Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.
The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
Prisoners of Azkaban
Friday, August 29, 2008
Over what I think of as the modern era in politics, roughly since TV took over the process circa 1960, there have been four Hail Mary VP picks - that is, attempts to go with somebody who wasn't on most candidate lists and was virtually unknown to the country at large.
1968 - Agnew
1972 - Eagleton
1984 - Ferraro
1988 - Quayle
The obvious point that stands out is that every one was a costly failure. In each case, previously unknown and embarrassing information surfaced. Except in the case of Agnew, which surely would have cost Nixon the tight 1968 election if it had come out during the campaign, the material surfaced well before the election.
You could perhaps add to this list the choice of Nixon himself in 1952. That again was a near-disaster, salvaged by Nixon with a rather mawkish speech that was a triumph in 1952, but would almost certainly be laughed off the stage in our more cynical era.
With Palin, we may not even need new info. The existing scandal over the firing of her sister's ex-husband in the midst of a nasty divorce could easily get quite embarrassing well before November. And her obvious lack of experience undercuts McCain's most powerful argument against Obama. This looks pretty clearly like a desperate pick, showing McCain's unhappiness with the alternatives and his understanding that, for all the ink being spilled about his improving poll numbers, he is in real trouble from the damage Bush has done to the Republican brand.
Still, one more bit of history should be noted. We now definitely know that next year, for the first time ever, the president and VP will not both be white males.