Balancing The Tickets

A reader writes:

You’re talking about the war, but as you’ve pointed out numerous times, it’s winding down on its own. The pick of Palin doesn’t show that McCain doesn’t take it seriously… it tells us that he’s going to make this election about energy. It’s a winning issue for him, and that’s Palin’s speciality. Who can speak with more authority on ANWR than the Governor of Alaska?

Conservative pundits tried to blunt the Biden choice by saying it undermines Obama’s message of change. It doesn’t, of course, because Obama for better or worse, embodies the idea at this point. Similarly, no running mate can genuinely undermine McCain’s experience on foreign policy. Let us not forget that, young or not, she’s the only one of the four people on either ticket with genuine executive experience.

You can’t have it both ways: either both choices undermine something the candidates have touted about themselves, or they cannot overshadow the man at the top of each ticket. My vote is for the latter on both counts.

The war on Jihadist terror is not winding down, whatever the lull in Iraq might suggest; it's very much here and on the horizon. I also don't believe that drilling for oil is going to win the election. In fact, it's insane that it should win the election. It's fine, even important, as part of a longer-term energy diversification policy. But I don't see how a focus on drilling for oil is going to win over independents in an era of petrol-fueled-wars and climate change.

And yes, there's always a balance between a president's qualities and a vice-president's. That's why Obama picked Biden. It's why Bush picked Cheney. But a future vice-president in war time should have some record of even interest in foreign policy. And, yes, my error in the last post says it all: she's had two years of executive experience as governor of a state with not many more people than the District of Columbia.

I reserve judgment of this pick until we see her and him together. And I can see the sense of it from television's angle, from diversity's angle, and from the change angle. She may well also be a great pick for the future of the GOP. But, still ...