August 30, 2008
What was he thinking?
Posted by: Chris
What a day for my Internet service to be interrupted! Right after I learned yesterday that John McCain had basically blown the presidential election by picking a singularly unqualified vice presidential candidate, the signal cut off. I am overstating the point, of course, but what the hell was he thinking?
My hat's off to my friend Kevin and others for trying to put lipstick on a pig, but McCain has just punted on the single issue that was most likely to beat Barack Obama. Sarah Palin is completely unprepared to be vice president, much less president -- and far, far less experienced than Obama.
The only point the McCain camp can tout is her executive experience as small town mayor and, for two years, governor of a small population state. Even that can't compare to Obama's management of a massive undertaking like a presidential campaign. (Just ask Hillary Clinton.)
Kevin is right about gay political groups grossly overstating the case against her on civil rights issues, although he's overstating the point himself to predict "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." A great turn of phrase, though!
Our friends at the Human Rights Campaign wasted no time in labeling her "anti-gay" and "a fierce opponent of equality":
“America may not know much about Sarah Palin, but based on what our community has seen of her, we know enough,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Sarah Palin not only supported the 1998 Alaska constitutional amendment banning marriage equality but, in her less than two years as Governor, even expressed the extreme position of supporting stripping away domestic partner benefits for state workers. When you can’t even support giving our community the rights to health insurance and pension benefits, it’s a frightening window into where she stands on equality.”
The truth, as Kevin points out, is far more subtle. Palin backed a 1998 state constitutional amendment that overturned a preliminary ruling by the Alaska Supreme Court on gay marriage, but then again, so did John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee four years ago. He nonetheless received a hearty endorsement from HRC.
Gov. Palin also vetoed a bill that attempted to defy an Alaska Supreme Court ruling that gay state employees could not be denied health benefits for their domestic partners. She backed an advisory ballot measure on the question and made clear that she disagreed with the court decision but ultimately abided by it:
"We may disagree with the foundation [of the court decision]," she said, "... but our responsibility is to proceed forward with the law and abide by the constitution."
Solmonese is right that it's a bit extreme -- and heartless, I would add -- to oppose health insurance coverage, especially since she claims to have many gay friends. After all, D.P. benefits are the norm throughout the private sector. But these days it's still something for a conservative Republican to respect the role of the judiciary.
It's premature and a bit silly to label Palin "a fierece opponent of equality." (The blogs are a bit more bombastic, of course.) Unlike the man at the top of the ticket, Palin is said to be open to the idea of anti-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation, though I've yet to see a solid citation on that.
With many reasons already to doubt Palin's qualifications and McCain's judgment for selecting her, it's entirely unnecessary to caricature her on gay rights.
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