A couple weeks ago, I said:
I place almost as much importance on how a political campaign is run as I do on the substance of the candidate's platform. I admire a clever campaign strategy and I find a campaign misstep to be unforgivable.
Since then, I have realized that is not true. I place MORE importance on campaign strategy than I do on the candidate's platform. I want the President and the Vice-President of the United States to be articulate, charismatic geniuses. I want each to have integrity, impeccable judgment and a flawless history of kind behavior toward others. With all of those qualities, I almost don't care what the candidate's platform is because I trust that sort of person to make the right decision in any given situation. The more life experience the candidate has, the better, because the candidate has been exposed to a larger variety of situations, which helps to inform future decisions.
Campaign missteps and a failure to recover in a strong manner from attacks by the other side is a sign that the candidate is lacking some of the qualities I desire, usually genius and impeccable judgment. Not one of the four candidates in this race meets all of my criteria.
Obama is a charismatic orator, but he is not articulate when his words are unscripted. His comments about how certain segments of the population cling to religion and guns allude to an unkind, intolerant streak within him. His condescension toward Hillary Clinton throughout their race, his renouncement of his church when it was politically expedient, and his comments about his white grandmother showed a lack of integrity. While I feel that he likely does not have a flawless history of kindness, I do believe that he is fundamentally a good person and I believe he has a genius-level intellect.
Biden is less well-known to me. However, the limited exposure I have had leads me to believe that he is smart, but not a genius, and that he often exhibits poor judgment. I have heard clips on the radio from an interview wherein he lied about his educational background and, when confronted, corrected himself not with the truth but with another lie, which shows a lack of integrity. Though I can't cite a specific act, I think that Biden's aggressive manner sometimes precludes kindness toward others.
McCain clearly has integrity but does not always have impeccable judgment. He has displayed a genius-level intellect but he is not charismatic. I feel that McCain is more articulate than Obama because McCain's unscripted dialogue is much closer to the level of his scripted dialogue than Obama's. As with Obama, I don't know enough about McCain's past to attest to a flawless history of kindness toward others, but I have seen no evidence that would contradict that and I believe that he is inherently a good person.
Palin is not an intellectual genius nor is she articulate, but she is charismatic. Whether or not she has done anything illegal in the cases of the firing of certain state employees, I believe that her actions showed a lack of integrity and a lack of judgment. As with Biden, I think that her aggressive manner sometimes precludes kindness toward others so I wouldn't be surprised to hear of unkind past acts.
I want a candidate who is smarter than I am, has more life experience than I do, and is a better person than I am. Based on all of that, McCain is the best choice of candidate for me. Though I don't agree with McCain on all of the issues, I trust him to make a decision that he believes is right and good for the people. In that, I think I weight integrity a little more heavily than impeccable judgment. A person can have very shrewd judgment, but with a lack of integrity, the resulting decision isn't necessarily good for anyone else but that person.
The choice of running mate for the Presidential candidates is irrelevant to me. I can't decide who I want for President based on who will be Vice President. It is unlikely that the Vice President will need to serve as President. Though I do think that Biden is more qualified to step in than Palin, I don't think that Obama is more qualified than McCain to have the job in the first place.
At least that's how I feel right now. In a different race, with a candidate who had the same ideas as me about issues, maybe I would feel differently and use different criteria to make my decision.