It seems ridiculous that we put our presidential candidates through a 2 year vetting process, and then accept that the second in command can just appear out of nowhere, 2 months before the election. Sure, constitutionally the Veep has only 2 jobs, president of the Senate (which boils down to casting an occasional tie-breaking vote) and becoming the president in the event of the president’s demise. But in the wake of Dick Cheney, the VP role has vastly expanded. And there is always the possibility of stepping in for the president, witness Gerald Ford and Lyndon Johnson among others. One would think the risk of this happening would be even greater in the case of a 73 year-old president.
So after untold numbers of primaries, caucuses, stump speeches, etc. we have our 2 presidential candidates. The VP candidates, who could also end up as president, are appointed by the presidential candidates. No elections — about as undemocratic as you can imagine. Given this tradition, it is reassuring when, as usually happens, a known quantity is selected, as in Obama selecting Joe Biden. He’s been around for a long time, and, disagree with his policies if you will, at least you know what his policies are, and know what kind of person he is. McCain, apparently on the spur of the moment, selected a total unknown, Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska. Sure, we now all “know” her, after all, she read a speech at the convention quite adroitly. Self-deprecating, she was not. She puffed up her thin resume and dissed Obama’s community service. So far she has not agreed to any interviews with the press. When she does, it will undoubtedly be an “exclusive” with Fox News. But don’t you dare criticize her, for that is blatant sexism.
The real problem is, with less than 2 months until the election, there is no way any of us will get to know her like we know Obama, Biden, or McCain. I see this as a flaw in our political system which McCain has exploited, and it angers me that he would select someone for VP who even his supporters are unwilling to say is ready to be president on day one. To expose our country at such a dangerous time to such risk is breathtakingly reckless.