While Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin wasn't on my earlier list of possible Veep choices for McCain to consider, I had a very good reason for overlooking her:
She's got less political experience than Obama, in terms of level of quality.
Palin served a few terms on a city council - and then served as mayor - for Wasilla, an Alaskan community no bigger than 8000 people. She spent about a year (2003 - 04) working as an ethics commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. She won the governorship for Alaska in 2006, which means that she's done at best 2 years at that job.
I'm sorry, but to be considered for the Vice Presidency means you have to be considered for the Presidency as well: that's the Veep's duty to step up if the need arises. The only thing on Palin's resume that stands out as living up the to qualifications of the office is her governorship. Being mayor of a town of 8000 people doesn't speak well towards comparable experience for the Oval Office. And that was one of the big weapons the Republicans had arguing against an Obama Presidency: Obama's had roughly only 4 years of comparable experience as a U.S. Senator. Going with Palin takes away the "inexperienced" argument. The only other legitimate argument the Republicans had against Obama was that he's... well wait, the argument that he's raising taxes as a commie librul secret buddhist! Or the argument that he's a Democrat. Or the argument that Obama's not that good at bowling, or quail hunting. Or that Obama's a one-house-owning elitist who eats the salad bar buffet at Bennigan's.
Trust me, the "Obama Is Inexperienced" was the best weapon the Republicans had in their arsenal. And they just punted it away.
Past that, one could see Palin actually makes for a nice (just not great) choice. Nearly every time she's run for office she ran as a reformer, promising to cut back costs and taxes as mayor, and had quit her job as ethics commissioner railing against the corruption in that office and then backing it up by attacking her own party's state leadership to where a couple of guys had to resign and cough up fines. She ran against an incumbant Governor in the GOP primary... and won (do you know how rarely incumbants lose their own primaries?!?!)! In office she's backed up her talk of reform with geniune ethics reform efforts and with savvy budgeting cuts. On her reformer creds, paint me impressed.
And yes, there is a scandal involving an ex-brother-in-law and the firing of a Public Safety commissioner, but Palin has been cooperating with the legislative investigation and so far it doesn't have the stench of death to it. You'd think McCain's vetting process would have covered this, so this scandal may only involve the freemasons (as long as Illuminati doesn't get dragged into this, we'll be fine...)
The only other question I have about this pick is, well, how gimmicky it feels. I've noticed in the past few weeks how McCain's people were trying to drive a wedge between the Democrats especially via Hillary Clinton's still-vocal women supporters. If they think getting a woman Veep candidate might bring the Clinton PUMAs over to the Republicans, well, McCain's crew forgot two things: 1) The PUMAs don't care if they're asked to support a woman candidate or not, they only care that the candidate has to be HILLARY!!1!1OMG! (which was why Obama's reported consideration of Gov. Sebelius wasn't swaying the PUMA crowd), and 2) will Palin really reflect towards womens' issues, which tend toward a) equal pay, b) child care and education, c) and abortion rights? Just being a "Hockey Mom" alone won't convince women voters among the independents and the Democrats to switch over to the Republican ticket.
This was a nice choice for McCain, but still underwhelming. The good news is this is better than going with Romney or Giuliani. I would've felt disappointed if it was Huckabee, but not surprised. Still and all, not impressed with either Veep choice: yet another reason why I feel the need for a Vice President is no longer there...