Like everyone, I was taken aback by McCain's pick of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Like everyone, I scrambled to learn as much about as I could. She sounds like a wonderful person and a courageous mom - and totally unqualified be Vice President of the United States. Sure, she appeals to the extreme right-wing base of the Republican Party: she detests science (denies an human factor in global warming; is sympathetic to creationist teaching in public schools), she embraces drilling as a panacea for America's dependency on foreign oil; like most Americans, she is amiably ignorant and uncurious about the world at large. She is a polarizing and reckless choice by John McCain, and it reflects on the man's character and judgment. Here I can only agree with conservative Ueber-Blogger Andrew Sullivan:
"Think about the men and women serving this country who have every right to trust that their potential commander-in-chief, whatever their party, would have some record of even interest in foreign policy before assuming office.
Think about how the key factor in this decision was not who could defend this country were something dreadful happen to McCain in office but how to tread as much on Obama's convention bounce and use women's equality as a wedge issue among Democrats because it might secure a few points here or there. Oh, and everyone would be surprised. And even Rove would be annoyed.
This is his sense of honor and judgment. This is his sense of responsibility and service.
Here's the real slogan the McCain campaign should now adopt:
Putting. Country. Last."
If the purpose behind McCain's surprise decision was to attract votes from disaffected Hillary supporters, I can't see the logic. How many Democratic women voters would support someone who has vowed that the old white men on the Supreme Court will take control of their uteruses?
The German press is still rushing to learn about Sarah Polin, but once again Wolfram Eilenberger of Cicero has provided timely and superior commentary. He succinctly outlines the risks of electing the McCain/Palin ticket:
Natürlich besteht die Möglichkeit – Hey, wir leben in Amerika! –, dass die Newcomerin sich als hervorragende, äußerst kompetente Kandidatin und gewiefte Wahlkämpferin erweist, dass sie die Herzen des Landes im Sturm nimmt und sämtliche taktische Hoffnungen erfüllt. Wäre es so, John McCain würde als genialer Bauch-Entscheider gefeiert.
Oder aber, was mindestens ebenso wahrscheinlich scheint, Palins Wahl wird als eine der selbstsüchtigsten Verantwortungslosigkeiten der amerikanischen Präsidentenwahlkämpfe in die Geschichte eingehen. Denn gewinnt McCain im November, wird Sarah Palin nur einen Herzschlag vom mächtigsten Amt der Welt entfernt sein. Und bei allem Respekt für die Kandidatin, dies ist – nach allem, was wir und auch John McCain bisher über sie wissen können – eine tief verunsichernde Aussicht. Für Amerika. Für die Welt.
(Of course it is entirely possible - hey, we live in America! - that the newcomer (Palin) proves to be an outstanding and highly competent candidate and strong campaigner who takes the nation by storm and fulfills all of the tactical hopes. If this happens, John McCain will be celebrated for making an ingenious decision from his gut.
Or - just as likely - the choice of Palin will be seen as one of the most selfishly irresponsible decisions ever made in the history of presidential campaigns. For should McCain win in November, Sarah Palin will be just a heartbeat removed from the most powerful office in the world. With all due respect to the candidate, based on what we and John McCain can know about her, this is a deeply unsettling prospect. For America. For the world.)