In a recent essay, Pat Buchanan makes the best case that I’ve seen for Sarah Palin being a net positive for McCain.
For his boldness in choosing Palin, McCain deserves enormous credit. He has made an extraordinary gesture to conservatives and the party base, offering his old antagonists a partner’s share in his presidency. And his decision is likely to be rewarded with a massive and enthusiastic turnout for the McCain-Palin ticket. Rarely has this writer encountered such an outburst of enthusiasm on the right.
In choosing Palin, McCain may also have changed the course of history as much as Ike did with his choice of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan did with his choice of George H.W. Bush. For should this ticket win, Palin will eclipse every other Republican as heir apparent to the presidency and will have her own power base among Lifers, Evangelicals, gun folks and conservatives—wholly independent of President McCain.
I’m still deeply skeptical about her, and hope she doesn’t become the right-wing political colossus that Buchanan foresees.
But we’ll see.
At a minimum, it suggests to me that, even if McCain regrets his choice, and wanted to remove Sarah Palin from his ticket, the far right would not tolerate it, and so Palin will be with us at least until the November election.
Contra Buchanan, I still think Palin will prove to be a net negative for McCain on election day.
But one thing seems certain now.
John McCain’s presidential fate is tied to the far right.
We’ll see how he rides this tiger.