Friday, August 29, 2008

Initial Thoughts on the Sarah Palin Pick

Boy, was I wrong. For about a year now, I’ve been absolutely convinced that if McCain was the GOP nominee for president, Tim Pawlenty would be his running mate. That view formed into conventional wisdom over the last month or two. Um… oops.

I don’t know much about Sarah Palin. She is currently the subject of an ongoing ethics investigation, but it could well be unwarranted. The citizens of Alaska, who are about to throw out bums Ted Stevens and Don Young and already took care of Mike Gravel and Frank Murkowski, certainly like her, so that speaks well enough of her. Perhaps she's "one of the good ones," I don't know. But, aside from my excitement that no matter what, one of the top two spots in the land will belong to either a woman or a black man, my initial reaction is somewhat negative. Here are a few quick thoughts:

1. The right wing talking heads on CNN are trying to spin Palin as more experienced than Obama, but I don’t buy it. He’s been a US Senator twice as long as she’s been a Governor, and spent just as much time in a state legislature that set laws for the nation’s third largest city as she spent running a town of 6,000 people. Sure, her experience is executive rather than legislative, but then again, so was George W. Bush’s, and we all know that turned out. One could even joke that Joe Biden has more executive experience than Sarah Palin, because his committee staff is larger than the population of Alaska…

It will be very hypocritical of McCain if he keeps up the drumbeat that Obama is “not ready to lead.” If experience is so important, why would he choose to put a brand-new governor with such a short resume just one heartbeat – one very old cancer-surviving heartbeat – away from the presidency?

2. In her first speech as McCain’s VP pick, Palin said, “Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America. But it turns out the women of America aren't finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.”

Really, Sarah? Your run for the VICE Presidency will shatter the glass ceiling? I thought that the Oval Office itself was what women should be shooting for, but y’know, I’m just a guy, so what do I know. Maybe the #2 spot is as high as women can go, and earning it will mean the job is, as you say, “finished.”


3. Is this a little TOO ambitious for McCain? One is kind of forced to wonder, does he really think she’d make the best President in the unfortunate case of his demise, or is he saying, “Well, you’ve got a black guy, so I’ll take a woman!” I’m probably being overly cynical, she is a very popular Governor and from a state where Obama is trying to make inroads, so I won’t belabor this point.

4. My third and, for now, final thought on the Palin pick is not my own, but those of humorist Andy Borowitz:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz)used the announcement of his vice-presidential pick, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, to blast the experience of his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill), arguing that Sen. Obama has never been the mayor of a 5,000-person town.

"The Presidency of the United States of America is the toughest job on the planet," Sen. McCain said. "And my friends, the best testing ground for that job is being the mayor of a 5,000-person town in Alaska."

Sen. McCain unleashed a savage attack on Sen. Obama, claiming that his Democratic opponent would be "at a loss" when faced with the challenges of running a 5000-person municipality in Alaska.

"Let's say a constituent calls you and says that a caribou has wandered onto his front lawn," he said. "My friends, Barack Obama wouldn't know what to do."…

Mr. McCain said that an understanding of foreign affairs, Congress, and other issues that a president has to deal with is "overrated," adding, "That's what Presidency for Dummies' is for."


Cany said...

Well, a couple of things.

First, she's pretty (and pretty crazy), and she's a woman. That is the reason for the choice. He's trying to lure more women to his campaign. Woman polled FAR OUT supported Obama, not McCain. He needs more women's votes. It's not even passing the sniff test. McCain probably (and i would almost bet on this) doesn't even know who she is. She was chosen not by him, but by Rove for political reason EVEN THOUGH she has a lot of issues against her.

Second, he's playing to Rush Limbergercheese who has been advocating for her for quite a while. Wonder what's really up with that!

Third, Biden will have her for lunch in VP debates... no question. I am probably more qualified to be VP than she is!

She'll be horrible for the environment (she said that in regard to a huge mining operation in AK, they did not need to protect the water. Anyone familiar with mining knows how that works. Her hubby works on the slopes (as in oil) in AK, so she has a serious conflict there. She loves hunting--that will play to women in the NRA and hunters--but there are more people who, when they find out what she has done in terms of shooting wolves and bounties and now supporting shooting bear from planes, will dislike her right off the bat and believe me, you do NOT want to screw around with animal lovers. Big mistake. Every animal advocate and advocacy group will be in on that one.

She knows absolutely NOTHING about national or international issues and has NO experience in those areas... can't even tie Biden's sandals on that one. VPs spend a lot of time doing international stuff. Her 17yo daughter is pregnant (and unmarried) which won't go over well with fundamentalists and "just say no" folks. If she cannot control her daughter... well you know how that argument goes.

I think it was a very foolish choice and believe me, he HAD to have pissed off some women in the GOP who ARE qualified plenty.

Trying to show he is different? Well, there are better ways.

Jordan said...

Wow you do get a few crazies that post here. McCain knew what he was doing. According to reports by CNN and Fox News that I've read, Senator McCain picked her out as early as February after having one conversation with her. If anything you should know McCain is a pretty good judge of character. (here's the link to the story:

He decided shortly after Biden was chosen by Senator Obama that she was the one; so obviously this isn't some sort of last minute decision that had no prior research.

I will say IMHO he mainly chose her for three reasons (ignoring the fact they share beliefs on many policies):
1) kinship with a fellow Maverick
2) Youth
3) She's a woman

Also I think beating out two other republicans in a tough red state and then beating an incumbent governor by eight points means she's probably pretty smart on politics and how the world runs in general.

But I'll hold my final judgment until after I see her on the campaing trail.

Besides, I was rooting for Jindal and I think she matches Jindal's experience and then some not to mention the fact that she can clearly hold her own.

BTW I have yet to read your so-called "Maverick is Dead" post, which I'm going to find now....

Leonardo Ricardo said...

What crazies?

Writing with even-handed, putrifying numbskullness, with spell-check, doesn't make a case for a ill-experienced, irresponsible emotionally/spiritually imbalanced/immature seeker of fame.

Nathan Empsall said...

Cany, I would imagine that McCain has known who Palin is for several years; Republican Senators are aware of Republican Governors. Political junkies are a small circle that get even smaller once they're in office. But the news reports are that they've only met once before, so yeah, it's an odd pick. The one thing that worries me about the VP debates is that if Joe gets too aggressive, he might be seen as going after the poor defenseless wittew woman, that he'll have to be careful to avoid getting slammed by the media. But that shouldn't be a problem for him, he did fine against Hillary. He can hammer Palin policy and make the pointed criticisms about McCain and be fine.

Nathan Empsall said...

Jordan, Leonardo's right, and if you weren't a personal friend from real life rather than the Internet, I'd delete your comment. There's no place for name calling here. Cany is not a "crazy," but a regular commenter from the Episcopal blogosphere with a pretty good blog of her own. It's very foolish to insult people's integrity or intelligence when all you've got is one Internet comment.

Anyways, I'm not sure I'd call the guy who sought out and aggressively courted John Hagee's endorsement "if anything... a good judge of character."

Also, it wasn't that tough for her to beat either Governor Murkowski in the primary, or former Governor Knowles in the general. They were always expected to be close races, but she was always the favorite - in the primary, because Murkowski was disliked, and in the general, because she was the Republican in a very red state. So her past campaigns, while impressive, are not overly so.

I was also rooting for Jindal, actually, but not just because he's a reformer admired by many Democrats and Independents in Congress and Louisiana - I also think he's so young and new that he'd highlight McCain's age and be an easy target, and that if we beat him now, it'll be easier to beat him later. It's GOOD for the Republican Party that he wasn't chosen, I think, as it sets him up to run further down the road.

Jordan said...

I wouldn't call it foolish, just stating my opinion and you have every right to disagree with it.

Jordan said...

But since you asked so nicely I'll be more gracious on your blog. I'll try to keep in mind that's one of the reasons I don't much care for Joe Biden (who attacks a man for simply calling a sem-automatic rifle "his baby").

Nathan Empsall said...

The guy in that video seemed like he was straight out of the Michigan militia. Anyone who equates a gun to human children and means it, as he clearly did, is a little off their rocker, and deserves at the very least some gentle ribbing, which is what Joe gave him. And I say that as a gun fan. I would add that I've met and spoken with Biden on multiple occasions, met both his boys and his neice, and had dinner with his sister, and they are all as gracious and decent as can be, especially Joe and the boys. Everyone else I know who has ever met them or knows them well agrees, which I can't say about every politician I've met or have mutual acquaintances.