Over the years I’ve been asked to help prep politicians for debates.  I’ve never worked for one, so I’m always the outsider coming in.  I usually watch the politician’s staff ask softball questions (even when they think they are hard ones) before I pipe up.  My questions are designed to be annoying and the followup is made to make it seem that the first answer was pathetic.  When it comes to criticism after the practice, I usually say “you need more practice”.  The politicians’ chiefs of staff usually wish they hadn’t asked me. However, sometimes when I see the politicians even years later they say “you know, I remember that day you helped me with that debate on X, Y, or Z”.  They liked it.

I don’t give partisan political advice to candidates, however.  I have always worked for non-profits that cannot by law endorse or oppose candidates for any public office.  Even when I appear as myself–commentator, author, talk-show host–I never tell people who I will vote for.

So, the following question is not partisan.  I am genuinely confused by the announcement just made by John McCain announcing that he has chosen Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his Vice Presidential pick.

Why would John McCain, whose fundamental argument with Barack Obama is that he is not seasoned enough, qualified enough, knowledgeable enough to govern, pick a person whose only experience really leading is 20 months as Alaska’s governor?  Senator McCain is 72; he has had two bouts with the most serious skin cancer you can have; actuarially speaking, he may just make it through his first term.  Will Gov. Palin be able to take military command immediately if tragedy strikes?  Why does John McCain want the press asking that question for the next 67 day?

Jay, I know the Governor is anti-choice, anti same-sex marriage and pro-school vouchers.  But so is Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who has been around domestic and foreign policy issues much longer than Governor Palin. What would you have advised? 

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