Joseph Lee's Perspectives
My view of the world
August 30, 2008-- Weak Leaders choose weak No. 2's -- John McCain's Gamble

                A day after Barack Obama addressed the Democratic National Convention and the nation, and a week after the Democratic nominee selected Joe Biden as his running mate, John McCain shocked the nation by announcing that Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin, was going to be his choice for the No. 2 slot on his ticket.


                The pundits are out there trying to see if this was McCain at his most maverick style, willing to take a gamble, or McCain at his worst, ignoring common sense and making a decisions with his gut for political gain.   With Sarah Palin, McCain got himself  a strong social and fiscal conservative, and a woman who might have a chance to appeal to the Clinton supporters.


                But for many of his biggest fans, those that believed his experience was the key to supporting a 72-year old, the decision to put a 44-year old governor from a State that has more elk than people, that is better known for Eskimos than Electoral Votes (it has 3, but Biden’s Delaware only has 3, too), and that was a mayor of a city that 99.9% of Americans have never heard of, this was a “Hail Mary” pass of Jurassic proportions.   McCain’s age and  health, two issues that Obama would have had difficulty raising, immediately became media fodder.   They all ask, “Is Sarah who-ever, ready to be a heart-beat away from the Presidency of the United States?”


                Great Leaders try to surround themselves with strong subordinates—someone who raises the bar for that leader’s executive presence.  In Sarah Palin, McCain seemed to have found someone who is of such low stature (think Dan Quayle with the first Bush), that he would never have to worry about being out-shone.


                I have no idea about Sarah, except what I read in the news media (see LA Times article).  I saw a video of her today, and honestly, was impressed with her forwardness.  She doesn’t seem to be afraid of being on center stage.


                But sometimes, not being afraid is not the same as being ready.  I teach presentation training, and some people have a misconception that a speech delivered well, but without content, is superior to a poorly delivered, but substantive speech.   If you don’t know your stuff, there is only so much that your speech writer or your coach can do for you.


                There is little doubt that Joe Biden is a man of substance.  There is no doubt that Mr. Obama is a great orator.  When he delivered his acceptance speech in Denver, Mr. Obama made a big step to becoming a man of substance.


                It will be interesting to watch Mr. McCain.  He used to be a man of substance.  Recently, he sounds like a political advertising machine—a man stripped of his ability to become innovative and creative.  With one big decision, he tried to reclaim the title of “Maverick.”  That was the  name of a character played by Tom Cruise in the 1986 motion picture Top Gun. 


                I just hope that Mr. McCain is not going to be appearing at Oprah, jumping up and down in joy, to show he can take the analogy to its dramatic end.  The pressure is now on both Sarah Palin and the Arizona Senator.  She may outshine her own future boss, and thus show the world that he was wise in making this choice.  


                This will  be remembered as either the decision that launched McCain to become Top Gun, or the one that ended his stellar political career.   There doesn’t seem to be a happy middle ground, something an objective observer may simply label as a gamble.

2008-08-30 11:22:14 GMT
Comments (5 total)
Author:Anonymous
I am so happy that McCain has chosen this lady as his running mate. He just helped Obama to become the next president. American needs to change and McCain is not the one.
2008-08-30 12:00:30 GMT
Author:Anonymous
I think the decision to select a VP is the first indication of the judgment a President will display. To select an inexperienced, strident right-wing, politically inept female from a state known for its political corruption and lunatic fringe shows his total disrespect for the American people. McCain will die in office from the pressures of the job. I despise the fact that he wasn't responsible enough to put someone in his number two role who could responsibly run the country. Sarah Palin would make a horrible, extremist President. I fully support, as a female, having a woman in office, but to ignore all the fully proven and competent Republican women demonstrates McCain's bitter stubborn side. I am sick of hearing that McCain's POW experience makes him more qualified to run anything. He is proving himself not to be a strong, thoughtful leader in one of the most traumatic times in recent American history, but one of the most short-sighted. This decision represents McCain at his absolute worst - quick to take offense so he surrounds himself with people far less talented than he is. Classic short man syndrome - I have to look better than you by keeping those around me smaller than I am. John McCain, you have humiliated yourself in this decision.
2008-09-01 15:14:29 GMT
Author:Anonymous
McCain is an idiot. With all the talented people out there, why did he choose a right-wing nut case? Does anyone remember the show "Northern Exposure"? That's the kind of experience Sarah Palin has - should make her totally qualified to deal with Putin! She would scare me to death if she had her trigger-happy finger on the red button for setting off the nuclear bomb. McCain, you are a weak little man and you just proved it again. You cheated on your wife, married a control freak who was addicted to pain killers and is now controlling your every move because she wants to be first lady. What a wimp.
2008-09-01 15:19:18 GMT
Author:Anonymous
What an insulting choice. McCain disappoints. What a f***'d and screwed up election.

But worse than policy. . . .


Whenever I see Palin, I swear she is going to whip out her Mary Kay cosmetics catalogue and and then strut back to her pink Cadillac. And she needs a hair makeover. Her up-do is so yesteray, so not cool, and so out of touch. This serves as proof that she was a last minute choice because the Republicans had hardly any time to make her over!

2008-09-03 17:30:28 GMT
Author:Anonymous
What an insulting choice. McCain disappoints. What a f***'d and screwed up election.

But worse than policy. . . .


Whenever I see Palin, I swear she is going to whip out her Mary Kay cosmetics catalogue and and then strut back to her pink Cadillac. And she needs a hair makeover. Her up-do is so yesteray, so not cool, and so out of touch. This serves as proof that she was a last minute choice because the Republicans had hardly any time to make her over!

2008-09-03 17:31:01 GMT
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