Wow, what a situation. In the last day, Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty have taken themselves out of the running for McCain’s running mate, and a lot of buzz has started up – again – about Governor Sarah Palin. The trouble is, there are now reports that she’s still in Alaska and the only guy from the field in the vicinity of John McCain is his old buddy, Joe Lieberman.
It’s difficult to imagine a vaster gulf between the two, in the effect they would have on the election. Palin would be a breath-taking choice, a masterful stroke which would be likely to reinvigorate McCain’s campaign and make Obama-Biden look dusty and old just a couple days after it kicked off. It would demonstrate bold leadership and an ability to simultaneously firm up the base and attract a lot of the Hillary supporters still angry at their shameful treatment by the Obama camp. If McCain chooses Lieberman, however, he would do just the opposite, burning bridges with groups he desperately needs in order to win, while doing effectively nothing to attract new support. Choosing Lieberman would prove McCain to be the doddering, out of touch man that Obama’s people say he is. This choice could single-handedly prove Obama right and advance his campaign, or prove McCain’s ability to make bold and unprecedented decisions which move things forward. We will know in a little while whether McCain has been a fool or brilliant, but this is a real high-stakes decision, either way.