Some thoughts on Sarah Palin

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain‘s pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate is fascinating any way you cut it.

Palin is extremely popular in her state, enjoying approval ratings that’ve ranged as high as 80 to 90 percent. In a state beset by other Republicans’ scandals, she has made ethics and earmark-slashing — even her fellow Republicans’ earmarks — the cornerstones of her administration. Palin opposes abortion choice; supports capital punishment; opposes same-sex marriage but issued a veto which effectively granted benefits to same-sex partners of state employees; and is a lifetime National Rifle Association member. She’s a mother of five, the eldest of whom is in the Army and scheduled to ship out to Iraq next month, and the youngest of whom was born just this April with Down syndrome.

However, the Alaska Legislature — where Republicans control the state House and a bipartisan coalition runs the state Senate — has hired an investigator to probe whether she or her aides improperly pressured the Public Safety Department to fire her ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper who’d been in a divorce and child-custody battle with the governor’s sister; Palin fired the department’s commissioner in July, but said it had nothing to do with her sister.

A chief GOP criticism of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama — who was a state Senator for seven years and now a U.S. Senator for less than four — is that he’s too inexperienced to be president. Yet McCain has picked a running mate who’s younger than Obama and whose experience consists of four years as a citycouncilman and six as mayor of a town of 6,700 people (roughly two-thirds the size of Emeryville for all us East Bay folks), and now less than two years as Alaska’s governor.

Clearly part of McCain’s calculus in choosing Palin is the hope that she’ll attract female voters — be they Democrats, independents or Republicans — who are still irked that Hillary Clinton didn’t win the Democratic nomination. And in trying to pull those Democrats and independents, he’s putting faith in the idea that gender will trump policy in these voters’ hearts and minds. Perhaps he’s also hoping that having a 44-year-old running mate will balance voters’ concerns about his own age (again, happy 72nd birthday, Senator).

The Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President blog — launched in late February 2007, less than three months after she was sworn in as governor — is beside itself with joy.

Thoughts, anyone?

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Marietta Reid

    Sarah is a tough woman who stands for what she believes in and won’t be pressured to do what the good ol boys want! Sarah is a great govenor of our state and we are all proud and honored to see her take on this challenge! Look out USA, if elected we will have someone who is on our side and won’t bend to politics as usual. Just ask those in jail now for doing illegal activities in our state! Now I will vote Republican!

  • Kathy

    I think McCain has shot himself in the foot. I just don’t believe the Hillary supporters are going to vote for McCain, no matter how much they threaten to do so. And there are way too many people in this country who just can’t deal with the idea of a woman being in charge of something major — their church or their country.

    Not that anyone asked me, but I don’t think Hillary’s candidacy did one damn thing for women in this country. I don’t feel very strongly one way or another about Hillary; there was just so much hatred being spewed that was about her being a woman and not just about her being Hillary.

  • she is still on simalac, wet behind the ears!

  • Steve

    You know Thursday night I was disillusioned with the choices in this Presidential election. I originally voted for Obama in the primary, but his selection of Biden as his VP spoke volumes to me that his platform for change is a dream and just hype to garner votes. Obama is a committed party member – both he and Biden have voted over 96% the party line. On the other hand, I know McCain is willing to work with both parties as evidenced with his past dealings with Feingold, Lieberman and even Kennedy. His choice of Palin, a maverick in her own right and a woman that has all the qualties and character of an average American woman just reaffirmed McCain’s reputation as an independant person in thought and action. McCain’s choice has validated his committment to change.

  • Lauris

    I feel that by McCain picking Sarah Palin he put his candidacy first and not the country. If he thinks that Hillary supporters will flock to him and Sarah just because she is a woman, he is insulting all women.

    Hillary supporters support her because of her experience. Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton. She also has no business running for VP when she has 5 children. She is putting her own political desires before the good of her young family.

    I also need to point out that Joe Biden’s son is also in the Military and about to be deployed to Iraq so she is not the only mother/parent to have a child in the Military.

    No Way, Now How, McCain/Palin.

  • Lauris

    I also wanted to add that who is this young woman to tell the rest of us what to do or not do with our bodies. McCain and Palin have no business interferring in our personal choices or preferences. Also we do not need any more conservative Supreme Court Judges doing away with Roe vs. Wade, which they both have every intention of doing.

    No Way, Now How, No McCain/Palin

  • A question –

    Is Sarah Palin the best female candidate (note I didn’t ask -is she the BEST candidate) that the Republican party can produce today ?

    I dont think so. . .

    Now ask yourself WHY did the RNC choose this virtual unknown ? Answer – IMHO – because they wanted someone who was a figurehead but who wouldn’t figure with her head. . . . .

    This choice is just another manipulation by the Good ‘ol boy network. . . . not fallin’ for it.

    That the RNC thinks they’ve got something really “compelling” is a slap in the face of every thinking female voter.

  • Sarah WHO ?

    Appears that Jessica Reid of the Chicago Tribune agrees with Hillary Fan. See her article in today’s Argus – I dont know if the original text ran in todays’ Chicago Trib or not.

    Another issue that emerges when I listen closely to the process of selection that went into the choice for Palin.

    Mr. Mcain states that he is “…the original Maverick..” which suggests that he will not be listening to traditional party politics/advisors. Somehow he wants us to believe that he is his own voice and isn’t going to follow the status quo, that HIS thinking and decisions will lead his actions.

    But in the case of Sarah Palin, by his own admission, Mccain selects his SECOND choice for VP nominee !!!

    Wow – could you be any LESS “maverick” ?

    Goin’ along to get along can be the only explnation with this, one of his first and most important decisions. If this is any indication of his “maverick-like” style – we can expect many more years of “status quo” decision making – despite what “maverick” would like you to believe.