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Submitted by Kevin Wuzzardo on Fri, 08/29/2008 - 12:00pm.
First of all, congratulations to Barack Obama and John McCain. Though their running mate selections leaked out shortly before they became official, they were pretty well kept secrets. And that's saying something in this day and age of news coverage. And now that we know all four of the candidates, things are even more interesting than they were.
Last night Obama made history by becoming the first African-American to accept a major party's nomination. Today Sarah Palin also made history by becoming just the second woman to be named to a major party ticket, following only Geraldine Ferraro, who was Walter Mondale's Vice Presidential nominee in 1984. Regardless of who you vote for and what you think of any or all of the candidates, you must pause to consider that in 67 days, there will be someone in the highest ranks of leadership in this country who looks nothing like anyone we've seen in those positions before.
Obama picked Joe Biden, a respected member of Congress for more than 30 years, to be his running mate because Obama needed someone with experience in Washington and in foreign affairs. McCain had those areas covered on his own. Instead, he picked Palin, a mother of five and governor of the state about as far away from Washington as you can get and still be in the United States, because he needed someone who is, well, not an old white guy. They were both interesting picks, though McCain's is surely a bigger gamble than Obama's.
As I wrote earlier, the VP is largely an inconsequential office and person in the grand scheme of things. But there is little doubt they often play a significant role in the fall campaign. I think the dynamic Palin creates, most significantly the possible courtship of women who voted for Hillary Clinton and who felt left out by Obama's Democratic victory, is far greater than what Biden generates; but it could backfire when she must match up with Biden's relatively vast experience.
One thing is sure, though: The Palin selection has knocked Obama's critically-acclaimed acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention from the spotlight after just a matter of hours. Will the gamble pay off for McCain? Or will the voters he hopes to lure view this merely as a thinly-veiled stunt that could actually push them more toward Obama? There are somehow many more questions than we had even earlier this morning about how this election will play out, and certainly more than if the Republican VP nominee were someone like Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty. But they are questions that will be fun to watch answered.
History will be made this fall one way or another. Don't miss your chance to be part of it.
By: Kevin Wuzzardo