It seems I was right. Who thought it possible.
I think Palin is a brilliant pick for McCain. As I said on Tuesday:
In addition to the candidates I've named as possibilities for the spot, I'd like to add Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska. A lot may depend on the result of today's primary where the state's Lieutenant Governor, and Palin protogé, is running against the incumbent Republican for the right to run for the U.S. House of Representatives. Palin may be reluctant to accept the veep nomination if it means both her and Sean Parnell are running for national office which would mean, in the event they both won, control of the state would be handed back to the corrupt wing of the Alaska Republican Party she has recently defeated for control (UPDATE: This may not be as big of a concern, Palin's attorney general would succeed as governor, though this individual would arguably be more vulnerable than Palin or Parnell and the idea of both running for national office would still be a concern).According to Jonathan Martin, the Obama people are already mocking her lack of experience. But, I think the Obama campaign might want to note an old proverb about glass houses.
Palin is a strong candidate in a lot of ways. She is a reformer who has beaten down the corruption in Alaska which is so severe it would make most of the dirty tricksters in Washington blush. She is an outsider which will help provide credibility to McCain's argument that he would change how things are done. She is a woman who could help McCain make further inroads into the alienated Clinton voter and who has a compelling life story. The religious right would be totally energized by her candidacy and might turn out in similar-to-2004-numbers for a mother of five who is ardently pro-life.
If the Obama campaign or other Democrats want to criticize her for being inexperienced, McCain can say "I've served my country my whole life, first in the Navy, then in the House and then in the Senate. I want to be your president because I have always put my country first and through my experience, I think I can continue to do that as your president. Senator Obama, an outsider without a lot of experience, is criticizing Governor Palin's experience. Her experience is that of having battled corruption her whole time in public life and as serving as chief executive of a state. Senator Obama's experience consists of giving a popular speech in 2002, getting elected to the Senate in a race that was virtually non-contetested and after a year of few notable accomplishments there announcing his candidacy for president."
McCain's people will ask which is better - a change candidate without the experience to lead who needs to pick a Washington insider as his running mate in order to be sure he can govern or a change candidate with decades of service to country who is able to pick a less experienced running-mate, who has more experience (they could argue) than Obama, who can bring a real outsiders perspective to the West Wing.
First, Sarah Palin is running for vice president, while Obama is running for president. There should be a higher threshold for the latter, but I think that the argument could be made that Palin is nearly as experienced as Obama.
Obama has no experience as a chief executive of any arm of government. Most of Palin's experience is at the executive level. The Obama campaign is mocking that she represented a community of 5-7 thousand people (it grew substantially during her tenure), but Obama's folks should note she led that community, not just represented it, while Obama's experience comes largely from being the non-executive representative of a Senate district with about 60,000 people. When one is discussing the leadership of a country of 300,000,000 people the difference between 6,000 and 60,000 is minute.
So let's do a little bit of a blow-by-blow comparison.
From 1992-1996, Palin was a non-executive member of town council, Obama had no political experience
From 1997-2004, Palin was the chief executive of her town, ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor and served for two years as Ethics Commissioner on the state utility regulator, Obama was a non-executive member of the Illinois Senate and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of representatives
From 2005-2008, Palin continued as chief executive of her town until becoming governor in December 2006 where she has served since, Obama was a non-executive member of the U.S. Senate and after two years ran essentially full-time for president