Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gov. Sarah Palin - Not a Standard-issue Republican

Yesterday in Dayton, Ohio, John McCain seized the spotlight from Sen. Obama, who was still basking in the glow from his rock star appearance at Invesco Field, by introducing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his VP pick. The magnitude of the shock waves from the Democratic Party elite registered at least 7.5 on the Richter scale. Suddenly, the roar of “Yes, we can!” became heartfelt shouts of “Oh, no, he – they - didn’t!”

McCain’s pick was yet another wake-up call to a party that may live to regret its collusion in the misogynous abuse heaped on Hillary Clinton, its most qualified candidate, while its leaders fell under the spell of a motivational speaker skilled in his ability to draw huge crowds and rake in tons of money.

The Anchorage Daily News pays tribute this morning to the state’s favorite daughter in an editorial beginning: “Alaskans were stunned and delighted that John McCain chose Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.”

The piece goes on to examine Palin’s background and her record in Alaska politics:

“Gov. Palin is a classic Alaska story. She is an example of the opportunity our state offers to those with talent, initiative and determination.

“Selecting Palin may prove to be a brilliant political stroke for McCain. Like him, she's an independent who bucked her party establishment and has worked with liberal Democrats. She's an ethics-reforming outsider who will help blunt Barack Obama's claim to be the candidate of change in Washington.

“Like McCain, Palin doesn't mind using government to dictate individuals' personal choices. She staunchly opposes abortion and same-sex marriage, which will help energize the religious Republican base.

“But as governor, she has downplayed those hot-button social issues. Soft-pedaling her convictions in those areas may help her appeal to women disillusioned by Hillary Clinton's absence from the Democratic ticket.

“Palin's husband is a blue-collar union worker, which may help the ticket appeal to economically anxious Americans who have lost ground after eight years of George Bush.

“Palin is comfortable around guns and snowmachines and fishing boats. She has a son in the military, soon to be deployed to Iraq. Those non-traditional female credentials help communicate the toughness that Republicans want to project in their campaign. Her youth and good looks are a handy complement to McCain, who is the oldest first-time presidential candidate in U.S. history.

“McCain's choice of Palin was somewhat surprising because she most definitely is not a standard-issue Republican. She worked with liberal Democrats in the Legislature to pass a multi-billion-dollar tax increase on Alaska's oil industry. She went back to Democrats again to win approval of her natural gas pipeline deal, which bypasses Alaska's major oil companies in favor of a Canadian company.

“In fact, Palin is almost totally alienated from the Republican Party establishment here. She tried and failed to get rid of ethically compromised party Chair Randy Ruedrich; they're not on speaking terms. In the August primary, Palin urged fellow Republicans to desert long-time Congressman Don Young in favor of her inexperienced and uninspiring Lt. Governor, Sean Parnell.

“McCain picked Palin despite a recent blemish on her ethically pure resume. While she was governor, members of her family and staff tried to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from the Alaska State Troopers. Her public safety commissioner would not do so; she forced him out, supposedly for other reasons. While she runs for vice-president, the Legislature has an investigator on the case.”

There’s a glimmer of justice for Hillary Clinton’s supporters in McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. My first thought yesterday morning as I watched the self-confident governor from Alaska step onto the national stage was “Serves you right, Dr. Dean.”

To read the article from the Anchorage Daily News in its entirety, go here.

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