Darrell Huckaby - McCain announcement upstages Democrats

The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. There I was Friday afternoon, reading to file my column poking good-natured fun at the Denver antics of the Democratic Party. You gotta admit, y'all - it was pretty funny; the way Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden and Bill Clinton and others, who spent the better part of a year trying to convince the world that Barack Obama isn't experienced enough to be the commander in chief or the leader of the free world were now telling everyone that he was the only person for the job.

And then there was the speech Barack made, from his Greek Temple, in which he promised everything to everybody. He claimed that he would personally give every teacher a raise in his first year - which is more than Sonny Perdue has done in six, never mind the fact that the federal government currently bears no responsibility for underpaying teachers. And he is going to give free health care to everyone and bring home all the soldiers and put everyone through college and achieve world peace and make the United States the darling of the world, all while giving a tax cut to 95 percent of us.

Come on now. Even the Democrat with the yellowest dog on the face of the earth couldn't blame me for having a little fun with all those goings-on.

But then John McCain upstaged everything that had happened in Denver when he announced his choice for running mate. You know, political pundits had been saying all summer that he was waiting for his birthday, which happened to fall on the day after things shut down in the Mile High City, to reveal his choice for vice-president. Common thinking provided two reasons for this timing.

For one thing, McCain would deflect some of the attention from the Dems who were certain to receive a post-convention bounce from all the coverage of their feel-good party. Secondly, he would deflect some of the negative attention from his own 72nd birthday.

Well, he deflected some attention alright!

It was 10:45 when my cell phone made that little click that it makes when you get a text message. (Yes, I know how to read text messages. I can send them, too.)

My first thought was "bad choice." I was thinking Condi Rice at this point and didn't think it was a good idea to tie himself that closely to the Bush administration.

And then came the next text. The choice is a 44-year-old named Sarah Palin, a first term governor of Alaska.

My next thought was the same thing Jay Leno asked Hugh Grant on the Tonight Show a few days after he had been arrested for soliciting the services of a streetwalker in London. "What the hell were you thinking?"

And that's the question I'd like to ask John McCain.

Like millions of others, I immediately googled Sarah Palin, who is so much of an unknown that Word Perfect underscores her name as misspelled. It used to do that to "Barack" and to "Obama." It no longer does, thus my point.

There was her picture, and my first thought, male chauvinist that I am, was "She's a babe!"

Turns out I was right. She was first runner-up in the Miss Alaska contest - and not that long ago, either.

Now Sarah Palin might be the smartest and most capable person in the entire world. But I don't think she'll deliver many votes to John McCain - Alaska's three electoral votes notwithstanding. Let's face it. The biggest hammer he has to hold over Obama's head, other than his voting record as the most liberal member of the United States senate, is his youth and relative inexperience.

How can McCain complain about Obama's inexperience when he has placed a younger woman with less experience in position to be a heartbeat away from the presidency? She has been governor of Alaska for two years. Before that, she was mayor of Wasilla, Ala., population 6,500.


In case you were wondering, Palin is married to a blue-collar oil field worker who is half Eskimo and races snowmobiles. The Palins (I keep having to look back and see how to spell her name) have five children and she often refers to herself as a "hockey mom."

But she's very conservative - a strong opponent of abortion - and is considered a bit of a maverick among the Republican establishment in Alaska, which might be what makes her so appealing to MCain, who describes himself as the ultimate political maverick.

Before this bold - some would say reckless - move, McCain seemed to be gaining on Obama in the national polls and many people, including me, believed that after next week's Republican convention in Minneapolis, he would be well on his way to a successful outcome in November. And he may still be. But I'm here to tell you, those of you who thought that September and October were going to be boring and predictable, well, it looks like you all have another think coming.

Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.