It's Labor Day weekend in America and it arrives on the heels of Obama's slam dunk, rock star acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential nomination. We watched the historic event on the 19th floor of the Omni-Hotel in downtown New Haven and while the crowd cheered at the TV screen and patrons brushed tears from their eyes, we realized that even the most jaded Neo-Conservative Republican goat had to concede Obama's phenomenal skills as an inspirational orator.
Obama spoke to a capacity packed stadium of over 80,000 people while John McCain will be lucky to draw 20,000 when the Republicans hold their own convention. Nobody is under any illusions as to who is the more exciting of the two candidates, least of all the Republicans themselves. But now that each presidential nominee has chosen their vice-presidential running mates (for better or worse), the question remains if the American people will vote their hopes or their fears in 2008?
The choice of a VP running mate has always told more about the weakness of the presidential candidate than their strengths. Obama sees himself as young and inexperienced, so he compensates by choosing an old and experienced running mate in the form off Joe Biden. Although Biden does nothing to help Obama's image as a candidate for change, his addition to the ticket lends a Lyndon Bains Johnson-esque credibility to the effort.
In near perfect counter-point, McCain's self-perceived weakness is his advanced age, his Washington insider experience and his super-hero-like ability to place audiences in psychological stress positions by telling a joke. To fill in these holes, he chooses an unknown, and mind-bendingly unqualified young woman (read exciting) from Alaska named Sarah Palin. Unfortunately, we don't know if she can tell a joke but it's hard to imagine anyone doing worse that McCain
America's thirty-second Vice President, John Nance Garner, famously observed that his job position was "not worth a bucket of warm piss." (Garner once called a writer a "pantywaist" when he replaced the word 'piss' with 'spit'. Unfortunately the misquote stuck in the history books.)
McCains choice of a woman as running mate adds an interesting dimension in the race for presidency. The race for the Democratic nomination between Hillary and Obama was divisive and rancorous with many Hillary supporters claiming to take their toys and go home rather than support anyone other than Hillary. As Democrats attempt to heal these deep wounds and unite together under the Obama banner, McCains unlikely choice of a female running mate seeks to leverage the Democrat divide by offering a consolation prize of a woman as Vice President.