History Awaits the Winner

On January 20, 2009, we will witness American history.

Last night, that became a possibility. On Friday afternoon, it became a reality.

Less than 24 hours after Barack Obama became the first African-American candidate to lead a major party as its Presidential nominee, John McCain raised the stakes by naming Alaska governor Saran Palin as his running mate. The bold strokes guarantee that we will have either a Black President of a female Vice-President next January.

What makes the move today by the GOP presumptive nominee all the more historic is that it firmly says that change has taken place in the world of American politics and that the battle for the greatest elected office in the land in all-encompassing.

This morning, we wondered if McCain’s announcement would overshadow the crowning of Barack Obama in front of 85,000 in the spectacle of Invesco Field at Mile High. Even if someone else had been chosen, few thought it would rival the images presented to America during the DNC. Little did we know that in a gymnasium of 15,000 in Dayton, Ohio, we did see an image that has upstaged the atmosphere in Denver. A woman and a mother selected to be part of the team that will represent the GOP over the next 67 days.

Alaska Governor and GOP VP pick Sarah Palin: An historic election just got even more interesting. No matter what lever you pull election day, you will make history and change the face of politics forever.

Why Governor Palin? I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to realize the strategy behind this move. What did the media and pundits discuss all week leading up to Obama’s speech? It was all about Hillary and her supporters and the decision not to put her on the ticket. Would they be satisfied with the tribute to Hillary during the DNC and would some flee to the GOP because their candidate was not chosen as Obama’s running mate? Would Obama regret selecting a running mate who carried 18 million votes into the DNC? Now, McCain clearly wants to show America the error of Obama’s VP pick by picking a female running mate who is anything but a token choice. Now, it is the GOP which offers women a choice.

You know, it’s interesting. Earlier this month, I wrote a blog about who the two candidates would choose as VP and who they should choose. I did say at the time Obama would do well to go with a female governor ( Governor Katherine Sebilius of Kansas ) to symbolize his commitment to change and to somewhat pacify the followers of Hillary Clinton. Who could have guessed that John McCain was reading my blog? ( Just kidding )

Someone close to me told me that the argument expressed above, that Palin’s selection would rally women and independents to the GOP, was nothing more than a “media narrative”. Hey, it’s not the media who wrote this story. The fact is there are voters out there, some female and some disappointed Democrats, who are not happy with Obama or Joe Biden.

No matter how the story is spun, from my view as a follower of politics in this country, this maybe the most exciting moment in campaign history. Never before have the two parties offered such distinct choices or such bold choices. How will America side in this battle between inclusionary tickets? We will see on November 4th. All I know is that what seemed to be a bore of a race a couple of weeks ago has taken on new life and that after nearly 18 months of campaigning, neither side can really claim a lead.

It’s back sqaure one.

Let the race to the White House really begin.

By the way, she calls herself a “hockey mom”. Could anybody be more excited about this selection the NHL: commish Gary Bettman?

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