It's Romney, it's Pawlenty, its Ridge, it's ... Palin? After taking us on a wild goose chase, John McCain's decision for a running mate is just a little bit unorthodox. No woman expected THIS woman to be on the presidential ticket this election.
Like many have to do when they serve in the military, McCain made a quick, executive decision. However, just like decisions in the military can mean life or death, this decision may help him make it to the Oval Office, or end his political career.
One thing is for sure: His decision will go down in history. For most elections, the choice for vice presidential nominees is a moot point. However, in this close election, this choice may create all the difference.
Instantaneously, Americans had different reactions. Although the comments may vary, the message, even at the Republican Convention, rang clear - everyone is wondering: Who is Sarah Palin?
Several issues have since been raised. The first being her gender. Some women may find this fact unsettling because they resent McCain thinking he can attract their vote by choosing any woman. One woman, quoted in the Wall Street Journal, said that women are not linear voters and they deserve more credit than what McCain's pick seems to insinuate. Another woman said to the New York Times she definitely will vote for McCain after his decision to pick Palin.
Palin's experience is another critical talking point. This is a delicate territory for the Democratic Party to enter, since Barack Obama also has been criticized for having little experience. Some comment that she only has been governor of Alaska for a short time and before that was merely mayor of a small town. However, the counterargument is that she has more executive experience than the candidates because she is the only one to hold an executive office position. A delegate from Alaska here at the convention commented that Palin had a lot more foreign policy experience than some may think. She deals with fishery issues with Russia and many issues with Canada.
The Republicans also see strength in her reputation as a reformer. She beat a corrupt Republican incumbent for governor and defeated big oil in the state of Alaska. Some may say that her image complements McCain's maverick style. Others, however, say she is disconnected, being from a far-away state.
Finally, we look at her personal story. She is a mother of five and the fifth child was born with Down syndrome. She calls herself a "hockey mom," and her husband is a union man. This story will appeal to many voters, capitalizing on exactly what McCain needs.
This choice may have been a little unconventional, but it may be just what McCain needs to win this election. On the other hand, it may be just what it takes for him to lose his shot at the presidency. As Election Day grows nearer, one thing is for sure. This time, the choice of vice president matters, and it is not the standard image of the Great White Male - Romney, Pawlenty or Ridge. It's Palin.
Lindsey Lanzendorfer, of Hollidaysburg, is a senior at Juniata College. She is attending the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.