I like how this is playing out. Barack Obama is being painted as young and inexperienced so he brings in an older, experienced Joe Biden to balance the ticket. Obama took his perceived weakness and brought in someone who is strong in those areas. A well thought out calculated move.
Meanwhile, McCain is perceived to be OLD! Okay, he is OLD! He is being painted as someone who is forgetful and may not make it the full 4 years. So he brings in a running mate who is young. So her inexperience becomes a factor when people realize that she could be the president within 4 years.
Alaska is a small state with a diverse group of constituents (seen here). She treats these constituents exactly as one would expect a Republican politician to.
For McCain, this is a move with pander written all over it. Could Palin be anymore than a Republican pawn here?
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Then again, there is another benefit to having her on the ticket:
Her youth will also come in handy as she can stay awake in meetings.