The freakish concentration on abortion in Republican VP vetting, as Ezra says, nixes a whole number of otherwise good choices, and is probably responsible for this catastrophic pick. After all, of the nation’s three Republican female governors – Sarah Palin, Jodi Rell of Connecticut, and Linda Lingle of Hawaii – only Palin is anti-choice, and of the nation’s five female Republican Senators – Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina – only Dole is against Roe v. Wade.
That said, why didn’t McCain pick Dole instead of Palin? The only two things I can think of are her age – 72, the same as McCain – and the fact that picking her would probably hand her Senate seat over to Kay Hagan. But the Republicans were never going to gain seats in the Senate, and if age is an issue for Dole, why isn’t it an issue for a man (who, remember, live shorter lives on average) who spent five and a half years in unsanitary captivity and has a history of cancer? Between her six years in the Senate and seven on Reagan and Bush I’s cabinets, no one could call Dole a lightweight.
What gives, McCain? You had a massively qualified, anti-choice woman right next to you in the Senate, and you picked a lightweight Buchanan-backer who doesn’t even know what the job requires. I honestly don’t know what the calculus was there.