09/02/2008 12:18 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Candidate McSwervy

It says a lot that McCain initially wanted either Lieberman or Ridge but - when opposed by the far right- he didn't use his power as the party nominee to force them into line and he didn't look for a reasonable compromise, say someone more acceptable but with similar credentials. Instead, he reached out four time zones away into the dark heart of the last frontier and pulled out Governor Palin, a woman we really know very little about except for one thing: she shares practically nothing in common with the two he originally wanted.

Now, there's either something slightly spiteful or completely out of control in his behavior. Really, it's hard to tell which and maybe it's both. For some reason he brings to mind one of those muttering septuagenarians stuck behind the wheel of some canary yellow '72 El Dorado that's swerving through the streets of Tucson, denting parked cars all along the way before it finally screeches in for the early bird special. You can almost hear him banging his silverware while shouting, "What?! I'm too late for pancakes? Too late for waffles?! Okay, well how 'bout some goddamned goats head soup served with the sizzling eyeballs perched right on top, yeah, mix me up some of that, ya' moron!"

No matter what your politics, it's all enough to make you worry for the state of our democracy. In fact, this whole Republican convention is probably going to be reminiscent of finding your half-dressed, slightly deranged grandfather all tangled up in extension cords in the midst of some haphazard, poorly thought through home repair project. McCain hoped that by firing up the handy hot glue gun from the garage, he could somehow just bond his independent and libertarian wing of the party onto that other wing, you know, the mighty herd of global warming denialists, evolution denialists, reproductive rights opponents and abstinence teachers (though clearly not the best of abstinence teachers.)

In the end, all I can say is that if this is how he works with his colleagues and his party to choose his vice president, I dread to think of how McCain would work with the Joint Chiefs in deploying our armed forces ("Okay, no consensus on Iraq? Well then, screw it, we're invading St Petersburg!") or how he would navigate our global financial position ("Difficulty with the dollar? Forget it folks, now we're trading in puka shells!") or how he would deal with a host of issues he might face as president ("Didn't see that comin', did ya, suckers! ...Uh oh.")

Palin might be a nice woman but she's an absolutely terrible pick for Vice President. But much, much worse is the way McCain went about making this critical choice. Yes, it sure shows feisty maverick gumption, but so does running around the yard in the middle of the night wearing nothing but your boxer shorts while you're busily setting off fireworks. It doesn't show the thoughtful, clear-headed stewardship of a true leader and, as the next few weeks will undoubtedly show, it was far from Presidential.