Leave it to that ole straight-talkin’, shoot-from-the-artificial-hip senator from Arizona to surprise us when it came time to select his running mate.

Joe Lieberman, Mitt Romney, Bobby Jindal, even South Carolina’s own Mark Sanford — yeah, we expected it might be one of those guys, or any of the others the media had talked about over the weeks.

But Sarah Polley? The actress/activist who starred in the Tarantino-esque flick Go and the Dawn of the Dead remake? The one who got two of her teeth knocked out by a police officer during an unruly political protest?

Seriously, I’m just blown away. I mean, she’s Canadian. Isn’t there a law against that?

Oh. My bad. It’s not Polley. It’s Palin.

Wait. Wait. Wait. You mean the guy who sang “The Lumberjack Song,” the dude that tortured the bloody hell out of Jonathan Pryce in Brazil, the bloke who stuttered sweet nothings to a fish called Wanda? Now that’s something completely different.

What’s that you say? It ain’t him either? You say it’s some gal from Alaska named Sarah Palin? And she’s the governor? Who? What?

I need to check into this. Let’s pull up Wikipedia.

“Sarah Louise Heath Palin … [mumble mumble mumble] … chaired the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission … [mumble mumble mumble] … mooseburger … [mumble mumble mumble] … hockey mom … [mumble mumble mumble] … abstinence-only … intelligent design … anti-abortion … independent investigator … potential abuses of power … Palin’s youngest child, Trig, has Down syndrome …”

Excuse me. I’m not a mother or anything, nor do I ever plan on being one for reasons that are largely biological, so pardon me for asking this question: What kind of mom mocks her own child like this, particularly one who is mentally challenged? Who gives birth to a boy with Down Syndrome and names him Trig?

Seriously, how do you explain that to your child? Do you set him down one day and say, “Hey kid, you have this condition called trisomy 21. See, where most folks only have two chromosomes in their 21st pairing of chromosomes, you’ve got an extra one. You’ve got three. And well, that means you’re going to be a little slower than the other kids and you’ll probably be made fun of on the playground. And, you know, dad and I just wanted to make sure that you — and everyone you ever meet — are aware of that, so we’re calling you Trig. Have fun at school.”?

Cripes. Palin would have done better naming her son Sue.

I don’t know about you, folks, but I can give McCain a pass for selecting a VP whose only other political experience was serving a few years as a city council member and then as mayor of a town of less than 7,000. America loves humble beginnings.

I can understand his need to add a little fundamentalist flavor to his ticket — the southern evangelicals who make up the Republican base have never been huge fans of McCain. After all, he’s a life-long Episcopalian. That is until he announced that he was a Baptist somewhere back at the start of the campaign season.

I can accept the attempt at picking up a few votes from the “Party Unity My Ass” Hillary supporters out there, those gals who are so pissed off that Clinton didn’t win the Democratic Party nomination that they’d rather elect an anti-choice, anti-birth control advocate just to stick it to all those mean old men in the DNC. As Annie Wilkes once said, “You just better start showing us a little appreciation around here, Mr. Man.”

I get why McCain thought it was OK to pick a candidate who he only met once; his campaign needed a real game-changer to offset the Biden buzz and Obama love. And fumbling questions about how many houses he owned wasn’t going to do it.

But a lady who is so heartlessly cruel to her own child? That’s bad judgment.