Like most people, I spent much of yesterday listening to the news or watching when I could and I am floored by John McCain's VP pick. What I know of Sarah Palin, I really like and am very impressed with. There's just so much to say about it!
I think she was a good choice. The obvious fact of her gender is a definitely a nod to women voters but if McCain thinks people will vote for him because he chose a woman, any woman, I think he is wrong. However, THIS woman deserves a closer look, and I don't think it's fair to dismiss her out of hand as simply a token. She does have other things going for her. She may be new to the national political arena, but people have been saying that she is a rising star in the Republican party, even before the world exploded yesterday. I thought one quote was funny, I can't remember who said it, but they said it referring to her ability to be tough and go toe-to-toe with opponents. Someone said, "The landscape is littered with the bodies of those who have crossed Sarah." Now, to take it literally is a little frightening, but I think it's clear that it was meant metaphorically. I'm glad she's not afraid to stand up for what's important to her.
Choosing someone like Mitt Romney, while I've no doubt that he would be a good VP also, would just perpetuate the idea that the Republican Party is full of rich white men, who have no connection to life outside the Beltway. THAT ticket would have been more "same old, same old." At the very least, people are sitting up and taking notice.
I spent some time googling and looking up what I could about her, and what I found, I really liked. She is a staunch conservative who isn't afraid to take a stand on something she believes in (GOT to love that), she has showed she isn't afraid to buck the status quo when she took on her own political party and exposed corruption, she walks the talk and seems to show the courage of her convictions. People will say, "Oh but she has no experience! How can McCain pick on Obama for lack of experience and then choose someone like Palin who also has a fairly short political resume?" But there are a couple of differences I see, right off the bat.
First of all, she is running for VICE President....the #2 guy. Joe Biden himself said that the Presidency isn't something that lends itself to on the job training. But to be VP is a valuable opportunity to learn a lot in a pretty short time, not in the top spot. Yeah, McCain is older and has had health scares and maybe her chances of having to step up to the plate are higher. But Obama, with his 167 days in the Senate, most of which have been spent campaigning for higher office, is running for the #1 spot! With a resume that has at least as many holes in the experience column as Palin's! His VP would have to do a lot of the heavy lifting (or, on the job training) for him. So which is worse? Or to put a more positive spin, which is better? From some of the reading I've been doing, people in Illinois aren't all that impressed with his programs there and some of them seem to be failing, like the universal health care for kids. Which in theory is admirable, no one should have to watch sick kids suffer, but practice seems to be falling short.
And the time that she does have on her resume has been spent actually running an administration, making decisions, making things happen. She has an approval rating well into the 80% range. That's amazing, frankly. Not all that many politicians have ratings like that, especially in a short time. She must be doing something right in Alaska. I find it ironic that the Obama campaign has made nothing but snarky comments about her since the announcement broke. They made fun of her being a mayor of a small town. Never once gave a nod to the fact that she RUNS A STATE. She is the commander of the Alaska National Guard. Instead, Obama stood there and stuttered, "Uh, she, uh seems nice and uh, and smart enough..." and had his hitman spokespeople jab at her for him.
And MSNBC is an asshole. Under a "BREAKING NEWS" banner, they ran the headline,"How many houses does Palin add to McCain's total?" Are they for real? Breaking News, just to be snotty? The way things have gone at the Democratic convention, between things like this, the cops practically throwing a news reporter under a moving bus and demonstrators getting violent with Fox news crews, the Democrats are coming off looking like a bunch of thugs who only want free speech when they are the ones speaking.
Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I've never been a HUGE McCain fan. I'm impressed with his record and his heroism. As a 16-years-and-counting military member, I have an inkling of the dedication that goes along with service. But what he endured is unimaginable. That said, I'm not convinced that that experience qualifies one to be the president. His volatile temper is concerning and I am not with him on some of his ideas. As I have said, not 100% behind him. But I do think Sarah Palin can balance his campaign out in a positive way and if yesterday is any indication, she has the ability to really light people up. Maybe she can be a driving force to get people behind McCain.
She comes across like someone who could be your neighbor. Down to earth, raising kids in a wide range of ages (one of them being a special needs child), has some of the same concerns and worries that you and I do, accessible. She seems to be more "one of us" than McCain ever has. I don't dislike him or his wife at all, but I have a hard time imagining that they really know what it is like to wonder how you are going to put food on the table once the rent is paid. I think they are pretty far removed from that kind of reality. I know nothing about Sarah Palin's financial standing but it was reported yesterday that her husband (First Dude) earned a little less than $50,000 last year working for an oil company. That's not exactly riches beyond imagination. I don't know what a state governor makes to add to that, but if the President only makes around $400-450K, something like that, I'd guess a state governor makes significantly less. I say "only $400K" because I know that Bush, Obama, McCain and most of the rest of the suits have incomes (or had before entering the White House) that exceeded that $400K by A LOT. Triple it or quadruple it, at least.
Much remains to be seen, and I want to know more about Sarah Palin and exactly where she stands on more issues. She's clearly and unequivocally pro-life, she cuts taxes and wasteful spending, she supports Second Amendment rights, plus she is hot ;) But I want to know where she stands on things like immigration, military and national defense, and social programs like welfare reform. Just because I'm conservative doesn't mean I'm against welfare but we have to be reasonable about it. Make it more attractive and easier to get OFF of welfare than to have more babies to stay ON it.
She'll shake the race up for sure, no matter which way it goes. I was feeling quite cynical about politics in general lately and I hated that feeling. But now I'm more excited about the election.