Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain Chooses Sarah Palin

A few days ago I wrote about the likely choices of McCain for VP and although I mention Sarah Palin as an excellent possibility, I didn't see her in the final four. In fact, we heard little about her in the final weeks. Of my final four, I felt the number one choice would be a woman. It just happen to be the wrong one (Kay Bailey Hutchinson). Close, but no cigars.

I didn't expect Palin because I must have underestimated McCain. I thought he needed a woman to attract unhappy Hillary Democrats. But I thought that he would have his concern for experience (Palin is in her first term as Governor and was a mayor before), age (she is younger than Obama at 44), and the lack of electoral votes in Alaska (the least a state can have at 3) would work against her. In spite of these issues, I thought Palin was a dream candidate.

McCain, who is in his 70s, needed to prove he could make a bold move. He is known as a "maverick" and it has largely paid off over the years. I don't believe this will be an exception.

McCain needed someone with executive experience on the ticket. As a Governor, Palin knows how to lead government and not merely criticize it (which is about all Members of Congress do). Even though I predicted that Obama would choose Sen. Biden days before the announcement, I certainly think he could have been aided by a running mate with gubnatorial experience.

McCain needed a woman. I don't believe anything short of a woman or a minority would be acceptable in this election year. A woman, in light of the Democrat's problems with Hillary, was particularly helpful.

McCain needed to shore up his Conservative support. Palin certainly knows how to do that. She is one of the most conservative women in electoral politics today. She is pro-family and pro-life and can talk about such with the experience of having had a child with Down Syndrome. When the Democratic men try to talk with empathy about the challenges women can face with pregnancy, she certainly has a trump card.

A nice aside would be if McCain could find someone who could talk authoritatively about the Republican's strongest wedge issue -- energy. Who better than the governor of the state that the Democrats want to protect from drilling, yet she argues that such must be pursued.

This choice puts the Democrats on notice that they are no longer the only ones poised to make history this November.

Kevin Price's articles are found daily in national publications such as USA Today, Chicago Sun Times, and Reuters. Subscribe to his newsletter here.

Kevin Price is Host of the Houston Business Show (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review.

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