The tale of two VP picks

About a week ago Barack Obama announced he’d selected Senator Joe Biden to be his running mate. To say the least, I was underwhelmed. I felt that Obama had a real chance to shoot the moon with a really progressive pick. My pick? Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City. Ask any New Yorker how much they love their mayor and you’ll get an idea of the type of operation Bloomberg runs. 

That being said, Biden does bring a few benefits to the table. First, and foremost, his son is serving in Iraq so there’s really no possible way you can say he doesn’t have any idea what’s going on over there. He’s a serious policy wonk with 35 years of Senate experience. He definitely fills the role of attack dog quite nicely and he’s an old white guy, which America seems to love when it comes to politicians. In other words, he was a perfectly reasonable and safe pick to be Obama’s running mate. He offsets many of Obama’s real and perceived weaknesses.

Then you have Sarah Palin, whom John McCain announced would be his running mate a few months ago. She has 20 months of experience as the governor of the 47th largest state by population and started her political career 13 years ago in her local PTA. She’s embroiled in an investigation in her home state about using her influence as governor to have her former brother-in-law fired. To top things off her 17-year-old unwed daughter is five months pregnant (a non-issue if she wasn’t a staunch supporter of abstinence and the removal of sex education from the classroom).

When your party is being embroiled in scandals left and right over abuse of power, considers itself the moral authority of the nation and taunts itself to be the leaders in foreign affairs, you’ve got to ask yourself what the hell John McCain was thinking. At the very least, Palin is a distraction. At the very worst, she’ll kill the entire campaign.So who would I have picked? I’d have thumbed my nose at the Christian conservatives (who else are they going to vote for? Obama?) and went with Tom Ridge or Joe Liberman. Both have solid credentials and would have been able and ready to step in as President if the 72-year-old cancer survivor has health issues. Palin, on the other hand, has arguably less administrative experience than 46 other governors and 16 major US cities (all have larger populations than the entire state of Alaska).

Pretty much no matter which way you slice this, objectively speaking, Palin was a horrible pick for a running mate. Karl Rove would have never let this happen if he were still involved heavily in campaigning.