Razib has noted that there is a 15% chance that if McCain/Palin is elected, that Palin will take office based on actuarial data. However, I beg to differ with this given that the presidency is a) known to add years to a person’s life, b) is a somewhat more dangerous job than average (there are 43 presidents, and four were killed in office, making this one of the most dangerous jobs in America) and c) we might as well consider other ways that a president can leave office, because that happens sometimes.
Of the last eight presidents that are also dead, half were dead before reaching McCain’s present age. Of the four that outlived McCain’s present age, one was tossed out of office thus ceding the presidency to the vice president.
So if we use these data to model the likelihood that Palin will be elevated to the office of the Presidency if McCain/Palin is elected, it is better than a fifty percent chance.
This does not count the other kind of leaving office, as Ronald Reagan did by having Alzheimer’s or like George W. Bush did by being brainless to begin with. In either of these cases, Palin may or may not become effectively in charge. But we won’t know who is in charge. That might be bad.
Now, I want you to look here, at this list of previous candidates for president or vice president who happen to be female. Tell me that Sarah Palin is not on or near the bottom of this list. I’d rather have a random pick from this list (minus Martha Mitchell) than McCain’s choice (though I may be missing a ringer or two in here, so don’t hold me to this).