Sunday, August 31, 2008


A question that arose in the last day as I mulled over the Palin pick was, "Will she be another Eagleton?"

St. Louis native Sen. Thomas Eagleton was dropped as Sen. George McGovern's VP selection in 1972 after it was revealed that Eagleton had received treatment for "exhaustion", code for some form of mental health issue. Mental health issues-of all sorts and severities-are still relatively kept quiet today, but then they were even more taboo; especially amongst elected officials and others in powerful positions.

On August 1, less than two weeks after his selection, Eagleton was replaced on the ticket with Sagent Shriver-the Kennedy relative and father of the first lady of California, Maria Shriver. 

Yet, a Time Magazine poll at the time showed a majority of voters (77%) were not troubled by Eagleton's medical history.

Though not likely the killing blow, McGovern went on to loose the election in a massive defeat. The chaos created by the late-game switch, and voters apparent lack of concern over the issue, gave his Republican opponent, President Richard Nixon, an irresistable opportunity to attack McGovern's judgement.

The question now is, will we see Palin dropped from the ticket for a safer-if less "maverick"-choice following several weeks of the media's investigation into Palin and what is really going on with the investigations into her alleged abuse of power? 

What will a week of the national media trawling Alaska for every bit of information on Palin do to the McCain campaign? A campaign sapped by efforts to react to the stories they media is likely to uncover-the obscure or the eye-openers-is not an unlikely outcome.

The short-term politics of the decision may be regretted before long. Selecting a VP who is likely to be deposed as part of an investigation into a potential abuse of power (firing of an official for not buckling under the Governor's pressure), is not likely to strike many voters as a wise decision.

They may have blasted away at Sen. Barack Obama's expected post-convention bump, but they may limp away with a hole in their foot.

- Murphy

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