Whether McCain actively sought Palin in 2008 or passively yielded to aides' pressure, he set a new standard for GOP candidates who rely on lots of sizzle and little substance.
There is no question of the benefits that opening a market of a billion people will bring to American businesses. But as I said last year, this will test China and the world trade system.
Most Republicans and the business community extol the virtues of trade, depicting it as an engine of economic progress, while most Democrats and unions attack the exportation of American jobs, claiming that trade agreements are destroying our economy.
The Republican establishment's 2008 embrace of Palin set an irresponsibly low bar. Coincidence or not, a batch of nonsense-spewing, hard-right candidates quickly followed, often to disastrous effect.
Palin's blatant lack of competence and preparedness needs no belaboring. What's critical is that substantive, serious Republican leaders either wouldn't or couldn't declare, before or after the election, 'This is not what our party stands for. We can and must do better.'
There's a growing sense among large corporations that to solve global problems like climate change, the responsibility can't fall just on the government. The business community has to be a big piece of that.
Centrist voters typically decide general elections, so hard-left or hard-right platforms don't help.
While imperfect, the electoral college has generally served the republic well. It forces candidates to campaign in a variety of closely contested races, where political debate is typically robust.
The reason CAFTA should be enacted is not economic benefits: it is national security.
Now that Donald Trump has won the presidency despite losing the popular vote, there's a growing cry to rethink, or even abolish, the electoral college. This would be a mistake.
While a truly national third party wouldn't necessarily be bad, smaller niche parties are ill-suited to our federalist system.
You can use all the flowery words in the dictionary, but sooner or later, you have to let people know where you stand.
It's logical and fair to allow only registered or self-identified Democrats to choose their party's nominee (although numerous states do have open primaries). Letting more non-Democrats choose the nominee doesn't guarantee success in a November general election. And it does nothing to encourage people to join and work for the party.
There are 14 Cabinet spots, and God only knows how many hundreds of people want them.
Bernie Sanders is making a big and potentially dangerous mistake with his continuing insistence on changes to the Democratic Party's rules and platform. I should know. As chairman of Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, I understand too well where such ideological stubbornness can lead.
Sanders insists the party adopt 'the most progressive platform ever passed' at its Philadelphia convention. Since when does the runner-up get to dictate the platform?
I know something about trade agreements. I was proud to help President Clinton pass the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993 and create what is still the world's largest free-trade area, linking 426 million people and more than $12 trillion of goods and services.
The mistake we made in the 1990s was overestimating the potential of NAFTA's positive impact.
As commerce secretary, I led the Clinton administration's effort to ensure China's entry into the World Trade Organization and the permanent normalization of trade between the U.S. and China - steps that produced a 76 percent increase in U.S. exports to China in just three years.
Politics is all about relationships, people. A lot of it's emotional. It's not rocket science.