I’m wondering. Is picking a woman as your vice presidential running mate the way a candidate Jumps the Shark? I hope not. I hope picking a female running mate doesn’t guarantee it’s all downhill from here.
While many minor parties, back to 1800s, have nominated women for both President and Vice President, between the two major parties, we have had Geraldine Ferraro and, now, Alaska governor Sarah Palin. Palin is John McCain’s running mate.
Ferraro, a savvy politician, was Walter Mondale’s running mate in 1984. The choice of Ferraro was a gamble, as no female had been on a major party’s top ticket before, but Mondale was 16 points behind Ronald Reagan, so he was reaching for a bump. After her selection, polling was “dead even.” However, in November, Mondale/Ferraro lost in an electoral landslide.
We have the opposite situation here: A very close race, and the choice of a woman for Vice President is supposed to give McCain a bump to clinch the lead and keep it. Palin is little known on the national stage. Even though she’s young, and has been governor for only two years, she’s probably more competent than he imagines, probably smarter, deeper and stronger than he thinks, but I believe all he sees is the gender issue: reach out to the disappointed supporters of Hilary Clinton. It’s cynical of me, but I think he’s chosen her strictly for that reason. If he wanted a woman of proven competence, he might have at least looked at Elizabeth Dole.
We’ll see in November how it pans out.