By Ardain Isma
CSMS Magazine Staff WriterNew AnalysisThe selection of Sarah Palin as his VP running mate has sent shockwaves throughout the world and has also sent many Republican insiders soul searching in a grim task to find the wisdom behind McCain’s decision. Although the role of the vice president has never been more than ceremonial, choosing one, especially in a historic race like this one, may prove to be one of the most consequentially defined and, perhaps, one of the most strategic decisions a presidential candidate must make. And for John McCain, who has built his entire case against Obama on the issue of experience, choosing Palin—a little known governor of a populist state with little or no experience in both foreign and domestic affairs was hard to swallow by his own close followers, let alone the country as a whole. For the purpose of all intellectual probity, one must give McCain the benefit of the doubt, assuming that this move was bold in its nature and that its boldness foregrounds on the premise that he is trying to stage a political coup against Barack Obama by offering the still disheartened Clinton followers a consolation on his female pick. This argument is doomed from the start for the political views of most of Clinton female supporters are symmetrically at odds with that of Sarah Palin whose views are those of a staunch conservative out of rack and out of touch with urban America. Insofar, this leaves us with one conclusion: McCain is desperate. His desperation can no longer be hidden under the cloud of political brinkmanship because the election is just two months away. The entire claim that McCain is a polished politician—gut wrenching and daring—who genuinely favors improvisation was nothing but a ploy enshrined in a myth of presidential readiness and a hoax of “highly qualified commander-in-chief.” Having said that, one must also be forced to assume that this so-called close race being trumpeted in the mainstream media is not so close after all. It is designed for infomercial in a sleazy move to crate a frenzy thereby boosting their ratings. That assertion was echoed by political analysts Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris in a lengthy article published Saturday outlining six tangible reasons behind McCain’s choice. The truth is that, according to Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris, “McCain is essentially tied or trailing in every swing state that matters — and too close for comfort in several states, such as Indiana and Montana, that the GOP usually wins pretty easily in presidential races. On top of that, voters seem very inclined to elect Democrats in general this election — and very sick of the Bush years.” The truest of all is that the psychological mood of the majority of voters this election cycle is pointed to be Democratic. And VandeHei and Harris went on to say that “McCain could easily lose in an electoral landslide. That is the private view of Democrats and Republicans alike.” Let’s say that McCain has taken a gamble by choosing Sarah. But one gambles only where self-confidence is non existent; and that the gamble not only exposes McCain’s vulnerability but also proves that he is willing to risk it all, even the risk of taking the “experience or inexperience” issue off the table in a diehard hope of winning disenchanted independent women whom many experts believe could decide the election. Since this is a gamble, if it does not work—and it is highly unlikely it will—the implication could be disastrous for the Republican candidate. It could very well trigger a backlash that neither McCain nor his entire Republican machine will be able to overcome. On top of that, the entire eastern and the bid business establishments, in other word those who effectively decide election outcomes, are by all indications solidly behind Obama—the man they regard as most presentable in selling America’s positions abroad at a time the country’s image is all but tarnished overseas.
Division within the Republican Party?
McCain’s choice may have also created a rift between the strategists within the Republican camp. In an interview on Fox News Saturday, when asked how well McCain and Palin knew each other, McCain’s campaign spokeswoman Nancy Pfotenhauer was blunt. “You’re running flat into the wall of my ignorance here … I truly have no indication whatsoever the extent of a relationship that exists with the governor of Alaska.” The truth is McCain only spoke with Palin about the vice presidency for the first time on Sunday, and that he was seriously considering Lieberman until days before, which prompts some observers to call McCain an “erratic egotist” who “marches to his own beat.” They met for the first time last February at a National Governors Association meeting in Washington. Then McCain, from his home in Arizona, telephoned Sarah on Sunday while she was at the Alaska state fair. However, those who claimed that the choice was a way to appease voters of the Christian right may also have a case for in a CBS interview on August 8, Southern Baptist political leader Richard Land sent a stern warning to McCain. The choice for the vice presidential pick must be “the most important choice he’s going to make in this entire campaign…. There can be no room for error, no margin for doubt,” said Land. And when pressed on who he thought that person might be, he suggested Sarah Palin. Many social conservatives Catholics also share this sentiment—being pro-life and staunchly anti-abortion. But this core constituency may not be enough to save McCain candidacy in an election season where change is the order of the day. In the end, there is the age factor. On the day he announced his vice presidential candidate, McCain turned 72. May be he wanted to show voters that by choosing someone who is three years younger than Obama and who is a woman, he is strongly committed to the idea of change. If this were to be working, it would render the politic of preemption a major boost in the fight against political pundits who believe that McCain is playing his last card. Palin’s conservative inheritance and whatever baggage she might bring to the table might not be proven big enough to reverse the trend—not in this election cycle. Unless proven otherwise, the choice of Sarah Palin may very well be just another blunder in a candidacy swamped with mishaps and outright flaws. The coming days will be crucial. If the Palin pick does not work, McCain can still bet on another international crisis between now and November to resurrect his foreign policy credentials in a last dish effort to gain the edge over his Democratic rival. Meanwhile, he is rolling the dice and he is waiting—impatiently.Note: Dr. Ardain Isma is the chief editor for CSMS Magazine and the executive director of the Center For Strategic And Multicultural Studies. He also teaches Cross-Cultural Studies at Nova Southeastern University. He is a novelist and the author of several essays on multiculturalism and Caribbean politics. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Also se McCain’s VP pick: A flap?Barack Obama rocked the house last night A text message that kept the world guessing for more than 72 hours As Barack Obama ends his historic trip abroad, serious questions arise over his antiwar credentials Barack Obama rocks the Middle East and Europe Obama’s candidacy and the bittersweet feeling within the African American leadership When will race seize to be the cornerstone of American politic? Hillary Clinton’s Paranoia and the Democrats Dilemma Hillary Clinton wants to clinch the nomination at all costIs Barack Obama unstoppable after his stunning victory in Iowa last week? The Obama campaign plunges deeper into the defensive after the Nevada lost last Saturday