Lieberman’s old aide: Palin a big risk

Blogging for the New York Daily News, Dan Gerstein writes:

In picking an unknown, untested, half-a-term woman governor from Alaska to be his running mate, John McCain is following in a long line of reckless men who have rolled the dice for a beauty queen. Except in this case, McCain is taking one of the biggest, boldest gambles in modern American political history.

He’s betting his presidency on a naked political play for holdout Hillary supporters and other female swing voters – and hoping that a large share of these predominantly pro-choice women will ignore or overlook Palin’s staunch pro-life, anti-stem cell views.

But that’s just the better half of it. McCain will now have to pull off a grand slam of cognitive dissonance – trying to discredit Barack Obama as unready to be Commander in Chief while trying to pawn off the least qualified candidate put on a national ticket in our lifetime as the second best choice to lead the most powerful nation in the world.

In theory, Gerstein continued, the choice could end up helping John McCain shore up his standing as a maverick and reformer. But not likely:

[W]hile it’s plausible that Palin could prove a fresh-faced asset, the odds are that she will turn out to be a noticeable liability for McCain – if not an outright disaster. Running mates typically have little to no impact on voter decisions, but when they do, they tend to be negative. And Palin has the potential to hurt McCain in multiple ways.

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