McCain might love America, in the abstract, but he clearly has little regard for us Americans, in the here and now.

That’s the message that he sent with his choice of Sarah Palin to be Vice President of the United States. Sure, the VP job itself doesn’t require much heavy lifting, but it’s the job-to-come that makes one’s nominee a momentous selection, since 300 million people who might suddenly find this person sitting in the biggest office in America. Being 72 years of age and having a history of health problems, McCain had a special responsibility to choose the best to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. He flubbed it.

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This is not about Palin and her readiness for prime-time speechmaking. It’s about McCain’s fitness to be president. The decision on a running mate is the most telling one that a presidential candidate makes, and McCain made his impetuously, almost flippantly.

He wanted his senate buddy, Joe Lieberman, to run with him, but he was denied that choice by the angry right wing of his party. So, at the last minute, he seemed to say, what the hell, how about that lady governor in Alaska? He had not even met Palin until this year. He knew no details about her and had not been considering her at all seriously. Then, at loggerheads with the Republican right and with his nominating convention looming, McCain had to rush her through a cursory background check only 24 hours before he had his first face-to-face meeting with her, which was the same day he hastily up offered the vice-presidency. The vice-presidency!

McCain would have given more thought to picking out another house for himself than he did in picking Sarah Palin. Such recklessness reveals a stunning lack of judgment and shows what little respect he has for the American public. His responsibility was not just to find a political running mate who appeals to the Republican base, but someone who is capable of stepping into the Oval Office as President of the United States.

“Palin Disclosures Spotlight McCain’s Screening Process,” The New York Times, September 2, 2008.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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