Paul  Weyrich

Pity poor Minnesota Governor Timothy J. (Tim) Pawlenty. He supposedly was on Senator John S. McCain's short list for Vice President. As the list was whittled down he appeared to be the last man standing. On the final day of the Democratic Convention in Denver the pundits labeled him the odds-on favorite to be named the McCain Veep candidate. Then came the telephone call on Thursday night. Senator McCain told Governor Pawlenty that he was going with someone else. Pawlenty than issued a cryptic statement, saying that he would not be named.

Identity of the McCain pick was the best kept political secret in modern history. Early Friday morning, Fox News political reporter Carl Cameron broke the story: the Governor of Alaska. What a bombshell! She had been written off by nearly everyone and when asked about it she discredited the likelihood of her selection as McCain's running mate. The choice sent shock waves through the body politick. Conservatives were nearly unanimous in high praise. The left attacked her with remarkable vehemence. At first the Obama campaign attacked her selection. Half an hour later the Obama campaign issued a statement offering modest praise. After McCain's congratulatory commercial, in which McCain noted how far Americans had come that Obama would be nominated on the day 45 years after Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, Obama did not want to appear less gracious.

Pundits will debate what the Sarah Heath Palin selection will mean to McCain. Meanwhile, here is how I look at this controversial nomination. First, the selection probably will prevent Obama's gathering much of a head of steam. Coming out of the Convention Obama had a bounce estimated at 9%. That will almost certainly be affected by the media extravaganza over the Palin selection. Second, the Palin pick sends Republicans into their convention with a head of steam they otherwise would not have.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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