No one on McCain's staff even argues she's ready to take over, or even close to it. It's also silly to believe that only by taking this massive gamble on a total unknown could McCain have a chance. He's been running pretty even with Obama until very recently. This pick is an enmorous risk for his campaign and an even more enormous risk for the country.
After the last eight years, do we really want a president who takes massive gambles, consulting with a tiny core of loyalists, without thinking through the consequences, and who hires unknown and untested people to run a government already badly mismanaged because they help his political coalition.
This is the third term of Goerge W. Bush - with less caution.
Charlie Black, McCain's lobbyist extraordinaire says:
"She’s going to learn national security at the foot of the master for the next four years, and most doctors think that he’ll be around at least that long"
Steve Bennen accumulates conservative reaction:
It's probably fair to say most sensible people would find it tough to defend John McCain's choice of running mates, but I've been genuinely curious to see how Republicans respond to yesterday's Sarah Palin announcement. I don't mean campaign surrogates or Fox News personalities, who don't have a choice; I mean more traditional Republican voices who actually have to consider this decision on the merits (or lack thereof).
* Charles Krauthammer: "The Palin selection completely undercuts the argument about Obama's inexperience and readiness to lead.... To gratuitously undercut the remarkably successful 'Is he ready to lead' line of attack seems near suicidal."
* Noah Millman, presenting a defense for Palin: "I realize, of course, that she's totally unqualified to be President at this point in time. If McCain were to die in February 2009, I hope Palin would have the good sense to appoint someone who is more ready to be President to be her Vice President, on the understanding that she would then resign and be appointed Vice President by her successor."
* Ramesh Ponnuru called it "tokenism," adding, "Can anyone say with a straight face that Palin would have gotten picked if she were a man?"
* David Frum: "The longer I think about it, the less well this selection sits with me. And I increasingly doubt that it will prove good politics. The Palin choice looks cynical.... It's a wild gamble, undertaken by our oldest ever first-time candidate for president in hopes of changing the board of this election campaign. Maybe it will work. But maybe (and at least as likely) it will reinforce a theme that I'd be pounding home if I were the Obama campaign: that it's John McCain for all his white hair who represents the risky choice, while it is Barack Obama who offers cautious, steady, predictable governance.... If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency?"
* Kathryn Jean Lopez: "As much as I loathe Obama-Biden, I can't in good conscience vote for a McCain-Palin ticket. Palin has absolutely no experience in foreign affairs. Considering both McCain's advanced age and the state of the world today, it is essential that the veep be exceedingly qualified to assume the office of president. I simply don't have any confidence in Palin's ability to deal effectively with Iran, Russia, China, etc." [Update: Lopez was quoting an email, not expressing her actual views. My apologies.]
* Mark Halperin: "On the face of it, McCain has failed the ultimate test that any presidential candidate must face in picking a running mate: selecting someone who is unambiguously qualified to be president."
The phrase "jump the shark" keeps coming to mind.