As usual, Jon Stewart homes in on the cynicism: is criticizing Sarah Palin sexist? and is John McCain a Reformed Maverick? Mainstream columnists hone in on the recklessness of choosing a vice-president based on how she sounds. But the more I think about this, the less I believe that his choice was reckless or cynical. Perhaps McCain is a right-wing zealot?
As you can probably tell from my blog posts, McCain's selection of Sarah Palin has pushed me from undecided to almost-definitely voting for the Democratic ticket. What sealed the deal was that McCain has redacted every one of the stands he took that differentiated him from the incompetence of Bush. Including torture, the moral issue in this election. On one of the few issues that Palin mentioned in her speech, she swiped at Obama for offering basic human rights to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
I could support McCain as long as I believed that he was a centrist. I was never quite convinced by the Obama's attempts to tie McCain with Bush. But John McCain has made me a believer -- so on this, again, Obama's shown superior judgment. In 2000, McCain was talking about the dangers of outlawing abortion; now he wants the government to outlaw it. He used to be against the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy; now he wants to keep them even as our nation's competitiveness erodes. He changed from someone who decried the incompetence of the Bush administration to, well, choosing someone who needs 3 weeks of cramming for her first press conference. He went from calling Robert Falwell an agent of intolerance to speaking at his university. I thought he was merely making noises towards the right, but that he would govern from the center. But his choice of vice-president has shown that he is not a centrist.
If McCain wins after this genuflection to right-wing nut jobs, say hello to the insanity of the first six Bush-Cheney-Gonzalez-Rumsfeld years, and good-bye to the steady-as-she-goes approach of Robert Gates and his crowd of grown-ups. It's the difference between an extreme-right-wing administration and a center-right one. McCain has now shown conclusively which side of the Republican party he favors.