John McCain's choice, Sarah Palin, is a forthright, no-nonsense woman, who was former mayor of her hometown and the current governor of Alaska. McCain, proud of his reputation as a maverick, chose her because she's an outsider with a reputation for shaking things up. After vetoing excessive spending, balancing budgets, negotiating with big-oil companies, rebating tax surpluses and championing oil and gas production in a state that provides us with a lot of both, she has demonstrated executive skills and political leadership at the top. Obama and Biden have done neither.
But this election will not be about the vice presidents, whom will soon be relegated to the back pages and bottoms of network newscasts. The focus will turn to the two presidential nominees and their vastly different agendas for change. The last sitting senators elected to the highest office in the land were John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Since then, Americans have elected either vice presidents or governors -- believing in their previous executive experience and the outsider perspective needed to run the country.
The Democrats selected two liberal establishment insiders from a Senate that boasts a 14-percent approval rating. In other words, they are men from a part of government that is often seen as part of the problem, not the solution. The Republicans have also picked a presidential nominee from the Senate, but this nominee has commanded men in time of war and has a unique "outsider" reputation for executive-style leadership in rough-and-tumble policy battles.
The outsider image has been a consistently powerful force in modern American politics, and that will be the case this year as well. Let the race begin.