Putting Country Last?

Schwenkler makes the counter-argument:

Okay, work with me here. Suppose you’re John McCain. If what you say is to be believed - and why shouldn’t it? - you got into politics because you care about your country, and you think that Barack Obama is a hapless, inexperienced naif whose elevation to the Presidency would put the United States - nay, the entire civilized world and the cause of freedom in it - in grave danger. You think, in other words, that it is only if you are elected that this danger can be averted, the terrorists destroyed or dispersed, and the cause of democracy preserved.

Got that? You’re John McCain, and that’s what you think. Now why in the world, in an election as close as this one, would you select anyone as your Vice Presidential candidate other than the person who gives you the best chance to win?

And so why in the world would the decision to the person who does give you such a chance - or whom you at least take to give you such a chance - show that you had opted to “choose your campaign over your presidency”? You won’t HAVE a Presidency unless you can run a successful campaign, and up against the Obama juggernaut there’s no room to pull punches: if Palin gives you the best chance to win, and the cost of failure is civilizational collapse, then Palin it’s going to be.

Sure, but what if, as a 72 year-old man, you have a health crisis or even die in office. That's a totally reasonable scenario. No one on McCain's staff even argues she's ready to take over, or even close to it. It's also silly to believe that only by taking this massive gamble on a total unknown could McCain have a chance. He's been running pretty even with Obama until very recently. This pick is an enmorous risk for his campaign and an even more enormous risk for the country.

After the last eight years, do we really want a president who takes massive gambles, consulting with a tiny core of loyalists, without thinking through the consequences, and who hires unknown and untested people to run a government already badly mismanaged because they help his political coalition.

This is the third term of George W. Bush - with less caution.