... More than he knew at the time. It was hubris. I think he knows now. He's no dummy, but his off-the-cuff, seemingly "maverick" choice has bit McCain good.
It was a choice he didn't have to make. Play to your Conservative Christian base (btw, I am a "Crunchy-Con" Christian), Anti-abortion, etc... OR play to female undecideds (the most likely demo of undecideds to vote) and pick a woman who was qualified. He picked a pretty face, who had some softball interviews on Faux. Without giving it a lot of thought. (Seems Obama didn't give much thought to his choice, either. THAT is Blowhard Central.)
Christy Todd Whitman would have eaten Biden's lunch. She is smarter, more knowledgable on almost every subject, and a better speaker. And, she probably knows more about energy than any candidate, Prez or VP, ever. But, she's pro-choice.
McCain made the mistake of thinking the CC bunch would not support a pro-choice VP. He was wrong. They had no choice. Where would they go? The CC leaders are pragmatic. The people would follow. In the end McCain would have gotten their vote, and their protestations would have brought attention and votes from undecideds.
They wouldn’t have been left with a choice, they aren’t going to pull a Dem ‘04 and Naderize by going to the Constitutional “Party”. They would have fallen in line, he would have gotten his share of independents, a VP debate winner, and this race would probably have been his.