Why did John McCain pick Sara Palin as his VP? The conventional wisdom is that he catered to his his far right base, where his support had been weak. But John McCain out-smarted them and put country first.
Palin might have been a "maverick", but not the kind McCain liked. McCain respected duty, honor, and competence. Palin was not his kind of people. McCain would have been more likely than even Perot to pick the honored and honorable James Stockdale were he available. Sarah Palin was an even more self-destructive pick. She might have the preparation not to ask "Why am I here" in a vice-presidential debate, but she couldn't even answer what newspapers she read. McCain knew that. He would not have picked her if he wanted to win.
McCain knew the country couldn't take any more neo-con ideology of privatization of the government. Regan started the trend, and Rove was going to finish it. And us. Build up the deficit and force the government to stop spending. Get rid of all of the competent people in government and show the public how useless the government really is. Convince the voting public to get rid of that nasty government interfering with profits.
Privatization: that was the answer to everything. Health insurance should be left to the market. As should social security. All problems solved, or at least pushed down to the individuals. Where it belongs in America, right? Heck, we were even privatizing our wars (the last gasp of empire strategy, though we could have done more.)
In the process of demonstrating the incompetence of the government, we lost one major city, our financial foundations, our reputation, our currency (since that had been outsourced to oil producers and China), most of our constitution, and almost all of our hope. We were just about to turn off the lights and just let everyone arm themselves in their gated bunkers.
McCain looked around at the ruins of just eight years of this ideology. He's a patriot. And he said to his weak right-wing support: "fine" (always a four-letter word in a relationship), "I'll give you someone you'll love." But he did so knowing that he had to be anti-Bush and that he was giving them Bush in drag1: someone who so exemplified their social and political philosophies, that it would expose their espousal of incompetence and hypocrisy, like nothing else would, short of the physical destruction of another city.
McCain knew Palin would hang herself and the neo-cons along with her. He knew this would cost him the election, but he was willing to fall on his sword for the republic. He put country first.
1Quote attributed to Naomi Klein, on Bill Maher - September 2008.Weird Views ©Charles Petrie 2008