After quite possibly the oddest vice presidential pick since Dan Quayle, the presidential race is now Obama's to win or lose. McCain has effectively silenced his greatest criticism of Obama by selecting someone much less experienced as a running mate. Palin has been the mayor of a city of 9,000 and is now the governor of Alaska, a state of only 680,000 and is run largely at the expense of the U.S. federal government. She has no foreign policy experience and is even younger than Obama. The fact that McCain has put her one step from the presidency shows that he is not as truly concerned with experience as he claims. A vice president needs to be ready to take on the job of the president from day one. It is hard to see how that is possible with someone like Palin.
I hear many people say that McCain is trying to reach out to disaffected Clinton supporters with his choice of Palin. While this may seem plausible because of the fact that she is a women, I would hope that McCain would be smarter and realize the women that supported Hillary are much more savvy than that. The fact that Palin appears to be an arch-conservative and opposes fundamental rights for women (anti-choice, against federal funding for family planning) doesn't lend itself to many Clinton supporters switching sides.
The choice of Palin is likely to raise this issue of the extreme sexism that still exists within the Republican party. The traditional and essentialist roles that are ascribed to women in Republican talking points only show how out of touch the party is with changes in society. I would also not be at all surprised if having a female VP hurts McCain among southern white males. It will also be interesting to see if the media continues its sexist tirades that were so common while Clinton was still in the race.
After a couple rough weeks in the polls, it looks like smooth sailing till November now (don't prove me wrong, Obama!).