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Putting Country First. This has been the slogan of the McCain campaign, up until yesterday that is. With the selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate, Senator McCain has shown that he is willing to put the future of the country at risk for the sake of a political stunt that he hopes will cause women to vote for him simply because there is a woman on the ticket.

For a man who has made his experience and his judgement, and Barack Obama’s alleged deficiency in both areas, a central theme in this campaign, McCain called into question yesterday the value of his experience and the soundness of his judgement.

Here is a man who, at 72 years-old, would be the oldest man to be sworn in for his first term as President. A man with a family history of heart disease and a personal history of recurring melanoma. A man who is willing to put the future of the country in the hands of someone who has no knowledge, and admittedly no interest, in foreign policy, who recently said she has no idea of what the duties of vice-president are, and who 2 years ago was the mayor of a small town in rural Alaska.

This was a choice made out of panic, made after Barack Obama’s speech on Thursday night. From ABC News on Friday:

“The campaign secretly flew Palin into Dayton last night. She and McCain met privately for a couple of hours. McCain concluded she would “shake up the system” and was “a maverick,” qualities he believed Lieberman would have brought to the ticket. But she also would appeal to conservatives — which Lieberman most certainly would not have done.

After their meeting, McCain concluded he was comfortable with his choice. He notified Pawlenty this morning that he was going in a different direction.”

So when the McCain campaign announced on Wednesday that he had made his choice for VP, they either didn’t tell the truth or they had no idea what shoot-from-the-hip John was about to do. Either way, that’s not the honesty or the judgement I want in a President.

Senator McCain is willing to risk putting someone who he met with for “a couple of hours” in charge of making crucial national security and economic policy decisions which affect 300 million people?

Putting Country First? I don’t think so.