In a miraculous moment in Dayton, Ohio, John McCain announced what may be the most politically significant decision of the new millennium. Faced with many choices and the challenge of a resurgent left, McCain defied all of those who questioned his worthiness as a leader and a candidate and those who worship 'conventional wisdom,' by making the boldest and most courageous choice of a Vice Presidential running mate since William McKinley reluctantly accepted the nomination of Theodore Roosevelt. Out of a field which included many safe choices and many establishment figures, McCain vindicated himself and the hopes of those Republicans who had extended him the benefit of the doubt, by picking Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate.
In his announcement, McCain summarized Palin's career as an innovative governor, an opponent of big business and institutionalized politics, and stressed her background as a mother and a product of a normal middle-class family. Palin is not a child of wealth or a creature of the political establishment. She's as much a maverick as McCain has claimed to be. She comes from a frontier state with a frontier mentality and a love of freedom and individualism which too many Republicans have drifted away from. By picking her, McCain is making a clear statement that he will be running as the political maverick and innovator and reformer he has tried to be rather than the establishment moderate some have accused him of being.
Palin will bring out the best of John McCain and as running mates they will bring out the best of the Republican party and return it to its root values of small government, fiscal responsibility and individual liberty.
Throughout this campaign McCain has been faced with a choice of constituencies to appeal to. He has had to court independents and moderates, the religious right and Republican reformers, all of whom control substantial numbers of votes and strong activist elements. Although always viewed as a long shot and brilliantly concealed by the McCain campaign, in retrospect the Palin selection seems almost inevitable, because she is the only person whose track record and reputation should satisfy the demands of every constituency McCain wants to appeal to.