McCain/Palin ’08

MCCAIN/PALIN ’08…. There’s a political adage that’s been around for a while that says the first “presidential decision” a candidate makes is picking a running mate. If that’s the case, John McCain would apparently be a very odd president.

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain has chosen Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, NBC News has learned.

She would be the first woman ever to serve on a Republican presidential ticket. The pro-life Palin would also be the first Alaskan ever to appear on a national ticket.

Palin, 44, was elected Alaska’s first woman governor in 2006.

Every network confirms it; this is the actual Republican ticket for 2008: McCain/Palin.

It’s more than surprising; it’s the strangest running-mate decision since Dan Quayle. Sarah Palin spent a year working as a commissioner for the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and has been governor for a year and a half. Now, she’ll be the Republicans’ vice presidential candidate, and if things go well for McCain, one heartbeat from the presidency. When it comes to being untested and unknown, Palin is in a league of her own.

Just yesterday, advisers to the McCain campaign conceded to the New York Times that McCain “thinks highly” of Palin, but “her less than two years in office would undercut one of the McCain campaign’s central criticisms of Senator Barack Obama — that he is too inexperienced to be commander-in-chief.” So much for the McCain campaign’s message.

Stepping back, we have the man who would be the oldest president in American history, who happens to have a record of health problems, picking a virtual unknown who’s been a governor for less than two years. Amazing.

McCain communications chief Jill Hazelbaker told CBS News this morning that McCain is going to “make the choice from his heart.” That seems even more bizarre — McCain barely knows Palin, hasn’t worked with her in any capacity, and hadn’t even asked her to serve as a campaign surrogate at any point in the process. For all the talk about McCain valuing personal relationships above all else, McCain has practically picked a stranger, to himself and the rest of the nation.

This strikes me as a tremendously desperate move on McCain’s part, which is unlikely to go over well. More soon.