Why did McCain Pick This Woman Above All the Rest?

Sarah Palin isn't stupid. Her performance at the Republican convention was masterful. Evidently, after George W. Bush, Republicans think the American voter will buy anything. As for me, I simply find Palin's position on the veep ticket depressing.

The title of this post is the question readers over at my blog are asking. It's a good one, but there isn't any good answer to it; nothing that makes me, at least, feel any better. The GOP played the central casting role, something like they did with Bush. Yep, depressing.

The first woman involved since Geraldine Ferraro, going back almost 25 years, and all we're hearing from the pundits is that Biden has to be careful how he treats Sarah Palin. Don't want to sound too smart. How he has to talk about McCain, something I've said myself, letting Palin just yak-yak-yak, because he can't afford to be too hard on her. Turn on any channel from CNN to Fox to MSNBC, and the one thing you won't hear is how excited people are to see a debate of equals. That's because when McCain picked Palin that possibility went out the window.

A month ago, voters rated Palin as highly as they did McCain or his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, but after weeks of intensive coverage and several perceived missteps, the shine has diminished.

...In the new Post-ABC poll, Palin matches the Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., on empathy, one of McCain's clear deficits against Obama, while fewer than half of voters think she understands "complex issues."

Again, it's depressing.

Can you imagine pundits talking about how Joe Biden needed to be careful not to show off with, say, Hillary Clinton? How he should be gentlemanly, but be careful not to be condescending or sound arrogant or like a know it all. Can't upstage the female too badly now, boys. Not a chance. People would be saying that Biden better show up with his A game, because if he doesn't Clinton will clean his clock.

No matter what Palin does tonight, with the bar set low because of her own abysmal performances with Couric and elsewhere, the only goal she has is to stop the bleeding. Because no matter what she does tonight it's more than clear that after boosting McCain at first, she's now the dead weight that is helping weigh him down. On judgment, through the Palin pick, McCain looks pathetic at this point. Stop the bleeding, that's Palin's job tonight.

With Palin, many women (men too) are simply hoping she gets through the debate without making a fool of herself, and by association of gender ruin the chances of every other politically savvy professional woman who has been working for years to get a shot. Palin does for women in politics and serious issues like national security what the burlesque bimbo did for the baggy pants comic back in the day. They're necessary to distract and offer something good to look at, but can't offer much else. Or worse, the comic's punchline, which is what she's now become.

So, after all these years waiting to have a female on the national ticket again, we've got one, but she's not up to the task. Worse still, the man who represents the other side, our side, is expected to tip toe around her, because any remark half-way cutting or too smart could reduce her to a blithering idiot. No, strike that, she shows up that way. Poor Sarah.

No one is saying Sarah Palin can't reach the bar set for her, which is at ground level. Or that she isn't beautiful and charming, as well as being a savvy politician who can swallow certain talking points for the short-term, while having no foundational base of issue knowledge to which she can draw upon later. But vice president? ...or God forbid, president? We've now reached the point, going backwards, where looking the part is all you need, especially for women. It's very depressing.

Taylor Marsh is a political analyst who's been seen on CNN and MSNBC, talk radio personality, and author. Twittering daily.

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