John McCain’s father died at the age of 70. His grandfather died at 61. McCain, now 72, is a cancer survivor, and a survivor of considerable trauma. He is not a good bet for longevity.

Those points are — like it or not — highly relevant in the matter of a Presidential election. I do not wish McCain any ill, far from it. I hope he is able — and very soon — to retire to one of his family’s many lodgings, and there — or wherever he chooses — bask in the sun for many many years.

But if he becomes President, his health, his prospects for longevity, become matters of serious concern for the Republic. That is why his second-in-command, the person he selects as vice-President, should be someone with at least a semblance of credentials for the top office.

Beyond that, I have no immediate comment on McCain’s choice for vice-president — a first-term governor whose only previous experience in office was as mayor of a small town in Alaska.

There will, of course, be endless further commentary on the candidate: a conservative Christian woman who was once a beauty queen, mother of a young man about to be deployed to Iraq. But let us see, before throwing roses or stones, just what sort of person the would-be VP seems once she’s been in the public spotlight for a few days.

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