McCain's arrogant choice:
TNR: It may be John McCain's birthday, but it seems like he's the one giving out gifts today. The selection of Palin doesn't simply, as others have pointed out, undermine the notion that Obama is too inexperienced to be president; it gives Obama the chance to actually take the edge on national security while making John McCain's age a central issue of the campaign.
Whatever the political calculations involved in picking a veep, the most important qualification for the vice presidency is the ability to assume the presidency in a crisis. Given that of the last 12 presidents, three have either died or resigned, this is hardly a hypothetical consideration--in fact, given that McCain is 72, it is a very real consideration. Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, and Gerald Ford all faced multiple foreign policy crises immediately upon assuming office, whether it was the onset of the Cold War, the North's invasion of South Korea, the Vietnam War, or the withering of détente and the resulting increase in nuclear tension with the Soviet Union. The next president will have to finish the denuclearization of North Korea; prevent the nuclearization of Iran; organize a departure from Iraq that maintains some level of stability; defeat a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan; establish, nurture, and make the most of a relationship with Pakistan's new leaders; and confront a revanchist Russia while preserving and enhancing its cooperation on nonproliferation and climate change--to say nothing of working with India, China, or our allies.
Could Sarah Palin conceivably manage this task?