Only a heartbeat away ...

Governor Bob Palin (R/Alaska)


Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain today suprised everyone by announcing that he'd chosen Alaska Governor Bob Palin to be his Vice Presidential running mate.

Although the party gamely presented a united front to the television cameras, behind the scenes many Republican bigwigs were trembling with shock and awe. Said one, who asked to remain anonymous, "What was he thinking? This Palin guy will be only a heartbeat away from the Presidency should anything happen to McCain ... and at his age, with that skin cancer, he could drop any minute. God forbid, of course."

"What's the matter? Dan Quayle wasn't available?" said another. "And I say that with all due respect to Quayle. I knew Dan Quayle and Bob Palin is no Dan Quayle."

But Karl Rove, unofficial advisor to the McCain campaign, enthusiastically supported McCain's choice. "This Palin guy is a two-term small town mayor who's been Governor for only two years. His foreign policy experience is limited to living close to Russia. Domestically? He killed a bridge project, wants to teach Creationism in public schools, and got rid of some corruption. But you know those Alaskans: twenty words for snow, fifty for corruption. And he's got five kids, so that should keep him out of the West Wing and out of trouble. Perfect, right? If they can knock off Obama and Biden in the Fall, then W. can retire to the ranch, and Cheney can continue to run things from an undisclosed location. You know, Dick told me this telecommuting is a great thing. Wish I'd thought of it."

When it was suggested that there were surely worse choices than Bob Palin -- but no one could think of any at the moment -- Rove nimbly quashed that assertion.

"Worse choices? Sure there are. I, for one, am breathing much easier since McCain didn't try to exploit the gender issue and blow everyone's mind by picking a woman -- especially a woman as unknown and inexperienced as Bob Palin. That would smell like the campaign believes there's a bunch of disaffected Hillary gals out there who are so stupid that they don't care who they vote for as long as she has the right equipment down there. That kind of pandering would have been so transparent and insulting that even I wouldn't have advised McCain do it -- and that's saying something. Of course, I don't want to be totally negative. I'm sure Palin's a nice enough guy. Great smile. Could surprise us. But it's risky to try and enhance something to look bigger than it is, especially a guy McCain met with only once before ... 'Hello, President Palin?' ... picking him for the ticket. Just imagine: "President Palin met today with Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin ...' I don't know. Sounds wrong to the ear.

"But here's an interesting idea. I've been reading a lot of science fiction since I left the White House, and this stuff about alternate universes really plunks my magic twanger. You know: Hitler wins the war. We win in Iraq. God is a woman. I could go on ... Wouldn't it be crazy if in some other dimension McCain had chosen Palin, but he was a woman, and everyone asked if McCain would have picked her if she was exactly the same -- qualifications, experience, philosophy -- but was a man? Hmm. Good idea. I'll have nothing to do after November. Maybe I should write a book ... Nah, no one will believe it."

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