John McCain's pick of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin was a brilliant tactical stroke. I must say, I was caught off guard by that pick but in retrospect I shouldn't be so surprised. If McCain is anything, he is a tactician. His VP is youthful, to offset his age. She is charismatic, something he lacks to some degree. She is moderate, and helps make the GOP ticket look as such. And of course, being female, McCain just tapped into the largest disaffected group of voters in this country. At this point, all bets are off. Intrade still has Obama at 60% to win, but make no mistake - it is a horse race at this point.
My own feelings are still pro-Obama but are relatively balanced between the two candidates. On economic issues, I side with McCain and always have. On foreign policy issues, the success of the surge and the stabilization of Iraq has turned a foreign policy and humanitarian disaster into a huge benefit - if it can be maintained. Everyone should give McCain props for that. The question we need to ask ourselves is who can best win the war in Afghanistan and who can best reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I believe Obama is still that man, but certainly not by a large margin.
P.S. Republicans should be very careful what they wish for. If Obama loses this election, Hillary Clinton is a guaranteed lock for the Democratic nomination, and probably the presidency, in 2012. The GOP might wish they'd tolerated an Obama for four years when faced with the prospect of another Clinton White House for eight.
****** Addendum ******
So apparently my initial sources might have been inaccurate. Governor Palin may not be a moderate at all. Some of the things I've been reading paint her as a religious right-winger similar to Rick Santorum; teaching creationism in the schools and all of that (BARF). At any rate, my opinion still stands that it was a smart political move on McCain's part. It isn't a decision that appeals to intellectual voters, it is a decision that appeals to spiteful voters. And there are many of them, who will soon realize if they already haven't that an Obama defeat in 2008 guarantees a Hillary Clinton run in 2012.
McCain will lose some ground with independents and moderate Republicans, who were hoping for someone with a strong economic background to complement McCain's obvious weakness in that area. But the truth is, as long as Obama talks like a populist and speaks against free trade, economic-issue voters will still be in McCain's camp. Meanwhile any losses he would have had will be more than offset by the gains in evangelicals and women voters.
There are a lot of people railing that this is a bad decision for the country. Bringing in someone with little experience and putting that person "a heartbeat away" from the Presidency. They point out that it makes a mockery of McCain's campaign slogan, "Country First". I agree with this people. It is a bad decision for the country. But it is undeniably a good decision for McCain's chances of winning the election.