As for that "V.P. talk"...I tell ya, I still can't answer that question uh, until somebody answers, for me, What is it exactly that the V.P. does, every day? I'm used to, uh, being very productive and working real hard in an administration...we want to make sure that that V.P. slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we're trying to accomplish up here for the rest of the U.S., before I can even start addressing that, uh, that question.
Democratic surrogates and the media focus on Palin's lack of foreign policy experience. She doesn't seem to have any experience with the economy, health care, infrastructure, or education either. That doesn't necessarily mean that Palin has no potential. The point is that nobody knows what Palin's potential is. I don't know. The media and the Democrats don't know. Most important, the McCain campaign doesn't know what Sarah Palin's about.
And that's what makes the Palin nomination so inappropriate.
There is no way that McCain could have known much about Palin. Before nominating the Alaska governor, McCain's had only met Palin once or twice and talked with her on the phone once. His advisers might not have known her even that well. Given that he had minimal information on Palin, McCain was in no position to know how prepared she might be to be vice-president, the nature of her temperament, or whether she's capable of engaging in a national level campaign. In fact, the McCain camp did not vett Palin at all and it appears that McCain did not have any more information about Palin than was available to the average blogger.
Perhaps not even that much.
According to conservative journalist and former Bush speechwriter David Frum:
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 [National Review Online] Corner.
In the final analysis, Palin's lack of experience says a lot more about McCain's cynicism than it says about Palin. Why did McCain nominate Sarah Palin? The most important reason was he wanted to drive the news cycle. Because the McCain camp expected that Obama's Thursday night speech to be extremely successful, they wanted to make a big splash on Friday as a way to keep the media from giving Obama a great deal of credit.
McCain chose Palin primarily as a "surprise female candidate" to dominate the news and didn't believe that he needed to have a lot of detailed knowledge for that purpose. So, the McCain campaign didn't vet Palin, didn't have McCain campaign with her, or try her out as a surrogate before nominating her. I understand the reasoning behind this. Winning "media cycles" is important for a McCain campaign that's always in danger of falling permanently behind and any contact with Palin risked spoiling the media value of the nomination.
At the same time, the cynicism of treating the vp nomination as a disposable media product is typical McCain. For McCain, there is little that is not disposable in this way. The cynicism can be seen on the policy level with McCain's ever-changing positions on taxes, immigration, campaign finance reform, and judicial nominations. But it's probably even more cynical that McCain has adopted the same Karl Rove mentality about personally attacking opponents that George Bush used against him in 2000. For McCain, all the slime bombs that he and the rest of the right are throwing at Obama are "just politics" and kind of fun at that.
In a way, McCain's worse than Bush. After 9-11, the Bush administration had an authentic mission of remaking the world that they pursued in a dishonest and criminal manner. All McCain has is his cynical drive to get elected "by all means necessary." If the country were so unfortunate as to elect McCain, we basically would be set adrift as neither a McCain administration nor the Democrats in Congress would have the mandate or the political capacity to govern. It would be four more years like the last two years of the lame duck Bush administration. It would be a disaster.