When A Problem Comes Along... You Must VP It!
by Kussmich Imarsch, Senior IbK Political Correspondent
The Vice-Presidential selections made by the major-party candidates in this 2008 campaign have been the topic of much discussion and debate... well one of them has, anyway. Rather than blather on and on in flowing prose about the importance of and criteria for the selection of Vice-Presidential candidates, I have decided to address the issue in an easy-to-read and easy-to-compare bulletpoint checklist format. Hey, it's not about me... it's about America.
SOMEbody has to take this shit seriously...
Presidential Candidate - Barack Obama, 47, First-term Senator from Illinois
Vice-Presidential Selection - Joseph Biden, 65, Sixth-term Senator from Delaware
Positives - Biden's 35-plus-years in the Senate help to offset complaints about Obama's relative inexperience. Biden is a known and reliable quanitity to Democratic Party insiders, thus helping to rally the troops. Biden is well respected among his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, including Republican candidate Senator McCain. Biden also has strong appeal to the working class with a reputation for fixing appliances around his own house and taking the train every night from Washington, DC to Wilmington, DE to be with his family.
Negatives - Biden was caught plagiarizing from other speeches in his 1988 run for the Presidency and was discovered to have done so in law school as well. He is also prone to the occasional verbal gaffe in interview and debate situations, since he isn't much of a fan of the scripted answer.
Cynical Hopes - Biden's connection to Scranton, PA will help deliver that crucial swing-state's 21 electoral votes.
Politically Incorrect Cynical Hopes - Having at least one gray-haired white man on the ticket will pacify some of the racially-uncomfortable members of the Midwestern Democratic and Independent voting blocs.
Presidential Candidate - John McCain, 72, Fourth-term Senator from Arizona
Vice-Presidential Selection - Sarah Palin, 44, First-term Governor from Alaska
Positives - Palin is the only candidate among the four with any executive experience as both Governor of Alaska and Mayor of Wasilla, AK. Palin melds well with McCain's firebrand maverick reformer persona, having called out members of both parties for questionable ethics while Governor and as a member of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. At 44, she offers a youth element lacking at the top of the ticket. Her Conservative Christian bona fides check out well with the evangelical Republican base, shoring up another perceived weakness in the ticket.
Negatives - With youth comes inexperience. Palin has only been Governor for 20 months, and has yet to hold any position for more than four years. Palin has also had two major abuse-of-power charges lodged against her: as Mayor when she fired the Wasilla chief of police for supporting a political opponent, and as Governor for firing the Public Safety Commissioner after he refused to fire a state trooper who was embroiled in a bitter custody battle with Palin's sister.
Cynical Hopes - McCain and the Republican Party hope that nominating a strong and independent-minded woman on their ticket will woo disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters to their side, Palin's strongly held anti-abortion and anti-women's rights positions notwithstanding.
Politically Incorrect Cynical Hopes - The VPILF Factor. As evidenced by the bumper stickers reading "Alaska: Coldest State, Hottest Governor," no major-office candidate has polled as prominently inside the electorate's private Beltway as Palin since porn actress Mary Carey ran for Governor of California in 2003. The addition of 1984's Miss Wasilla and runner-up for Miss Alaska to the Republican ticket could prompt many a randy independent to vote Republican and pray for McCain's demise - not unlike many GOP hardliners.