Sarah Palin was hardly the under the radar vice presidential pick that the New York Times and Salon.com will have you believe.
Her appeal of youth, strong socially conservative views and proximity to energy issues in the vast Alaskan wilderness made her a dark horse candidate.
Was Palin the right pick? It depends on your foresight.
The choice of Palin out of relative obscurity is a brilliant very short term move. It takes the spotlight away from what many are initially calling one of the most brilliant convention speeches in American history by Barack Obama and moves towards another historic moment--the first female veep choice in GOP history.
The choice of a unknown, especially in the internet age, is a smart marketing move. Assuredly, Palin has been googled extensively and her webpage has been bombarded. The natural question of 'who is she?' quickly become an exercise in interactive politics.
There are huge problems, though, with McCain's choice that shines a light on his present frame of mind. Palin's state is one of the epicenters of controversial energy policies that McCain hopes to exploit, except she strongly supports a huge natural gas pipelines through her state that McCain opposes.
Did the McCain camp view Obama's choice of Joe Biden as significantly shoring up his perceived lack of experience that they surrendered the point by picking an even more inexperienced politician in Palin?
The issue surrounding McCain that his campaign is choosing to neglect is age. He apparently feels that he relatively advanced age (for a presidential candidate) is such a non-issue that the electorate will not take the extra step in their collective minds to pose the question: Is Palin ready to take his place and more importantly, would America be interested in an overly experienced vice president a la Dick Cheney to run the levers of power in Washington during a Palin administration?
What this pick does not do is make a particularly hard play for Hillary Clinton supporters. Illinois congressmen Rahm Emmanuel is completely correct when he told The New York Times the only similarities between the two is gender. It's inconceivable that a female Clinton supporter would possiblly be interested in an anti-abortion, evangelical Christian. Their hard feelings only run so deep.
One thing is for sure, the upcoming vice presidential debate between the viscereal Biden and the woman once named "Sarah Barracuda" for her tenacious high school basketball style should be political pugilism at its best.