So it seems that McCain really wanted to pick Joe Lieberman as his running mate, but could not stand up to the Christianists’ wrath:
For weeks, advisers close to the campaign said, Mr. McCain had wanted to name as his running mate his good friend Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, the Democrat turned independent. But by the end of last weekend, the outrage from Christian conservatives over the possibility that Mr. McCain would fill out the Republican ticket with Mr. Lieberman, a supporter of abortion rights, had become too intense to be ignored.
With time running out, and after a long meeting with his inner circle in Phoenix, Mr. McCain finally picked up the phone last Sunday and reached Ms. Palin at the Alaska State Fair. Although the campaign’s polling on Mr. McCain’s potential running mates was inconclusive on the selection of Ms. Palin — virtually no one had heard of her, a McCain adviser said — the governor, who opposes abortion, had glowing reviews from influential social conservatives.
Mr. McCain was comfortable with two others on his short list, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. But neither was the transformative, attention-grabbing choice Mr. McCain felt he needed, top campaign advisers said, to help him pivot from his image as the custodian of the status quo to a change agent like his Democratic rival, Senator Barack Obama.
Not least, Mr. Obama’s decision to pass over Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as his running mate opened the possibility for Republicans to put a woman on the ticket and pick off some of Mrs. Clinton’s supporters.
A couple of thoughts. I know all about the PUMAs out there who would rather put McCain in the White House than support Barack Obama, but I cannot believe that even these zealots would consider Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin to be interchangeable simply because they both have double X chromosomes. Palin not only opposes abortion; she wants to make it illegal for any reason with the sole exception of the mother’s life. Hillary Clinton supporters are going to transfer their allegiance to McCain because his vice-presidential pick is a woman — who is an anti-abortion fanatic? Truly, I don’t think so.
I have to say I’m extremely relieved that McCain did not pick Lieberman. I think a McCain-Lieberman ticket would have siphoned off a significant portion of the Jewish vote and greatly increased the likelihood of a third Bush term — only worse.