Ultra-conservative David "Axis of Evil" Frum and I agree
Never thought David Frum and I would be on the same page....
Frum, you may recall, is the Bush speech writer who put the infamous phrase, "Axis of Evil" in Bush's mouth.
He writes in the consevative "National Review":
The longer I think about it, the less well this selection sits with me. And I increasingly doubt that it will prove good politics. The Palin choice looks cynical. The wires are showing.
John McCain wanted a woman: good.
He wanted to keep conservatives and pro-lifers happy: naturally.
He wanted someone who looked young and dynamic: smart.
And he discovered that he could not reconcile all these imperatives with the stated goal of finding a running mate qualified to assume the duties of the presidency "on day one."
Sarah Palin may well have concealed inner reservoirs of greatness. I hope so! But I'd guess that John McCain does not have a much better sense of who she is, what she believes, and the extent of her abilities than my enthusiastic friends over at the Corner. It's a wild gamble, undertaken by our oldest ever first-time candidate for president in hopes of changing the board of this election campaign. Maybe it will work. But maybe (and at least as likely) it will reinforce a theme that I'd be pounding home if I were the Obama campaign: that it's John McCain for all his white hair who represents the risky choice, while it is Barack Obama who offers cautious, steady, predictable governance.
Here's I fear the worst harm that may be done by this selection. The McCain campaign's slogan is "country first." It's a good slogan, and it aptly describes John McCain, one of the most self-sacrificing, gallant, and honorable men ever to seek the presidency.
But question: If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency?
Frum is exactly right to notice the rank hypocrisy in McCain's pick.
Just how nearly criminally cynical and hypocritical is it to announce this pick from a podium adorned with "Country First" in front of a crowd waving "Country First" placards, when by the very choice McCain demonstrates clearly that he puts politics ahead of the safety and well-being of the country in picking a grossly unqualified person to be a heart-beat away from the Presidency, simply out of the hopes that it will dupe women voters into voting against their own interests?
As has been noted in comments, the 2008 presidential campaign has been longer than Palin's term as Governor of Alaska!
Even honest conservatives can't ignore the reckless cynicism in this choice.