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A Political Marriage? Why McCain Chose Palin

Posted Oct 21 2008 7:20am

*This is part one of a series of blogs on candidates, politics and the role of sex. I invite my FiftyandFurthermore counterparts to react, respond, and offer their own food for thought.

In preparation for tonight's debate, I found myself contemplating some political issues from a psychological view point. Those that I offer are not the only explanations, but they have enough truth to be thought about. Many have asked me why McCain picked Palin as his running mate. I suggest that we look beyond the usual reasons proffered: she's a maverick, she's a woman, she can connect with a specific segment of the American population, etc. I believe McCains choice of Sarah was highly influenced by an unconscious reason that is not unusual for a man in his position.

McCain is getting older. He arrived at 72 as a self-defined maverick. At 71 he said, "I am too old to be called The Comeback Kid. But Come Back I have." This was one of his first overt self reflections about his age.

Check your mythology, check movies, check your neighbor, and possibly even check out yourself. It is common for an older man, often ill or afraid, to wed (and this is a political marriage) a woman years younger than himself. At this point in his life he has gained wisdom and years of experience and at the same time is in need of a dash of youthful (sexual) life force. Sarah Palin brings sexuality, sensuality and energy to the Republican presidential pairing. She arrived on the scene much as a rock star might: big splash, full of energy and with enough noise and music in the background that she really doesn't need to sustain her drum rolls for more than a few months. If she can sustain this image, and I see no reason that she can't, we never have to get to know her until she possibly becomes our next Vice President, or if McCain isn't well, President.

McCain himself is not attacking, but neither is he holding his vice president in check. She is the younger women to an older man's fantasy wish. John McCain has a history of instantly falling in love. Was his choice of Palin really so different than the way he chose his second wife? Yes, on the surface it seems so. But I invite you to dig deeper. I'm curious if those who support Sarah Palin ever wonder why they may be voting for an "Energizer Bunny" sex symbol about whom so little is known.

Next: The Sexuality of Barrack and Michelle Obama

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