<i>Game Change</i>... God's Work?

Sarah Palin said being selected as McCain's running mate was "God's plan." (Though His hand was certainly missing in the answers she was soon to give in television interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric).
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In their unsourced but verisimiltudinous book, Game Change, full of confidences and quotes from a number of our nation's most prominent men and women, authors John Heinemann and Mark Halperin recount the incredible seat-of-the-pants process by which Sarah Palin was chosen to be a heartbeat away from the presidency of the United States. Not only did the episode reveal that Sarah Palin was unfit for the presidency, it also made clear that McCain and his immediate advisers were unfit for choosing a vice president.
Sarah Palin was an eleventh-hour choice, chosen less than a week before the opening of the Republican Convention in August 2008. McCain and his advisers didn't know what they were getting into. They assumed that Governor Palin would have the average knowledge of the outside world that a typical governor of an American state would have. (But she was up on the frontier).
In choosing a vice-presidential candidate, McCain wanted to create a "game change" - a startling move that would change the momentum of the campaign. His first choice was his sidekick Joe Lieberman, a fellow Iraq war hawk, but Lieberman, it was judged by Republican party leaders, was too liberal on domestic issues, especially the fact that he was pro-choice on abortion.
And so, extremely late in the game, Palin was chosen from a list of prominent women nationally. She was flown to Arizona and subjected to a cursory interview by McCain aides Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter, and then by McCain himself. McCain gave her the green light. She was, after all, very attractive. She had what Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, used to refer to as "malicious animal magnetism."
On the plane from Arizona to Dayton, Ohio, where the announcement of the vice-presidential choice was to be made, Schmidt asked Palin how she managed to remain unruffled through the traumatic changes of the past few days. She replied, with preternatural calm, that it was "God's plan." (God's hand was certainly missing in the answers she was soon to give in television interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric).
One may ask, How can a God care for -- or not care for -- each and every one of the nearly seven billion inhabitants of the planet? It defies imagination, or at least human imagination. Yet Sarah Palin is not alone in thinking she has a special place in God's concerns.
But then, maybe God is more attentive to elect categories of people -- in this case, evangelical (pentecostal?) Christians.
That's still a heckova lot of people to look after.

Charles Cogan was the chief of the Near East South Asia Division in the Directorate of Operations of the CIA from August 1979 to August 1984. From September 1984 until July 1989 he was CIA Chief in Paris. He is currently an Associate at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School. His most recent book, "La République de Dieu," (Éditions Jacob-Duvernet, 2008), is a collection of essays on the idea of God; on evangelism ("La République de Dieu"); on Islamic fundamentalism ("L'Islam médiéval"); followed by chapters analyzing a number of conflicts between the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world.

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