You will probably have heard that John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate because she is a woman. But she is also a darling of the religious right, and that is probably just as much--if not more so--the reason McCain picked her. The religious right is a significant portion of the current Republican Party's base, and has been for the last 30+ years. McCain decided that the religious right is alive and well enough that he needed to attempt to energize it, to improve its enthusiasm for the McCain candidacy, for the religious right has never liked McCain since his refreshingly accurate "agents of intolerance" speech in February of 2000.
McCain picks Palin and "the religious right is ecstatic," says Talk To Action's Frederick Clarkson.
And Chip Berlet notes:
By picking Palin, McCain gains even more Christian Right support than by picking Romney or Huckabee with their heavy political baggage. This sets up McCain for a triumphant appearance at the 2008 Values Voters conference in Washington, DC--a major get out the vote event for mobilizing the Christian Right base to reach out to other evangelicals in their home communities.
Conservative evangelical Mike Huckabee was not an option for McCain's running mate because he didn't want the job. Mitt Romney was not an option because, though now a social conservative, he is also a Mormon. Could it be that John McCain is actually not all that enthusiastic about Sarah Palin, but felt that he had no other real options?