Who the heck is Sarah Palin?

John McCain’s announcement this morning of his Vice Presidential pick shows perfect timing. Historically, nominating conventions give their candidate about a 5% jump in poll numbers. The faster McCain can shift focus away from the soaring speech Obama gave last night and on to the week ahead in Minnesota, the better. Only one problem — who the heck is Sarah Palin?

CNN says Palin is Governor of Alaska. And she once won Miss Congeniality in a beauty pageant, according to a report I heard on NPR this morning. And… well, not much else, really. I think she might have been Mayor of somewhere?

This odd pick also undermines McCain’s argument that experience, not judgment, matters most in the Oval Office. He can’t very well say that Obama doesn’t have enough experience to serve as Commander in Chief, but somehow this first-term Governor does.

It’s almost as if McCain just wanted to say, “Look! Vote for us and we’ll make history too – we’ve got a woman!” Or that he thinks Hillary Clinton supporters unsure about Obama will flock to him now that he has an extra X chromosome on the ticket, like that’s all Clinton supporters cared about – never mind her policies, values, or experience.

As the race continues I’m sure we’ll learn more about the governor, like how she tried get a state trooper fired while he was having a child-custody battle with her sister, but for now I’m left scratching my head.

Right now Palin seems like a weird pick, but at least for McCain it takes away some of the oxygen around coverage of Obama’s speech. Just like Hurricane Gustav could take away oxygen from the Republican convention.

A hurricane in New Orleans during the Republican Convention? Terrible in so many different ways.

Read Jeff’s latest commentaries.

Colorado Independent’s blog-i-nist (blogger-columnist) Jeff Bridges has worked in Democratic politics for the last 10 years, serving as communications director for two congressional races in Colorado and two governors races in the Deep South. Bridges also worked for Sen. Ken Salazar as a legislative assistant in D.C., and currently serves on the board of directors for New Era Colorado and the Colorado Conservation Voters.

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Jeff Bridges

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