I'm not defending the choice, but there are quite a few major party Vice Presidential nominees with less experience in elective office than Sarah Palin:
- Chester A. Arthur: James Garfield's running mate in 1880; prior to being elected Vice President, he had never held elective office, but had been appointed Collector of the Port of New York by Ulysses Grant (who himself had no electoral experience).
- Arthur Sewall: William Jennings Bryan's running mate in 1896; he was a wealthy industrialist and a member of the Democratic National Committee but had never held elective office.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt: James Cox's running mate in 1920; he had been elected to two terms in the New York State Senate, lost a U.S. Senate race, and served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under Woodrow Wilson.
- Whitelaw Reid: Benjamin Harrison's running mate in 1892; he never held elective office, but he had served as the U.S Ambassador to France under Harrison.
- Frank Knox: Alf Landon's running mate in 1936; he was an active Republican but had never held elective office.
- Henry A. Wallace: Franklin Roosevelt's running mate in 1940; he had been Roosevelt's Secretary of Agriculture but had never been elected to anything.
By comparison, Palin was elected to two terms on the Wasilla, Alaska, City Council; two terms as Wasilla's mayor, and a single term as Alaska's governor. Hardly an impressive political resume, but still.