It's McCain/Palin all the way in 2008!
The 2008 election was going to make history from the start. That's from the start of the Democratic contest for the nomination, not the Republican's contest. The Democrats had an African-American male, a Latino, and a woman who was just not any woman, but the former first lady of the United States. When the contest came down to just the African-American male and the woman, it was very clear that history was being made and there was possible more history making to come.
While the Democrats put up five white males alongside the other three, the Grand Old Party totaled ten white males all vying for the top of the ticket.
For the first time in twenty-four the Democratic Party was going to bring some diversity to their national ticket. Once the people had spoken and put Barack Obama, an African-American, at the top of the ticket, some wondered if an unprecedented ticket was to be formed. Instead going the more democratic approach of choosing the person to receive the second most highest number of votes cast, Obama selected a safe choice in a running mate. The ticketed did not need to be balanced ideologically or geographically, but it was balanced with Joe Biden someone that balance outs any of Obama's flaws.
The other national party didn't seem to have the possibility of making some history in this election. Those that ran for the nomination were all white males. McCain could've chosen Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee, the next two highest vote getters. But he didn't. McCain secured his party's nomination via the primaries and caucuses earlier than Obama. That was February and it wouldn't be until the first week of September when McCain would officially be the Republican nominee. And yet he still waited until the week before to make his selection.
By this point Obama was history in the making and with Biden the Democrats chose to make history one step at a time. McCain's choices of running mates were Romney of Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Crist of Florida, Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Secretary and former governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania, and Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. His choices were nothing extraordinary for the Republican, save maybe Lieberman. Senator Lieberman would be a historical choice for a number of reasons: the first Jewish vice presidential candidate for the Republican ticket (he was also the first Jewish vice presidential candidate for the Democrats in 2000, which would've made his simply the first Jewish vice presidential candidate in U.S. history), and he would've been a Democrat turned Independent Democrat to run as vice president on the Republican ticket. Not since the election of 1864 had there been such a bipartisan ticket.
But that was not to be. McCain couldn't settle on the white males he was debating over. The Democratic party was about to have for the second time in twenty-four years a ticket with just one white male on it. It looked like McCain's Republican ticket would be no different than GOP tickets of the past.
One name did keep appearing on McCain's short list. The name on that list would eventually be the name added to the ticket and break the Republican party's one hundred fifty-two year streak of an all white male ticket.
Sarah Palin was the choice. She's a governor of a state, just like the other men McCain was considering, once again, except Lieberman. But her resume is somewhat shorter than the others on the short list. There are other qualified and more recognizable Republican woman: Senators Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas and Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, a former candidate for the Republican nomination back in 2000 and wife of the GOP's 1996 nominee; former governor Christine Todd Whitman; business woman Carly Fiorina; and second lady Lynne Cheney. If a first lady can gain experience watch a president, I'm sure the same can be said of the second lady watch her vice president husband execute the duties of his office.
Sarah Palin was the choice. She was the choice because it went with McCain's maverick or outsider approach to politics. Sure the second lady would be an out there choice, but that would be like selecting another GOP woman rumored to be considered by McCain: secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. Rice would've been an historic nomination, but enough of an outsider or change to compete with McCain's opponent idea of change.
Sarah Palin was the choice. Her selection fits with McCain and the options he faced. With Sarah Palin, McCain added much heat and interest into a campaign that without Palin would've been no different the first GOP ticket of John C. Fremont and William L. Dayton.