What does matter about Palin? What it tells you about McCain.
Here I’m echoing an emerging consensus, but I think it’s basically right on. First, there are reports appearing now that McCain himself, as well as Lindsay Graham, had been pushing for either Ridge or Lieberman as the running mate, but they were daunted by opposition from anti-abortion Republicans to either choice. If this is true, this tells you that McCain isn’t going to be able to govern as a “maverick” or independent. He’s the nominee, it’s his campaign to run, but he doesn’t feel able to do what he wants.
Second, look at what he does when he’s up against difficulty or opposition: he does something which is wildly impulsive, with almost no planning or forethought. The one thing you could say about the invasion of Iraq is that there was a lot of planning that went into the intention to invade: the evidence now suggests that the Bush Administration came into power with a possible attack on Iraq at the top of their wish list, well before 9/11, and were quick to execute that plan when the opportunity arose. In the current global and domestic situation, I really don’t want someone in the Oval Office who comes up against a difficult and confusing situation and says, “Fuck it, go drop some paratroopers over there. No, I don’t want to do scenarios and planning, I just want to do it. Go.”
The more details about Palin that come out, the more it becomes clear that she is an appalling choice to be a vice-president for a President who has a reasonable chance of becoming ill or dying in office. And the more it becomes clear that the McCain campaign scarcely bothered to vet or review her as a choice. This is another reason why politically no one should talk about her family or personal choices, because there are plenty of other issues. But chiefly, it all comes back to McCain himself, and what this says about the kind of decision-maker he would be as President.