DAY 11. The "My Very First Decision as Nominee" Tour continues
Just over one week has now officially passed since John McCain gave lie to his insistence that he always Puts America First, and would never ever do anything just to win an election. That he would rather lose.
America now has the chance to grant his wish.
But just to be clear -- admire her wide-eyed claim that "victory is near" in Iraq or cringe for America's safety, John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin to be a heartbeat from becoming commander-in-chief is NOT about Sarah Palin, no matter how gut-wrenchingly unqualified she is to be vice president. Indeed, being honest, her actual resume suggests she's unqualified even to be governor. However, in California we selected the Terminator, so it's not like I can call out others.
The good news is that she does appear qualified to be mayor of a hamlet with 5,500 people (at the time). Of course, so are most of the other 5,499 residents. I say this as someone from a village of 8,762.
No, the issue of John McCain's choice to be vice president is about John McCain.
It focuses on his age, it focuses on his serious health issue, it focuses on his judgment selecting a 19-month governor with zero foreign policy experience to be vice president over every other choice in the Republican Party - both women and men - and above all it focuses on his posturing insistence that he puts America first, rather than putting it at risk.
It also focuses on the McCain vetting process. The fired Public Safety Commissioner suing Ms. Palin wasn't even called by the McCain campaign. Neither was the state senator heading the investigation. Alaska's former Speaker of the House, a Republican, told the NY Times, "I have not been able to find one person who was called." The McCain campaign didn't go through archives of the Wasilla hometown newspaper, the Valley Frontiersman.
If you were hiring a plumber, you'd do a better job vetting.
This is the same lazy, lack of curiosity we saw in the Bush administration that got us tangled into the Iraq War without listening to arguments and without being curious how we'd get out. Americans know the importance of this now -- which is why George Bush has a 29% approval. And why Republicans expect to get swamped in the House and Senate.
And this lack of curiosity is a hallmark of John McCain. He doesn't know his voting record on women's issues. ("I'll have to check with my staff.") He doesn't know how many houses he owns. He acknowledges not knowing much about the economy. But you don't get out of national debt with lazy curiosity. You don't get out of a housing crisis with intellectual laziness, nor out of Iraq. It's the next logical step from a campaign that views the economy as "strong" and calls Americans a "nation of whiners" to select Sarah Palin and her insistence that the Iraq War is a mission from God. And what comes after this?
Seeing Republicans trying to explain why the 19-month governor of Alaska is such a brilliant choice is a lesson in performance art. It's like watching dancing bears at the circus: you know they're absolutely miserable, but you still can't help enjoying how they look in those funny hats.
Honestly, who here thinks that in private Lindsay Graham, Mitt Romney, Christine Todd Whitman, Olympia Snowe, Rudy Giuliani, Kay Bailey Hutchison (or Peggy Noonan or Mike Murphy...), or any ranking Republican leaped for joy when hearing that John McCain nominated Sarah Palin as vice president? They were probably too busy searching the Internet to find out who she was. Hey, even Sarah Palin's mother-in-law isn't sure she should be VP and is considering voting for Barack Obama!
(Cute side note for detail buffs: after firing the Public Safety Commissioner, for which she's being investigated -- the replacement who Sarah Palin appointed only lasted two weeks. He resigned when earlier complaints of sexual harassment against him were made public. Apparently, Sarah Palin vetted the Public Safety Commissioner as poorly as the McCain campaign vetted her.)
Sarah Palin couldn't manage her 5,500-person hamlet without them having to bring in an administrator to help. The first time ever in Wasilla.
In truth, I don't argue with anyone defending Mr. McCain's selection. If they don't believe a problem exists, they can't fix it. If Republicans want to ignore reality and keep driving their new truck into a brick wall, it's their truck.
But I mainly don't argue with anyone contorting themselves to defend Sarah Palin because that's deflecting the issue. This decision is about John McCain.
John McCain made his first executive decision as the Republican nominee for president. And he chose Sarah Palin to be his vice president. Over every other choice, with substance.
It's about John McCain selecting a person who doesn't know herself if she's qualified. "I still can't answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day," Sarah Palin cheerfully told CNBC only a month ago. But the worse part is that she didn't even bother to find out on her own. She was waiting for someone else to "answer" for her. Hey, that's why God created Google. From Bush to McCain to Palin, the lack of curiosity is appalling.
And all this is why the nominating decision is about John McCain. And only about John McCain. Try defending his VP candidate however you want -- but the effort is wasted breath, you're missing the point. The point is that this all reflects directly on John McCain.
Ultimately, every reflection has to come back to John McCain running for president, having voted with George Bush 95% of the time, and the issues that face America: the economy, housing, leaving Iraq, fighting in Afghanistan, the $482 billion budget deficit, the environment, science, stem cell research, global warming, gas prices, women's right to choose...
And one reflection stands out above all. Because for months John McCain has pompously been standing in front of a flag and lying to the country when he's moaned that He Will Always Put America First. Trying to suggest that his opponent doesn't. But in the end, when he had to step up and make his first national decision, John McCain not only didn't put America first - he didn't even consider America.
He went for GOP evangelical votes.
And put America at risk.