>VPs make interesting choices. Think about Obama and try to remember what Biden actually did throughout this campaign. Very little comes to mind. And that was the plan. Biden was to be seen as a stabilising force, a voice of experience to counteract the accusations of inexperience. But it didn’t really matter. All Biden had to do was to be neutral for swing voters and not make any gaffs.

Obama is a phenomenon. He won it alone. As a pure politician, he is greater than Clinton and maybe Reagan. He combines great intelligence with humanity and drive. He also doesn’t have Clinton’s character faults but he has his support. You’re talking about a man who will do the right thing, despite a political cost. Clinton couldn’t do that. His ego was too large. That’s not to say Obama will be a success. Times are tough and if he does succeed, you’ll have been lucky to have seen a rare commodity; a great politician.

McCain needed his VP to be something, not someone. To get the right wing evangeliscals motivated to vote. To be young and folksy. To keep the message simply, direct and morally strict. That was Palin. Unfortunately like many voters, Palin didn’t respect McCain as a politician or even a man. McCain may have spent years in a prison camp but most leading Republicans spent their youth avoiding the war, being rich and indulgent until they later ‘repent.’ The Vietnam War was what the socially unconnected fought in.

Palin looked out of her depth thrown in there because she was. She may know very little of life in the real world but she clearly enjoyed it. The role and media exposure went to her head and she became bigger than her role. To the crowd she was playing to and the media attention she gained, she was popular and more important than first thought.

Were Biden’s speeches covered like Palin’s? No and they would never be. Biden was playing his role well. No one remembers the VP after a while. But Palin became unrestrained, loving the attention and the opportunity. She will be back. The doyen of the right Christian movement. She may be from Alaska but a national figure to eclipse McCain has been born.


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