VP choices change nothing

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By John Barnhart

Both John McCain and Barack Obama have now made their picks for vice president.

These picks don't change anything. "Democrats" can rest assured that, should Obama be elected and should something bad happen to him, the man who would step in to replace him is a fellow lefty. Biden has the third most liberal voting record in the senate, slightly behind Obama's which is the most liberal.

Biden's presence on the ticket, however, doesn't change the fact that McCain's qualifications to be commander-in-chief are vastly superior to Obama's. For that matter, they are superior to Biden's.

As I've mentioned before, McCain has demonstrated leadership. As a Naval aviator and squadron commander, he had to make command decisions, often quickly and under some of the most adverse situations possible. His proven ability makes him a much better choice in a world where our next president will face international crises.

Obama has no executive experience. He's never been a governor. He's never been a business executive. He's never held a command billet in the armed forces. Nor does Biden, although he does have extensive legislative experience during his more than three decades in the Senate.

McCain's choice of Sarah Palin doesn't change anything, either. Palin is no less experienced than Obama. She, however, is not at the top of the ticket and won't be president. Granted, McCain's age makes him more likely to kick the bucket while in office than Obama, but that doesn't mean he will. He will be the same age as Ronald Reagan was when he began his second term and Reagan lived to complete that term.

Even if McCain dies or is incapacitated before the term is complete, a year as vice president will get Palin up to speed and ready to step into the oval office. She will have spent that time sitting in on cabinet meetings and National Security Council meetings. She's obviously tough enough, having fought both big oil companies and a corrupt Alaskan state Republican establishment, and won. I doubt that Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin would be able to push her around.

The "Democratic" ticket puts the least experienced candidate at the top. Barack Obama won't have the benefit of being Joe Biden's understudy for a year or two before becoming president. If elected, he will be the president come Jan. 20, 2009.

That all said, there is one point where McCain's choice of Palin does change the campaign. While vice presidential choices rarely float or sink a ticket, they can make a difference at the margins. Margins will count in this election as McCain and Obama remain in a dead heat after McCain's post-convention bounce canceled out Obama's.

Palin provides McCain that boost around the margins because social conservatives, a core group for the Republican Party, had not been enthusiastic about McCain's candidacy. Perhaps there was some lingering distrust by some because of a rash remark that McCain had made, apparently in anger, back in 2000. In spite of the fact that McCain has a good track record in the Senate on social issues, many seem to have been only grudgingly supporting McCain.

McCain's choice of Palin reassured social conservatives that he is indeed on our side. He can define himself as a maverick without any of us wondering whether he will turn around and stab us in the back once he's elected.

Now, they are enthusiastically supporting McCain. Note that his campaign raised $10 million in the two days after Senator McCain announced her as his vice presidential pick.

On the other hand, I know of one fellow who announced that, although he had intended to vote for McCain, he will now vote for Obama. He said that McCain should have nominated somebody like Senator Olympia Snowe, a Republican with pro-abortion credentials, because he needed to do that to win.

But, abandoning their principles in order to hold power is how the Republican Party got itself into trouble in the first place. You can never get out of a hole by digging it deeper.