"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.