The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

Sarah Palin: She lost me with Nuc-ya-lur

Posted by Bill Nance on August 29, 2008

Sigh…

I freely admit I didn’t know much about Sarah Palin before today. In that at least, I’m like probably 99% of the country. For those of you that don’t know anything about her, this LA Times article has a decent Bio as well as some analysis.

The basics are as follows:

She was elected to the City Council of Wasilla,  Alaska (population 5,469) in 1992, and to the position of Mayor in 1996. In 2002 she made an unsuccessful bid for Alaska Lt. Governor, and in 2006 was elected as Alaska’s first woman Governor.

As Governor she has earned a reputation as a fiscal reformer and fiscal conservative, fighting the so-called “bridge to nowhere.” She is widely viewed as a promising up-and-comer in the GOP, is reputed among the GOP faithful to be quite bright, (a claim I dispute) and is a feisty political campaigner.

The only known blemish on her record is a well publicized (in Alaska) case where she is currently under investigation by the Alaska State Senate over allegations she fired the head of the state police because he refused to fire her former brother-in-law, a state trooper, who was involved in a custody fight with Palin’s Sister. Tapes emerged which revealed a staffer instructing the then head of the Alaska Dept. of Public Safety to fire the trooper. Palin said she had no knowledge of the call and it was not authorized by her.

There is a Wikipedia article on Palin, but I caution readers that this is not an authoritative source, and after reading it I am highly suspect of its impartiality and thus its accuracy.

My take:

McCain picked Palin for two obvious reasons.

1. She’s a woman. This was a smart move, and I’m personally gratified to finally see a woman getting real traction in the GOP. It’s an obvious attempt to shore up support among women, particularly former Hillary supporters. Political or not, the very selection of a woman as a GOP running-mate is historic.

2. She’s a Conservative with a capital C. We’re talking real red-meat GOP base. She supported Alaska’s constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, is anti-choice, pro gun-rights (I like that part!), and a firm supporter of the GOP’s culture warriors. The GOP base loves her and this selection will help solidify support among the party faithful and evangelicals who view McCain with mistrust. Even Anne Coulter should come around now.

3. She has a reputation as a reformer. The Democrats just spent a week successfully painting McCain as  old-fashioned political hack from the GOP. Palin will help repair the damage to McCain’s “maverick” credentials.

Now the down-sides, and I won’t pretend to be even a little unbiased here, so fair warning.

1. First off, let me state unequivocally that any politician who can’t pronounce the words Iraq and nuclear pisses me off. If you’re the leader of the free world, or close to it, you can bloody well take time to learn correct pronunciation of the English language and the name of the country IN WHICH WE ARE AT WAR.

Mrs Palin, let me help:  NUCLEAR and IRAQ. We just had eight years of an incurious buffoon. The prospect of another four with a person who can’t be bothered to learn to speak and is a heartbeat away from the presidency of a 72-year-old cancer survivor does not appeal to me.

Ok, it’s a nit. I admit it. Still, I think it speaks volumes to the intellectual abilities of Palin. I could be wrong. She may be smart as a whip, and I’ll admit it fast if I turn out to be full of crap. But so far, I’m suspicious.

2. A complete lack of experience.

Council member and mayor of a town of 6,000? Less than two years as governor of a state with a population of 670,000?  Zero national experience, zero national security of defense credentials of any kind. So much for Obama being inexperienced. McCain just threw his strong suit in the trash can. But what really pisses me off here is the outright tokenism of the choice. And I think it’s going to backfire on McCain in a big way.

When you choose a woman because you need a female on the ticket, ok, that’s politics and it’s fair game. That’s how the grown-ups play. But McCain picked a lightweight. Vastly more qualified women with similar party and reformer credentials were passed over. To pass over strong, experienced women like Kay Bailey Hutchison or Christie Todd Whitman in favor of Palin should be received as a slap in the face to every woman who wants to be taken seriously. He passed over Kay Bailey Hutchison for a fucking BEAUTY QUEEN? Hillary voters aren’t going to touch this with a 10-foot pole.

That’s it really. McCain had other options, I’ve mentioned two of them, there were others, more experienced and more qualified, than Palin. We all know the names. Palin makes Fred Thompson look like Winston Churchill fer cryin’ out loud.

We’ll see, but I don’t think it’s going to work. The party die-hards are going to love it. One-issue voters who would have voted Republican anyway or stayed home may like it. But I think the culture war thing is going to backfire, and Palin’s selection makes McCain’s age a giant issue again.

Big mistake John….BIG mistake.

Edit: Boy did I pull a woops, I wrote that she was pro-choice, i meant to say ANTI choice. Sorry.

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