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  • « If it's Romney... | Main | Reckless and hypocritical »

    August 29, 2008

    Suddenly Sarah

    Posted by: Kevin

    SarahpalinlgWell, she's not Mitt Romney.

    But many Americans down in the lower 48 are asking themselves, who the hell is Sarah Palin?

    The Governor of Alaska is perhaps best known anywhere for having an approval rating of around 90% in her home state, which for any Republican these days is a remarkable achievement.  And Palin is 44 years old, three years younger than Barack Obama.

    And no matter who she is or what she believes on a full range of federal matters of interest to gay people, the press releases calling her the girlfriend of Satan and the most dangerous, hateful maniac in history are no doubt flying off the laser printers of gay Democratic hacks as we speak.  They will wisely leap on how unknown she is, and will burst into a chorus of screeching like the finger-pointing little girls in "The Crucible."  They saw Goody Palin with the Devil.

    What little I know about her is that she is a native of Idaho and a social conservative, but cut from the Alaska cloth in terms of her politics.  She is much more active in the pro-life movement, largely tied to the symbolism of her personal experience (she gave birth to her fifth son in April, who was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome early in the pregnancy). 

    On gay issues, there is a discordant mix.  Palin said during her 2006 campaign for governor that she has many close gay friends, and that she is "not out to judge anyone."  She used her first veto as Governor to strike down a law which would ban domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples, effectively clearing the way for those benefits to be granted, when the state's Supreme Court found the measure unconstitutional.  She complied with the decision, but also said she would support putting the issue to the voters in a referendum.  "Signing this bill would be a direct violation of my oath of office," she said at the time.  In April 2007, 53% of the voters in Alaska gave their approval to putting the issue on the ballot this year, but the measure has not been put forward.  Palin also supported the state's ban on gay marriage in 1998, and said she didn't know whether being gay is a choice or not, but the exact quotes on those positions are not available anywhere.  All of this needs a lot more definition from Palin herself.

    However, for those who continue harboring a concern that Barack Obama does not have the experience to be President, Palin's resume is even thinner.  A year and a half in office as governor, and years of experience in civic politics before that.  No national experience and no foreign policy background.  The one area where she has some real gravitas is on energy policy, which is a crucial one in this election.  However, as those who doubt Obama's experience may persist in them, one could also argue that Obama's camp couldn't credibly lob the same criticism at the number two on the GOP ticket when their number one has the same problem.  McCain would win that draw in the minds of many.

    Palin was elected in 2006 -- an upset victory against better funded and better known candidates, on the worst year for Republicans in a generation.  For those who followed that race, she truly earned it.  At a time when the state's GOP establishment is sinking in sleaze - embodied in the now-indicted Senator Ted Stevens on corruption charges - Palin personally went public with her knowledge of a corruption scandal that involved the state's Republican Party chairman and the Republican state Attorney General, both of whom were brought down by the scandal, and she crusaded against much of the pork barrel spending that Stevens himself became famous for, including the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere".  All of this is in line with McCain's own reformist agenda, and she is probably the most successful maverick Republican in office.  Perhaps McCain will bask in her success, and the pick is more one of synchronizing attitude on reformist zeal.  Palin will also be a ferocious running mate, and an effective attack dog, if her upset 2006 campaign is any indication.  She will also spend her time going after every disaffected Hillary voter she can sink her nails into, especially in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Iowa and Michigan, among other states.

    I'll leave it to Log Cabin to do the grunt work of reaching out to Palin and McCain and reporting back to all of us on their progress.  Nobody else will have any hope of impacting the ticket.  Their endorsement is not a dead letter now, as Romney has been brushed aside.  The question is whether McCain wants to gain it, no matter which non-Romney has joined as his veep.

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    Comments

    1. stevew on Aug 29, 2008 11:23:56 AM:

      Regarding Palin's veto, my understand is that she vetoed the law because it was clearly unconstitutional in light of an earlier decision by the Alaska Supreme Court. She said that she believed the earlier Alaska Supreme Court decision was wrong, and she wants an amendment to the Alaska constitution. It's not clear that her veto should be counted as an especially good thing.

    1. LACA on Aug 29, 2008 12:52:08 PM:

      You have to look at a vice presidential candidate as a potential president (and I'm sorry, but in the case of John McCain, you have to look even more closely at that consideration). In that context, I don't see how she even comes close to Joe Biden. Regardless of how one feels about Biden, can anyone imagine a President Sarah Palin?? If the Democrats are smart, they will play up this issue, however subtly.

    1. Wes on Aug 29, 2008 1:44:13 PM:

      Laca, I do not disagree that Palin appears unqualified to be president. She makes Dan Quayle appear to have been qualified. But I disagree with you that the Democrats should play that issue up given Obama's rather limited experience on either the state or national scene. Playing the issue up would simply remind voters that Obama's resume is tissue paper thin, too. And people do not choose a presidential candidate based upon the VP. If they did George I (#41) would never have been elected.

    1. Charlie on Aug 29, 2008 2:13:58 PM:

      Yes, but the reverse is also true. McCain has undercut his argument that Obama is under-qualified by selecting Palin, especially given the concerns people already have his about his age. Really, it seems very odd to me, to spend these past few months arguing that your opponent is inexperienced and then to pick a running mate who has even less experience. That would have been like Obama picking Cheney as his running mate... picking a person for VP who is pretty much everything that you've been arguing that your opponent is.

      He's so clearly trying to grab the disgruntled Hillary people, and he may very well get them.

    1. The Gay Species on Aug 29, 2008 2:53:37 PM:

      Beauty pageant queen. Rejects gay civil rights. Is a Christian conservative. Intolerant of diversity. And . . . well, hardly qualified to be president of the world's superpower.

      Looks like Anita Bryant, The Sequel

    1. LACA on Aug 29, 2008 3:00:10 PM:

      It defintely cuts both ways - The Dems can't (and shouldn't) criticize her inexperience for obvious reasons, nor can the Repubs now effectively criticize Obama's. Yes, Obama is in the #1 spot and Palin is in the #2, but let's be realistic -- when a running mate is chosen for the VP slot, that person must also be scrutinized for their "day one readiness" should they be required to take over as Commander-in-Chief. And Joe Biden is significantly more experienced (and more "Presidential") than Palin.

      The Dems should now try to somehow neutralize McCain's criticism that Obama is an untested, unproven entity by emphasizing his rather odd choice for VP who is even more unknown and arguably untested than Obama.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Aug 29, 2008 3:16:11 PM:

      The Dems should now try to somehow neutralize McCain's criticism that Obama is an untested, unproven entity by emphasizing his rather odd choice for VP who is even more unknown and arguably untested than Obama.

      By, of course, arguing that their solution of putting an untested and unproven entity in the Presidency makes more sense than in the Vice Presidency.

      Meanwhile, I would say bring it on; the thought of two Eastern Ivy-educated liberals bashing Palin, belittling her state university degree, claiming small towns mean nothing, and condescending to her rural upbringing, religious beliefs, and family of five kids as making her unfit to make tough decisions should make for entertaining political spectacle, especially when coupled with the same Eastern liberals trying to play on their small-town, working-class, family roots as proof of how they would be good leaders.


    1. Geena on Aug 29, 2008 3:28:03 PM:

      It all has to start somewhere, be it Shirley Chisholm, Geraldine Ferraro, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, or Barney Frank.

      America will be truly diverse and tolerant when it is reflected on both sides of the aisle. It's a great day for America and congratulations to the choice of diversity we will have this November.

    1. LACA on Aug 29, 2008 3:37:42 PM:

      Very classy, NDF. I love how some people use the term "Ivy-educated" as if this were somehow a bad thing. Yeah, who wants an actual intelligent person in the White House?

      As for the rest of your diatribe - nothing like complaining about something that doesn't even exist or hasn't happened yet, huh? But I'll bet it made you feel real good type it.

    1. LACA on Aug 29, 2008 3:38:28 PM:

      Make that NDT, not NDF.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Aug 29, 2008 4:05:45 PM:

      Very classy, NDF. I love how some people use the term "Ivy-educated" as if this were somehow a bad thing. Yeah, who wants an actual intelligent person in the White House?

      Well, first, since you obviously believe an Ivy League degree is a sign of intelligence, would you care to counter the Democrat Party rhetoric calling George W. Bush (Yale undergraduate degree, Harvard graduate degree) as being unintelligent?

      Second, would you please confirm that a lack of an Ivy League degree indicates that one is not intelligent?

      And as for it not already happening, witness the first press release of the Obama campaign, and then go view .

    1. LACA on Aug 29, 2008 4:44:34 PM:

      Well, first, since you obviously believe an Ivy League degree is a sign of intelligence....

      Do I? You used the term "Ivy-educated" in a condescending and disparaging way. I'm merely pointing this out, because it's a common theme among many Republicans, as if Ivy League eduated were some bad thing (hint: it's a more subtle way of suggesting someone is an elitist). Yes, I can see how my comment about having an intelligent person in the White House could have been misinterpeted, but the larger point still stands -- you used "Ivy-educated" as a negative.

      ..., would you care to counter the Democrat Party rhetoric calling George W. Bush (Yale undergraduate degree, Harvard graduate degree) as being unintelligent?

      That's because he's unintelligent. His educational background is irrelevant. The man is a dunce.

      “Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency.”

      This is the quote from your link. Yeah, you're right. That sure touches on everything from "belittling her state university degree, claiming small towns mean nothing, and condescending to her rural upbringing, religious beliefs, and family of five kids as making her unfit to make tough decisions".

      Creating drama, the NDT way.

    1. Chester on Aug 29, 2008 5:10:25 PM:

      How sad that in her first national speech she had to lie about the "bridge to nowhere." Not a good start.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Aug 29, 2008 5:43:20 PM:

      This is the quote from your link.

      Actually, the HTML cut off the other link I wanted to provide of what gay and lesbian Obama supporters are saying.

      Try that one. :)

    1. Allan on Aug 29, 2008 6:16:08 PM:

      Kevin, she HAD a 90% approval rating in Alaska before Troopergate and her constantly changing version of reality showed her to be just another disseminating Republican hack.

      I believe that's fallen into the 60s. Still good, yes, but try to keep current.

    1. Wes on Aug 29, 2008 6:23:07 PM:

      I wonder if the Republicans ever looked at a picture of these two (McCain and Palin) in the same photo together? They are not a pretty couple. Particularly upsetting is the photo that the NY Times has on its web site Fri afternoon. McCain looks like a corpse. And Palin looks like a high school cheerleader.

    1. Charlie on Aug 29, 2008 6:51:53 PM:

      Who was the last President we had who was NOT Ivy League educated? Reagan? Speaking from experience, there is absolutely nothing meaningful to be drawn from the knowledge that someone went to an Ivy League school. It implies intelligence, except when it doesn't, and implies affluence, except when it doesn't. I went to an Ivy league school and I met people with a lot more money than I had and I met people with a lot less. I met people from all over the globe and people of all races. I met people who seemed much more intelligent than I, and people who really, really weren't. While I was there, a graduate of my school was named Attorney General and another was appointed to the Supreme Court, but two classmates of mine, in unrelated incidents, accidentally killed themselves doing things you'd think a ten-year old would know not to do.

      I still think it's absurd that the McCain campaign would hammer at Obama's inexperience and then select a VP who is even less experienced. Why didn't they just quit pussyfooting around and ask Hillary? You know she'd have taken it, in her insane quest for world domination.

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Aug 29, 2008 7:06:21 PM:

      I don't think Palin was a particularly good choice for McCain. Obviously there is a name recognition issue and a lack of experience issue. But his political calculus fails in another area too -- the women's vote.

      I've heard that one of his reasons for choosing Palin was to appeal to Hillary supporters who were disaffected by Barack Obama's primary victory. Several Hillary people went on record to say they would vote for McCain instead.

      However, I imagine most Hillary supporters will stay with Obama, especially after she endorsed him. Many of Hillary's women supporters are pro-choice on the abortion issue and style themselves as feminists. I don't imagine these women will relate to Palin on these issues. This might seal the deal for the few Hillary people who said they would vote for McCain already, but it's not going to win over any new converts.

      Plus, like Charlie and so many above have mentioned, McCain has undercut his own arguments about Obama's lack of experience by tapping Palin as his V.P. If McCain wins, she stands a better than ususal chance of ascending to the presidency, given McCain's age and history of health problems.

      And let's face it...he was going to win Alaska anyway, so no strategy there, either.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Aug 29, 2008 7:12:51 PM:

      Kevin, she HAD a 90% approval rating in Alaska before Troopergate and her constantly changing version of reality showed her to be just another disseminating Republican hack.

      Oh, and do go there, Allan. Please do.

      Troopers eventually investigated 13 issues and found four in which Wooten violated policy or broke the law or both:

      • Wooten used a Taser on his stepson.

      • He illegally shot a moose.

      • He drank beer in his patrol car on one occasion.

      • He told others his father-in-law would “eat a f’ing lead bullet” if he helped his daughter get an attorney for the divorce.

      Beyond the investigation sparked by the family, trooper commanders saw cause to discipline or give written instructions to correct Wooten seven times since he joined the force, according to Grimes’ letter to Wooten.

      Those incidents included: a reprimand in January 2004 for negligent damage to a state vehicle; a January 2005 instruction after being accused of speeding, unsafe lane changes, following too closely and not using turn signals in his state vehicle; a June 2005 instruction regarding personal cell phone calls; an October 2005 suspension from work after getting a speeding ticket; and a November 2005 memo “to clarify duty hours, tardiness and personal business during duty time.”

      Or, from another perspective:

      Except in this case, the employee being discussed is a trooper who carries a gun and the force of law based on the authority given to him by, ultimately, us. He also happens to be an employee who somehow managed to Taser his 11-year-old stepson and get away with it.

      The limp explanation that he was trying to show the young man how it felt is simply stupid and an insult to any thinking, reasonable adult. Assuming we want the people we authorize to carry guns and use them in our name to be adults, he should have found a much, much better way to get this lesson across.

      In fact, his actions went beyond stupid and, for many of us, straight into the realm of criminal. I've had parents on my caseload whose kids would have been permanently removed from them if we'd gone to court with that.

      And:

      Let's think about this. He was stopped in his vehicle after a bartender called troopers to say he thought Wooten might be driving drunk. The trooper who stopped him admitted to smelling booze on his breath but made the decision that he didn't need to take a Breathalyzer because Wooten didn't seem drunk. Raise your hand if you think that trooper would not have given you a Breathalyzer test under the same circumstances. Yep, as I suspected, not a hand in sight.

      Which brings us to the point most people are at. Palin isn't their problem. A state trooper agency that thinks this man should still be wearing a badge is.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Aug 29, 2008 7:20:03 PM:

      I've heard that one of his reasons for choosing Palin was to appeal to Hillary supporters who were disaffected by Barack Obama's primary victory.

      Yes and no.

      McCain doesn't expect the lesbian harpies like Hilary Rosen and Ellen Malcom who were banking on a Hillary win to seal their cushy government jobs to come over, nor does he expect the women like Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, and Nancy Pelosi who have sold their souls to the Party for power, either.

      However, there are quite a few women in the world who cherish their families, who don't need their gender to be an excuse for their job performance, who think abortion is morally wrong, who are impressed by Palin's decision to have a baby that liberals would call "a burden" and "unwanted", and who are willing to fairly look at someone who, quite frankly, has kicked butt and taken names in one of the most male-dominated and corrupt political environments in the United States.

    1. LACA on Aug 29, 2008 7:35:27 PM:

      I for one look forward to the Biden-Palin Vice Presidential Nominees debate. Especially when they talk about foreign policy.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Aug 29, 2008 7:59:44 PM:

      Oh, and the Obama/Biden campaign have already engaged their paid shills to spread the following.....Sarah Palin's baby isn't really hers and she's covering up for her daughter.

    1. Charlie on Aug 30, 2008 12:14:01 AM:

      ...nor does he expect the women like Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, and Nancy Pelosi who have sold their souls to the Party for power, either.
      However, there are quite a few women in the world who cherish their families, who don't need their gender to be an excuse for their job performance, who think abortion is morally wrong...

      Wait, are these the same women who were previously on board for Hillary? Sounds like you're describing women who would already have been leaning towards McCain. No one was ever suggesting that every woman in the country was going to vote for Hillary, had she been nominated, just because she has no Y chromosome. There are plenty of women who are staunchly right... and Sarah Palin is one of them, and will appeal to them.

      The question is whether Palin's addition to the ticket will help the Republicans pick up previous Hillary supports (Not people who would describe her as having "sold her soul for power") who have already expressed antipathy towards Obama. Her abortion stance might hurt her chances at grabbing liberals, but the fact that she is a woman who "has kicked butt and taken names in one of the most male-dominated and corrupt political environments in the United States" may very well help her as you suggest.

      If she DID, in fact, cover for her daughter, it speaks to her character, though it would sorta call her parenting skills into question. I'm not sure this is a story that Obama/Biden want to circulate. It's easy to see how such a strategy could backfire in a big way.

    1. Ian on Aug 30, 2008 12:47:43 AM:

      This is McCain's Harriet Miers moment. Close inspection revealed that HM know nothing of constitutional law, and the nomination was withdrawn. As the suprise wears off, and people begin to think about what this choice says about McCain's judgment, he will wish he had a "do over". Did he really make this decision based on only one meeting, as the media report? McCain is grasping. I look forward to the debates.

    1. Allan on Aug 30, 2008 1:05:40 PM:

      Prove your assertion, WD40, that the questions about Palin's pregnancy are perpetrated by paid operatives of the Obama/Biden campaign.

      Prove it or retract it.

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