Okay, picture this scenario, if you will.
It's a couple of weeks ago. (Or perhaps... last Friday (see update below)... who knows?) John McCain, his top campaign advisers, the lawyers, and the executive assistants (because we know they don't take their own notes, right?) sit down at a table with Governor Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, to discuss the possibility of naming Governor Palin as McCain's vice presidential running mate. Palin has no federal experience of any kind and she is virtually unheard of outside of inner conservative Republican circles.
During our hypothetical meeting, she proceeds to inform the McCain camp that, though is she is a strict "family values" kind of mom, her 17-year-old daughter is unwed and five months pregnant. Of course, little Bristol Palin will marry the baby's father (who is all of eighteen, and what a fabulous idea that is, eh?) sometime in the immediate future, before the birth of the baby. The Palins then go on to reveal that Palin was, until 1996, when she decided to run for public office, a member of a fringe Alaskan secessionist group seeking national independence for this country's forty-ninth state, that she is currently being investigated for exerting undue influence as governor with regard to the firing of the public safety commissioner after he refused to fire Palin's ex-brother-in-law, who was divorcing Palin's sister. Oh, and also, recently, Palin publically stated that she felt that Iraq was a "war for oil." Oh, and, one more thing... she used to be a fundraiser for indicted Alaskan senator Ted Stephens. And then there's that unfortunately drunk-driving arrest for Todd Palin back in 1991.
Then, picture John McCain and his delegation listening intently and greeting the above news with a hearty, "Hot diggity... we got ourselves a winner! Sign her up!!"
I know... I can't picture it either. Even when I squint really, really hard. So, though I wasn't present at any such meeting, hypothetical or otherwise, I would have to guess that a lot of this newly revealed information on Palin came as a bit of a surprise to Senator McCain. And it also fuels my opinion that McCain's people felt that, if they picked this Republican MILF, they could earn some points with the ragtag Clinton contingent that still cain't brang themselves to vote fer da cuhluhed boy. But it still makes me ask... why Palin in particular?
I have another scenario, equally as hypothetical, which might explain it. Sometime during the Democratic Convention, when it became obvious that, love 'em or hate 'em, Democrats this election year actually have a pulse, Republicans started to break a sweat a bit. One of them came up with the brilliant idea that, if they picked an attractive female VP, tons of former Clinton worshippers would automatically jump ship to the GOP (because one set of ovaries is pretty much just like another). Having little time for actual vetting, they began a frantic search. Why Palin? Maybe they figured that Alaska was so cold and dark, nothing of consequence or scandal really had time to bloom up there. I must admit that I myself was surprised upon hearing that Alaska was so chock-a-block full of Byzantine intrigue and subterfuge. I'm thinking those people are kind of interesting and worth getting to know. I may have to move there. The fact that men outnumber women up there by nearly a third has nothing to do with it.
In any case, it remains to be seen whether any of this will be enough to derail Palin's nomination, particularly since the Republican Convention was cancelled on account of a storm in someone else's backyard. (Amazing that they all care now. They didn't give a flying fandango three years ago last Saturday. The most post-Katrina concern I heard from the GOP was when Barbara Bush worried aloud that Katrina's displaced might decide to settle in Texas, and went on to say that, since many of them were underprivileged anyway, sleeping in cots in the Astrodome was "working out quite well for them"). I remember when Tom Eagleton had to step down as McGovern's running mate in '72 because it came out that he was diagnosed at one point in his life as having been clinically depressed (which used to be called "nervous exhaustion," back in the day). Clinically depressed. In the "Big Picture" scheme of things, "clinically depressed" is starting to look like a walk in the park, isn't it? I'm almost nostalgic for "clinically depressed."
Well, I have to go write now. Seriously, let's keep our minds set on positive thoughts to the people of New Orleans, until Gustav runs completely out of gas and leaves those poor folks be.
Update (2/3/08 - 5:31 pm) - Turns out the vetting was actually last Friday.... I was kidding....