A reader writes:
If I were as big a Palin fan as you have admitted to being, I'd be pretty upset with John McCain right now. Fallows put it best this morning; there's just no way anyone, even someone of considerable intellect and political skill, can come out looking good after being slingshot into the international spotlight so quickly. The intricacies of national and international politics are just way too overwhelming, it takes months to years of careful study to be able to operate on that big a stage without making huge, potentially game changing gaffes.John McCain just took one of the Republican party's top prospects (if not the top prospect) and shot her into a situation in which she (or anyone) is all but bound to fail, all for his own selfish hope that it might help him win this election.I'm about as big an Obama fan as you are for Palin, and if John Kerry had tapped him as his running mate following Obama's 04 convention speech, I'd have been furious.
I wouldn't say I have quite the same Palin-love that progressives had for Obama in '04 ... but yeah, I'm sure this is part of the reason I'm pulling so hard for her to succeed: She's a politician I've liked for a while who's been thrust onto the national stage perhaps before her time, and there's a chance she'll crash and burn in service to a losing Presidential campaign. But I can't say I didn't ask for it! As far back as the winter - in a post responding to Josh Patashnik's argument that in veep-picking, "far and away the most important question is: Is this somebody you want closely identified with your party brand for the next two decades?" - I had this to say:
As far as the GOP's (rather thin) roster of rising stars goes, I think this argument would militate against picking Bobby Jindal and in favor of picking Sarah Palin. Jindal already has a national profile (and a movement-conservative cheering section), and having him as the whiz-kid Republican Governor of post-Katrina Louisiana is arguably better - both for the party and for him - than having him as the (very) junior partner in a weak Republican administration that's facing off against an ascendant Democratic Party. Palin, on the other hand, has no such national profile, and absent unforeseen developments is unlikely to obtain one so long as she's occupying a governor's mansion that's just south of Yellowknife. Like Jindal, she's a great political story, but it's hard to see how that story gets told unless the Palin brand gets taken national somehow - and it might be worth risking subjecting her to the "losing veep's curse" to give her a place on the national stage.