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I’ve been seeing a great deal of angst in various places about the fact that Sarah Palin is going to help out John McCain in his re-election bid in Arizona. To be honest, the reasons seem to be completely obvious, but for some, they aren’t. So let me take a couple of paragraphs to explain why this is the only move that makes any sense.
First of all, it’s a matter of personal honor and gratitude. Had McCain not selected Palin as his running mate, she’d still be Governor of Alaska, and no one outside of Alaska would have heard of her. Regardless of how well they may or may not line up on various issues, she owes him a debt of gratitude. On top of that, whether you agree with McCain or you don’t, he is a generally honorable man. If I were in her place, and an honorable man had done as much for me as McCain has done for her, I couldn’t refuse to help him with something like this. If it were any other candidate with McCain’s record, she probably wouldn’t do it, but it’s the man who is the primary reason that she is where she is today. She has to do it.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it would cause massive damage to her personally and politically if she didn’t help McCain, and it would also become a massive distraction for the party. If Palin refused to help McCain, the left-wing media would be all over it. They’d characterize Palin as an ungrateful backstabber. She couldn’t justify turning on him for anything he’s done in the past year, because he’s been a good soldier this year, and she can’t turn on him for anything before that because it would make her look like a fool for accepting the position as his running mate in 2008. Palin’s non-endorsement of McCain (whether she endorsed anyone else or not, just not helping McCain would be enough) would overwhelm the rest of the race, and become a massive boon for McCain’s Democratic opponent in the general election. (I say this assuming that he’ll probably win the primary.)
Given all of this, I can’t really understand why anyone is surprised or upset that Palin is assisting McCain. I’m not McCain’s biggest fan by any means, but the reasons here are clear. Palin has to endorse McCain, and it’s the right thing to do, even if he’s not perfect.