John McCain needs to lay off his maverick pills for a few days, because this is getting crazy.

The campaign secretly flew Palin into Dayton last night. She and McCain met privately for a couple of hours. McCain concluded she would "shake up the system" and was "a maverick," qualities he believed Lieberman would have brought to the ticket. But she also would appeal to conservatives -- which Lieberman most certainly would not have done.
I know that it requires an ego the size of a small moon to run for the Presidency, to think that you've got what it takes to do a good job as the leader of one of the most powerful nations on the planet, but is it too much to ask that the leader at least exhibit a modicum of self-awareness? I mean, this is scary stuff here. I like my politicians cynical and manipulative, not delusional.

Think about this for a moment--McCain could very well win this thing, okay? It's not likely, but we're still just over two months out, and that's a lifetime in the political world. There's all sorts of manufactured controversy that could swing this thing. So if it happens that John McCain actually follows King George the Lesser into the White House, are we really going to have a guy in charge who believes in his own maverickosity? And who chose as a running mate a woman he barely knew, had spent only moments with comparatively, because he sensed some maverickiality in her as well?

I'd feel better if the story was that this was a cynical play for disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters--at least that makes sense, in a triple-bank-massé-to-sink-the-nine-ball kind of way. But that Palin was a maverick? Now I know what Tim Kaine was talking about on Real Time with Bill Maher tonight when he compared McCain's decision on this to King Georgie looking into Pooty-Poot's eyes and seeing his soul.

Set aside for the moment that Palin couldn't be more a doctrinaire conservative if she called herself Pat Buchanan and wore fashion by Phyllis Schlafly. McCain just concluded that she would shake up the system and was a maverick, and that was it--she was the running mate. Wow.

And just what is McCain's definition of maverickation? (Yeah, I'm coming up with as many variations as I can.) Put Sarah Palin and Joe Lieberman's positions on issues beside each other, and you get some serious differences. I mean, I'm no fan of Holy Joe, but his voting record, even over the last couple of years, isn't one of extreme conservatism. Far from it. But he was going to be the nominee if McCain could have pulled it off, thanks to Holy Joe's maverickness. But when McCain's handlers told him Holy Joe was a no-go, he switched to an inexperienced governor who could only be more conservative on choice if she suggested jail time for mothers who have abortions.

(Side note to Michel Martin--on Real Time, you kept comparing Palin to Tim Kaine, but Kaine was also a Lt. Governor, and Mayor of Richmond--that's a hell of a lot more executive experience than Palin has.)

But they're apparently the most mavericky of maverick nation, and that's all that matters to John McCain. And he thinks he's the right guy for the job. Yikes.

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