You never know...

Behind The News
September 2, 2008 12:31:25 PM PDT
You never know what will happen in your life. I push that theme, especially when I talk to young people in high school and college classes. Because it's true - one never knows what will happen. All you can do is be prepared, and know yourself enough that you can make an informed decision when opportunities present themselves.

You can find out a lot about yourself when you react to opportunity. Some people do indeed rise to the challenge. And in fact we love stories about otherwise ordinary people who find themselves in incredible situations - situations they never dreamed of being in - and rising above themselves.

I have thought a lot about this concept of rising above oneself since the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate.

It will be fascinating to see her speech tomorrow night at the Republican Convention, to see just how high she can rise above what had been her already busy life - as a mother of five and as the Governor of Alaska. Busy for most people - but Palin's selection Friday catapulted her into a stratosphere of public life that took most people - perhaps her as well - by shock and surprise. Does she have the right stuff to rise above? We'll see.

It has stunned many people that her argument so far has been that women will be drawn to her just because she's a woman. Without getting into any discussion of whether you're pro-choice or anti-abortion or pro-gun-control or against gun laws - it seems, at least to me, nonsensical that women would vote for a woman just because she's a woman.

Her politics would seem to be the motivating factor of whether women, or men, would be drawn to her. But maybe that's just me. The bigger issue here - and I've followed it and mulled it over and chewed on it since Friday - is what went on in John McCain's thought process for him to arrive at Palin as his choice.

It's a bit of a puzzlement how he could pick someone he had met only once before, didn't really know, and, as we've seen in the past few days, didn't bother to put through a rigorous vetting process. McCain's investigators, we're told, went to Alaska only on Thursday to begin looking into Palin's record and her past.

I've no idea what else will come to light about Gov. Palin. Maybe nothing. But one important McCain issue was taken off the table, and another put on with the naming of Palin.

McCain loves to criticize Barack Obama for his lack of experience -- a community organizer, a state senator, and a U.S. Senator for less than four years. That argument - inarguably - is gone, with the appointment of a woman who's been governor for less than two years and the mayor of an Alaskan town with 6,700 people. Her City Hall looked about the size of your typical 7/11.

The other issue that's now on the table is McCain's age, which he has managed so far to deflect. In my lifetime, two Vice Presidents have become President during the sitting President's term. Which is to say, the odds are good that it could happen again.

McCain turned 72 on Friday. He seems healthy, except for four bouts with cancer. And he would be the oldest man elected President, if he should win. Attention to the qualifications of his running mate, should she be forced to take over, are magnified. Meanwhile, tonight at the scaled back Republican Convention in Minnesota, the GOP tries to get back on track after calling a time-out for Hurricane Gustav. Pres. Bush is scheduled to speak via satellite tonight. Our team is there - the largest broadcast news contingent of any New York TV station. Diana Williams anchors our coverage, tonight at 11. (Click here to read her blog)

And a note - Rudy Giuliani, bumped from the proceedings tonight, is supposed to now speak tomorrow night, before Palin. He has jumped on her bandwagon, big time.

We're also still on storm watch, with N.J. Burkett in New Orleans for us, as that city makes the decision about when to allow residents back.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast - which includes tracking the next storm, Hannah -- and Marvell Scott, in for Scott Clark, with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.