Suddenly, it’s Obama-Biden that looks like the mature, sober, grown-up ticket to ride.
For months McCain has been tauting his foreign policy sobriety and experience, parading around the Middle East with dour and seasoned daddy-figures like Joseph Lieberman and Lindsay Graham.
Obama responded by showing that he, too, is temperamentally serious.
Obama set up a thoroughly grown-up and systematic vetting process for his VP selection, and landed upon a VP pick who will clearly help Obama think through every treacherous foreign and domestic policy thicket: Joe Biden.
From the vantage of keeping the country safe and sane over the next four years, Biden’s pick is nearly perfect, if not necessarily politically exciting.
It demonstrates Obama’s good judgment, fundamental reasonableness, and pragmatism, and recalls that famous quote of Emerson’s:
Great men, great nations, have not been boasters and baffoons, but perceivers of the terrors of life, and have manned themselves to face it.
It seemed that both Obama and McCain were these kinds of American Emersonians, making it difficult to choose between them.
Then McCain chose Sarah Palin for VP.
Now the presidential race seems clarified, and not in McCain’s favor.
McCain, by picking Palin, gives one the impression that he is prepared, in the name of political expediency, to be wreckless with the country’s direction and security.
In other words, he now appears to be precisely the opposite of a sober Emersonian.
Thus Obama, by not selecting a woman for his own VP pick, appears to have left a bit of apparently low-lying fruit for McCain to be tempted with (“If I pick a woman now, the presidency will be mine!”).
Unfortunately, the Republican party’s pro-life female bench is so shallow, that he could not take from that fruit without selecting a fundamentally unserious person, and foreign policy lightweight, jeopardizing the country’s security.
He took it anyway.
And now McCain stands ready to be cast from the political Garden of Eden he once thought was rightfully his.