After weeks of debate and discussion about who were going to be the presidential nominee's picks for Vice-President, the answer is in. Surprisingly, both Republican and Democrat chose running mates from small electoral states (3 votes apiece). This goes against the conventional wisdom that says your running mate should be from states able to deliver crucial electoral votes, particularly in swing states. Neither Alaska (Palin) or Delaware (Biden) are going to do that.
Instead, each VP pick completely balanced out the resume (and glaring weaknesses) of the top of the ticket.
Obama: By choosing Biden, Obama chooses the experience cred he so desperately lacks. Biden is a seasoned veteran with more than 30 years in the Senate. He has chaired the powerful Judiciary Committee and Foreign Relations Committee and is highly respected by senate members on both sides of the aisle. He also balances Obama's "liberal" moniker by being a Democrat with more centrist tendencies. The downside is that a liberal nominee choosing a running mate from the blue state heartland of the New England coast has not been particularly successful for the Dems in the past.
McCain: Completes his own balancing act by choosing Alaska governor Sarah Palin. As Democratic pundit Paul Begala notes, "Alaska has more reindeer than people" so adding Palin to the ticket was not to deliver the "Alaska" vote.
Instead, Palin brings conservative credentials to a ticket that was not winning over that demographic. She has been recognized as being a tough talking, anti-corruption proponent that has proved to be an effective governor. More importantly though she brings a breath of fresh air to a party that is often perceived as full of old, stodgy, white men (of whom McCain could be the poster boy). She is young and attractive, and more importantly...a woman. With thousands of Hillary voters still seething at the upset of their candidate by Obama, there just might be enough of a "lady vote" to deliver the election to McCain. The downside is that the recently announced pregnancy of her 17 year old daughter may make a mockery of her conservative cred and create enough media fodder to sideline her.