http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald....html?id=860fbf57-4af4-4667-9586-74ccfbd82d81 Rod Love, Calgary Herald Published: Sunday, September 14, 2008 Mark Milke's recent attempt to defend the choice of Sarah Palin as John McCain's vice-president came straight out of the Republican Talking Points memo, which is why it made so little sense. Trying to frame this debate as another battle in the ongoing culture wars south of the border is a pathetic attempt at distraction. The criticism of Palin's selection has nothing to do with the gang-up of an "old girl's club," or the radical left. It has to do with a joke McCain told time and time again over the past 18 months on the campaign trail. He often said that the job of vice-president is to "break tie votes in the Senate and to inquire daily as to the health of the president." That line always got a good laugh. Nobody's laughing now. For purely wedge-driven political calculations, the most inexperienced vice-presidential nominee in history was selected to be next in line to the oldest man ever elected to the presidency, should McCain win. It is in no way morbid to assume that a 72-year-old multiple cancer survivor in the toughest most demanding job in the world will not be a hale and hearty 76 when his re-election rolls around. The person he has chosen to step in should he falter was, two years ago, the mayor of a town of 6,000 that is actually a suburb of Anchorage, Alaska. When Republicans say with a straight face that she has the experience to be vice-president, they are referring to her brief stint as governor of Alaska, population 670,000; roughly the same as Hamilton, Ont. But she's ready to take over the global superpower of 320 million souls. On Day One. Really. Her year-and-change as the governor of this small state has been accomplishment-free on any major public policy agenda, save for a deal to build a natural gas pipeline that may be years off. Yet, they cite this as the "executive" experience so necessary in a candidate. The fact that the guy at the top of the ticket has never had ANY executive experience is mere quibbling. So, Milke and his Republican soulmates scatter the red herrings around like so much confetti. People are attacking her because she is a woman, because she is a conservative, because she is a working mother, because she is a social conservative, because she said the war in Iraq was "a task, given by God" because she is an evangelical, and on and on. Wrong on all counts. The defenders of Palin know that these cultural and political diversionary tactics are necessary distractions to keep American voters from focusing on the one question they fear most: if God forbid McCain was elected, but could not serve out his term for whatever reason, are they willing to gamble on President Sarah Palin from Wasilla, Alaska? I don't know about you, but in a showdown between Prime Minister Putin and President Palin, I'm thinking the Russians might be a little more up to speed on the way the world works. And oh yeah, I forget: it's the media's fault. The Republicans spring a complete unknown person onto the world stage, and when news organizations from across the continent scramble to find out more about her in order that they might better inform their listeners, viewers, website visitors and readers, they attack the media in order to better fire up the base. Milke's complaint about the "all too common bias in newsrooms across the country" I assume would exempt Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and right-wing talk radio, whose bias on the right is more comedy than comment. In her first 10 days as the nominee for vice-president of the United States, she was not allowed to field a single unscripted question. So unready for the job is she that she is being shielded from the media lest they ask questions that would expose her for what she is: unfit for office. Let us tell the truth. John McCain was a weak candidate, running a poor campaign, unloved by the core of the Republican party and needing something to energize conservatives. His "Hail Mary" -- as it was rightly described by most commentators -- was the answer, and in doing so he potentially puts the nation in peril. This has nothing to do with an "old girls' club," much as Milke flails away trying to change the subject. It has to do with actuarial tables. Rod Love is a Calgary political consultant and the chief of staff for former Alberta premier Ralph Klein.