"Under no circumstances will I entertain such a proposal." — John McCain, when asked by Dan Rather if he would consider being George W. Bush's vice presidential running mate in 2000.
And so the war between Bush and McCain began. For the past eight years we've seen Bush and McCain rear their ugly heads in battle over campaign finance reform and other issues that have virtually alienated McCain from the conservative wing of the Republican Party.
The raging war between Bush and McCain is important to note, because McCain's surprise choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for a vice presidential running mate is far less about securing the support of the people and far more about spiting a hostile White House, with which McCain has been embroiled in battle since he challenged Bush in the 2000 presidential primary and lost.
So why choose Sarah Palin?
McCain has had no personal or professional relationship with Palin. He's met her once prior to asking her to run the free world if he happens to kick the bucket while in office. She brings with her more baggage than can fit into the overhead compartment, not the least of which is a pending investigation into possible abuse of power, which, ironically, is the same charge being levied against the Bush administration by Congress. McCain faces far more problems with Palin on the ticket than with a more conservative choice. Here are a few thoughts to consider:
- Conservative stay-at-home moms will wonder why Palin — who has four children still living at home, one of whom is newly born with Down Syndrome — is willing to leave her precious children 90 percent of the time while she goes to meetings, travels around the globe and plays war games.
- Conservative white men will question why McCain dragged this cute fireball female down from up north in an attempt to make her the Republican version of Hillary Clinton, whom they despise.
- Many of Hillary's die-hard radical fanatics who hate Obama won't be fooled into supporting this woman solely based on her ovaries when her politics differ so much from their own (still some said they were willing to support McCain though the same political premise persists).
- Palin brings to the table virtually no beneficial constituency to the campaign. Her very presence in the campaign steers onlookers away from the issues and into her youthful 44-year-old former beauty queen eyes. Her presence also forces McCain strategists to jettison the core of his attack campaign, which is to charge Barack Obama with being "dangerously inexperienced" and unfit to be Commander in Chief. Of course, Palin is far less so.
So, why did John McCain choose Sarah Palin to be his second in command? The answer is simple.
McCain hates Bush.
McCain's choice of Palin is the dropping of a nuclear bomb on the Bush White House. It is a spiteful old man launching a gritty attack on his old nemesis in full view of a completely clueless constituency.
It is also political suicide. Deliberately so.
When this presidential race began nearly two years ago, McCain didn't have the support of the White House. But Hillary did.
When McCain decided to run, he found himself in a race flooded with virtually every candidate the Republicans could find, running the entire spectrum of Republican leanings from conservative to liberal. That's by design. Since the White House runs the Republican Party, McCain knew he wouldn't find much help from the RNC. Still, he persisted.
But the cold hard reality is: I don't think McCain truly wants to be president.
He doesn't talk like a man with vision. He doesn't walk like a man on a mission. He doesn't relate to ordinary Americans. He doesn't offer new ideas and specific methodologies and policies that set him apart from the current administration, which has the lowest level of public support in history. McCain's campaign lacks compassion, enthusiasm and honest integrity. McCain seems tired and lackluster, barely able to keep up with the constant barrage of notes, speeches and whirlwind travels. He's not leading. He's being led. And McCain's not passionate about being president.
McCain does, however, want to beat Bush. He wants to beat him … bad.
And that's why McCain is running. That's why he put his hat into the ring and persevered despite low funds and a reluctant RNC that finally jumped on his bandwagon after everyone else had left the ring and McCain was the last man standing.
But McCain isn't trying to beat Barack Obama. He's trying to beat Bush.
And McCain is well aware that the fix was in to put Hillary into the Oval Office. That machine was assembled several years ago. With Hillary in the White House, the Clintons would resume the two-family system of leadership over the next eight years, extending the Bush-Clinton dynasty to a whopping 36 straight years in the White House!
Of course, Obama was an unpredictable impediment to the carefully prepared and orchestrated political process that banked on Hillary being the Democratic nominee for president. Now, that she isn't, the White House has to re-think what it will do. It doesn't want John McCain, though it seems to be stuck with him for now … and McCain is well aware of that fact.
Nevertheless, everyone has to smile and play nice for the cameras. The RNC had to put its forces and faith in McCain once he knocked everyone else out. It had to do whatever would be necessary to convince the Republican faithful that McCain, and whoever he decided to choose for his running mate, is good for America.
McCain is well aware of his new-found power. It took him a long time to get in the driver's seat. All those years of eating humble pie have made him anything but humble. It is now McCain's turn to devastate the Bush administration with a blow to its corrupt heart. And the choice of Sarah Palin was a brilliant strategic move aimed at hurting the Bush White House and the power of the RNC.
McCain's devastating attack at the core of the Bush political strategy was to simply throw in the towel. Take a dive. After beating out all of those Republican contenders, McCain stands alone at the top of the list. And he alone has the ability to completely sabotage his own campaign. And he did.
McCain knew he had to divide the Republican Party with a veep candidate which the RNC could not quickly mitigate, garner widespread support and develop a consensus. McCain did just that. Despite all of its efforts, the RNC will have high drama over Sarah Palin at its convention, and after. The smiles won't be enough to hide the disappointment in many of the rank and file.
But McCain will be genuinely happy. He is aware more than most that the White House was assisting the Clintons in their bid to defeat the Obama CHANGE machine. McCain knew how angry the White House was with Bill and Hillary for blowing the deal. And McCain knows that the very last thing the Bush family is willing to do is turn over its White house to a Black president.
And that's exactly what McCain is trying to do.
In doing so, McCain is setting up Bush to be ridiculed and lambasted by his own circle of blue-blooded aristocratic elitists — some of whom are ardent racists who would rather kill than see this nation come under the leadership of a black man, regardless of his political ideals.
Some may recall the arrest of ultra conservative Republican Alan Keyes, who is a former U.N. Ambassador. Keyes was arrested in 1996 when he tried to attend a Republican debate to which he had originally been invited. When his invitation was rescinded, Keyes showed up anyway, only to be arrested at the behest of his own political party. Keyes is a black man whose conservative oratory puts every Republican he debates to shame. Again, he was an Ambassador to the U.N. under the conservative god of the Republican Party, Ronald Reagan. But even that distinction meant nothing to the RNC. He was a black man with a big mouth who didn't know when to sit down and shut up. So, the RNC watched while Keyes was carted away.
Today's presidential election is an amalgamation of years of conflict between two men — George W. Bush and John McCain. And though McCain has lost many battles with Bush over the past eight years, he may very well win the war in 2008.
McCain's choice of Palin as his running mate was a move that ends this protracted chess match. No, it's not checkmate. But, McCain just tipped over his King, which signals resignation. Game over.
Now what will the White House do to prevent Obama from sitting in the seat of ultimate American power? I don't know. But I think John McCain will be smiling in his ring-side seat watching the Bush-Cheney-Rove machine's maniacal machinations maneuver frantically to adjust to his final brilliant move that will obliterate the effort to again replace Bush with Clinton.