Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin Makes GOP History

Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin is Senator John McCain’s choice for Vice President. While his choice may have caught the pundits and talking heads off guard, his choice was perfectly logical and expected. Why did he pick Governor Palin? His decision was simple as you'll read. In fact, in many ways it was made for him.

First, the Republican hard core right; that is the Christian Right and the Rush Limbaugh’s of the GOP made it crystal clear that McCain wasn’t their choice and the only thing that would keep them from bolting from the party was basically selecting one of their own. Palin fits the bill. She is a very solid social conservative. Governor Palin reportedly belongs to the Assemblies of God, which is the largest group within the Pentecostal denominations. She is strictly anti-abortion, even in case of incest or rape. She opposes same-sex marriage and supports a non-binding constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. She supports teaching creationism along side evolution in public schools.

Governor Palin is an active member of the NRA (she hunts and fishes) as well as the Feminist for Life. She is pro-death penalty. On the environment, Governor Palin does not believe people are the cause of climate change (it’s a natural occurring phenomena), though she has proposed supporting efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions. She has proven to be a strong proponent of developing oil and natural gas resources through Alaska, especially along the North Slope. However, she has opposed efforts to add polar bears to the endangered species list out of fear that it would impact oil and natural gas exploration. On the money front, Governor Palin has a reputation for balancing budgets and leans in favor small government being the best government.

On health, Governor Palin believes healthcare should be market driven and flexible enough to maximize competition (that means minimum government interference but no national heathcare program). She also supports repealing so-called “nuisance taxes” and backs the Seniors Longevity Bonus Program. On education, she wants to fully fund K-12 and backs early funding of education programs. I found nothing on her positions on illegal immigration or making English the official language.

When Senator Obama threw away his campaign’s moniker of “Change” by nominating a Washington insider, Joe Biden, McCain seized on the opening. And who can blame him? Obama could have selected a woman (but not necessarily Hillary Clinton) or some other minority like Asian or Native American but didn’t. He could have picked someone from outside the Beltway but didn’t. Palin is a Washington outsider. She’s the first woman on the national Republican ticket. Like Senator Obama, Governor Palin has no appreciable foreign affairs experience though she reputedly opposes a long drawn war in Iraq. McCain and Biden are their respective party's foreign affairs experts.

As for her personal life, Sarah Louise Heath was born on February 11, 1964 in Sandpoint Idaho (Louise? Hum, come to think of it, she does look a bit like Tina Louise who played “Ginger” on Gilligan’s Island. I guess that would make McCain the “Skipper”). She holds a BA in Communications/Journalism with a minor in Political Science from the University of Idaho. Her nickname is high school was “Sarah Barracuda” because of her highly competitive nature. She has been married to Tom Palin since 1988 and the mother of five children. She is the first woman to be elected Governor of Alaska.

As an aside, this is the first time I can remember where both party’s nominees come from the same side of the nation. Obama and Biden are both from the east of the Mississippi while McCain and Palin are from the west of the Mississippi. Perhaps this is symbolic of just how divided America has become.


Donna said...

very good did you know her youngest (still a baby in arms) is a down syndrome baby?

Jeff Noble said...

Obama is a native of Hawaii, well west of the Mississippi. McCain is a native of the Panama Canal Zone, well east of the Mississippi. But I get your message.

I've reserving judgment on Governor Palin. To be elected governor, she got about the same number of votes as were cast for Ken Herndon in his last race for Jefferson County Judge/Executive. Her previous executive experience, which admittedly none of the other three have, is being first a councilmember and then mayor of a city the size of Lyndon or Shelbyville or Berea.

When President Bush was running for president he spoke of his foreign policy awareness coming from the fact the his state bordered Mexico and his friendship with then-President Fox was widely touted. As governor, Bush did in fact work hand-in-hand on a daily basis with the authorities in Mexico and there was some validity to his claim.

Governor Palin's state borders Russia on the west and Canada on the east. I am waiting for her or one of her supporters to make the claim she has twice as much experience as Bush in foreign relations.

There may be a legitimate argument that McCain has better national experience than Obama, although it is not one I can accept, given the current state of the country. If we were on top of the world, as we arguably were under Reagan or Clinton, such a claim could argued. However, nothing close to that can be said about Palin versus Biden. Obama clearly made a better choice.

I am hopeful my friends from across the aisle can make more sense out of McCain's choice than I can.


Another Opinion said...

Thanks for the comment as always Jeff. I was, of course, referring not to where the candidates were born, but the states they represent. Obama represents Illinois while Biden represents Delaware, which are both east of the Mississippi. McCain represents Arizona and Palin represents Alaska, which are to the west of the Mississippi.

As for picking Palin, her religion, stances on gay marriage, the dealth penalty, and abortion makes the ultra conservatvies and Religious Right, who dominate the GOP, happy. Her position on the Second Amendment and minimal government involvement makes the Libertarians and some Indies happy. Her support of oil and gas exploration makes the oil companies happy. Her support on free market healthcare makes the insurance companies, as well as doctors, hospitals, and so forth happy. Lastly, her gender will, they hope, draw the womens vote away from Obama.

Selecting Palin also allows McCain to claim that he too is promoting change. This is where Obama failed. He should have stepped outside of the Beltway and gone with a woman, ann Asian, a Hispanic, or Native American. Anybody but an old entrenched member of the ruling elite.

Think of it this way, if something (heaven forbid) should happen to "President" McCain, you would have America's first woman president. She could bring in a "heavy hitter" as her VP to shore her up. On the other hand, if something (heaven forbid) should happen to "President" Obama, you would have just another good ole boy as president. To me, that was poor judgment on Obama's part.

Anonymous said...

I would have to disagree with this Paul. If Obama were to bring in anyone other than an established white guy he would have problems with the Democratic faithful just as McCain would if he didn't bring in a strong Christian fundamentalist.

An asian, or hispanic, would hurt his chances IMO. He catches enough flack from Dems as being a "black" candidate in some circles so anything less would hurt him as well.

The sad part is we are finally, with Obama's nomination, coming full circle to a degree in race relations but going even further with someone else may have been to much for the entrenched to handle.

On another note there is talk that Palin's youngest child is actually her grandchild she is raising as her own to hide the sting of an unanted out of wedlock pregnancy of her kids mistakes.

Yeah I know just a rumor but wonder how far that would go if proven true of her Christian fundamentals?

Hey this is election season huh? lol

Another Opinion said...

Thanks got your comments Anon. You bring up a good point. Obama does have his own "baggage" in a way by being a "black" candidate or at least, partially black candidate (that in it self is a sad comment about America). I suppose by choosing a white male he was trying reassure the conservative wing of the Democratic Party, and conversatives across of board that he wouldn't stray to far. But still, a woman VP sure would have been nice, especially if they came from outside the Beltway!

Anonymous said...

I've watched Sarah Palin for over a year, when I first saw a website dedicated to the campaign "Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President", and I have to say, she's much more impressive than Democrats want to believe right now. They may make the mistake of discounting the reason for her selection as "just for the womens' vote" or "just for the religious right vote" or "just for the social conservative vote" or "just for [insert your favorite group here] vote", but if they do, then they will soon come to a very harsh realization that she has considerably broader appeal to a much wider range of voters than they might like to think.

I guarantee, Obama's handlers will have their sleepless nights trying to figure out how to tear her down a notch or two in the public eye, and there's a better than average probability that they'll be unsuccessful in the task... unless, of course, they manage to invent some issue to distract the public from the facts about her.

Also, an explanation is in order about her stance on creationism in public schools. One of her statements on that issue was in response to a question and her reply was taken out of context, so it generated something of a stink in the media... Palin then publicly defined her position. She said she thinks creationism should be taught "only if it came up in a school setting", and further clarified that "I don't think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn't have to be part of the curriculum."

In short, Palin thinks that if a student asks about creationism, then the teachers should not be forced by law to respond that, "We can't talk about that."

At no time did she state that she thought creationism should be part of public school curriculum, but some in the mainstream media seem to prefer ignoring her clarification of her stance on the issue. She also clearly supports separation of church and state, by the way, while making no apologies for her pentacostal foundation.

Frankly, her stance on religion in politics is firmly grounded in the constitutional precepts related to the issue.

I suspect that the liberal-biased mainstream media will be working hard to build a few mountains out of molehills in several issues now surrounding her. At the top of their list will be the Alaska legislature's investigation into the pressure exerted by her staff and her husband to fire her former brother-in-law, an Alaskan State Trooper. If the media reports the facts, then the public will learn that her staff didn't want her to know anything about the calls and the pressure they were exerting to get him fired, and the public will also learn that Trooper Wooten, her former brother-in-law, had a long history of using excessive force and abusing his position as a police officer. In the words of a fellow Alaskan State Trooper, "Wooten is "a well known piece of s*it."

In fact, her former brother-in-law actually DOES deserve to be fired, and should've been fired long ago, but she didn't want to personally exert pressure as Governor because it would've appeared that she was abusing HER power to get him fired, and it would also have appeared that she was exacting some form of family vengeance on him (her sister's divorce from him was a nasty one).

That's the long and short of THAT story.

Another issue that the liberal media might try to work for some mileage is her daughter's pregnancy, but I'd expect there's a good chance that the media might expose its more than duplicitous nature if they try to work that story for any mileage as a black mark on Palin's record. Too many voters are in the same position, or have been in the same position, or had a family member in the same position, so if the media tries to paint an ugly picture of that situation with her daughter, then they could produce a backlash against the liberal candidate... lost votes.

Actually -- and I don't recall if this was in your article or if it appeared as a comment afterward -- I'm surprised to read that someone is still bandying about the rumor that her Downs Syndrome child may, in fact, be her daughter's baby. The idea that ANY state governor wasn't known to be pregnant (her doctors knew it), didn't check into a hospital to have her child, and then merely appeared with the child... well, it's just absurd.

But that type of rumor about Sarah Palin absolutely will NOT surprise me in the months to come. In fact, I'd expect to read more rumors than fact about her in the months to come. The liberal machine knows all too well that that it's only necessary to put the rumors out. Those rumors might have no foundation or basis in fact, and may even be completely ridiculous, but it doesn't matter one iota. All that matters is the perception of negativity, and the machine knows that their far left base will eat up those rumors and pass them along as fast and as often as humanly possible.

My guess... the public will be treated to more unsubstantiated rumors and innuendo about Sarah Palin in the next few months than we've seen for any candidate in years. And why rumors? Because the facts about her would actually make her a more likeable candidate than either Obama OR Biden to the average voters in this country, that's why. She could pull a very large voting block -- they used to call us "the silent majority" -- from middle America right into McCain's camp.

Democrats are wise to fear Palin.

Another Opinion said...

Thank you for your comments highblue. Well stated. The comment regarding the baby came from a reader and just mentions that Palin has a down syndrome child.

Anonymous said...

I forgot that I wanted to comment about this:

"As for picking Palin, her religion, stances on gay marriage, the dealth penalty, and abortion makes the ultra conservatives and Religious Right, who dominate the GOP, happy."

The demographics of the Republican party do not show a dominance by either the ultra-conservatives or the religious right, or even by a combination of those two groups.

No, I'm not a Republican... I've been a registered Independent for many years.

The religious right and ultra-conservatives are the LOUDEST elements in the Republican party, and they supply a large percentage of funds to the party, so they get their message out by being loud and the party provides them a platform from which to shout their message. They get media coverage because they shout LOUD from the Republican platform, which allows the liberal media an opportunity to highlight how silly they look in comparison to average citizens, thus making liberals look good by comparison. But the fact that they loudly express their issue positions AS Republicans hasn't produced the sort of ideal results in the voting booth that they may want to produce. The results from the voting booth are produced by the ACTUAL dominant force in that party.

The truly dominant force in the Republican party are the tens of millions of average Americans who are leaning towards conservative thought without tripping over the edge into the far-right fringes of conservatism. The majority of those Republicans vote in favor of economic conservatism and, generally speaking, vote towards conservatism on social issues, but in today's environment of extreme political polarization they could be classified as moderates rather than hardcore conservatives.

Even though those Republicans are often ignored by the media, there are several current and very clear indications of their presence and dominance of the Republican party at this point.

First, George W. Bush has one of the lowest approval ratings of any president in modern history. It's not just liberals or Democrats who are responsible for low approval ratings. A large number of people from his own Republican party are represented by that low approval rating as well. If the Republican party was dominated by the ultra-conservatives and religious right, then Bush's approval rating would NOT be nearly as low. For the most part, the people who fit into those categories of his party are still supporting him, so his loss of approval must be represented by a far more dominant demographic inside his own party... those are the Republicans who don't seek the media spotlight.

Second, the fact that John McCain is the Republican party's nominee for president clearly indicates that the Republican party is not dominated by ultra-conservatives. In their minds, John McCain might as well be the Son of Lucifer.

And that, of course, takes us back to the religious right.

The last time I saw a demographic chart for the Republican party, the percentage of people who identified religion as their top priority, an issue that would decide their vote, it was roughly 17% of that party's members. If the question about religion was a fairly designed indicator -- if it was phrased fairly -- then it's hard to believe that 17% of the party might dominate the other 83% of the party.

They can certainly be LOUDER, and they do it ALL the time, which is why they get more media coverage, but they can't dominate the rest of the people in their own party who vote on issues without using religion as a deciding priority.

It's entirely possible that Sarah Palin has the intelligence, the character, the honesty, and the charisma to reinvigorate "the silent majority" in this country after people have gotten to know her... and that includes both the Republicans and the independents.

It's a nightmarish thought for the liberals, but if Palin does wake up that silent majority, if they decide to get out and vote, then Obama and the Democrats wouldn't stand a chance.

Another Opinion said...

You are correct in that the Religious Right/Ultra Conservatives (collectively called the “far right wing”/ have not had a numerical advantage within the Republican Party. However, they are highly organized and fairly well financed. They have a committed strategy of working against so-called RINOs (Republicans In Name Only), who have been the traditional moderate core of the GOP.

This has included targeting moderate (or libertarian leaning) Republicans candidates, even if they are incumbents in both the general as well as the primary campaigns, and with full knowledge they were indirectly helping Democrats win a possible GOP seat (as an aside, I speak from personal experience here).

As a result, most of the center right and moderately conservative candidates and former incumbents have simply walked away from the GOP. The core of the GOP has traditionally been the same center right and moderately conservative voters. They too have in large measure walked away from the GOP because of the dominance of the far right wing. The same came be said for the libertarian leaning Republicans.

While traditionally a smaller segment of the GOP base, these individuals have promoted a revamping of the tax code and greatly reducing the size of government. Many are also strong advocates of the “restoring” this nation to the principals of the Constitution in which they believe we have strayed from long ago. Distrustful of government to begin with, many have either joined the Libertarian Party while many, like the center right, have becomes Independents.

So, you are correct that the Religious Right and ultra Conservatives do not make up a majority of Republicans in general, they have become the dominant force within the modern Republican Party. As a result, much of the traditional Republican base is no longer active or as active.

Anonymous said...

"So, you are correct that the Religious Right and ultra Conservatives do not make up a majority of Republicans in general, they have become the dominant force within the modern Republican Party. As a result, much of the traditional Republican base is no longer active or as active."

I'll certainly agree with you on that.

The point I'd hoped to make, and I often miss making a point because I tend to drone on endlessly, is that Sarah Palin might be a spark to reinvigorate moderates in the Republican party and also attract independents to cast votes for the Republican candidate.

If she becomes the spark, then the political preferences of ultra-conservatives and the religious right may be secondary or tertiary to the political preferences of tens of millions of moderates in this country -- i.e., the long forgotten "silent majority", many of whom simply stopped voting.

Rather than droning on, I'll just add that I watched her speech last night. She was very impressive, so I think it's wholly possible that she may be the spark that puts the power of the vote back into the hands of those moderates.

I believe she'll attract moderates to the polls in record numbers for this election.

Another Opinion said...

I most competely agree. Thanks again highblue!

Anonymous said...

Anyone can be impressive reading a teleprompter, well almost anyone George Bush apparently isn't, but I would like to see the media blackout in regards to Palin disappear.

It seems as though the campaign is worried about her handling herself in an unscripted way and that is a concern.

The question becomes why?

If she is so fragile she cannot speak then we must wonder what is out there or what they are concerned with. My judgement is reserved accordingly.

Anonymous said...

It's not surprising that when candidates for President have been interviewed by the mainstream media, many of them have demanded a list of questions in advance of the interview.

Why isn't it surprising? Because when a conservative is interviewed by the liberal media, either print or electronic, the interview is essentially designed as an ambush to catch a candidate off-guard and unprepared. Unexpected and even highly sensitive questions can become a norm in those cases.

If challenged, the media claims an interview and its questions were impromptu and important, and were therefore eminently fair to the candidate because the public has a right to know, but the fact remains that interviews with the conservatives are very consciously designed as ambushes to make those candidates look bad in the public eye.

The liberal mainstream media has, over and over again, asserted and abused its fourth estate privilege by trying to catch a conservative in an off-the-cuff remark so that that remark might be exploited to paint a public image of that candidate being unworthy of his or her office. And remarks which might normally be considered as perfectly innocent in conversation have been mutated into scandals of national import by the mainstream media... they live for the moment.

So the fact that Sarah Palin has not given interviews to liberal media is not unusual, and it's certainly not unwise on her part.

It's a titanium-clad guarantee that the liberal media would choose to ask some entirely inappropriate and potentially embarassing questions about her daughter's pregnancy, as well as questions about her former brother-in-law, Trooper Wooten. And it's almost an iron-clad guarantee that she'd reply that her daughter's pregnancy is a private family matter with no basis for becoming a point of public discussion, and that she also won't comment about her former brother-in-law with an investigation still in progress.

The media would then transform her lack of response to those types of questions into a public perception that she is an evasive person when in reality she is an entirely open and honest person.

Interviews performed by liberal media on conservative candidates are like surgery without an anesthetic. They are excessively dangerous, considering the fact that the media is in the business of political image-building, and the fact that many people decide their vote on (dis)information spooned to them by the mainstream media.

Personally, I wouldn't use the phrase "media blackout" to define her situation. The mainstream media is answering their own questions about Palin through the art of creative speculation, and then shining a spotlight on their own speculation. So there is nothing "black" in her strategy of not allowing media to redefine her with interviews, but there's certainly some "black" in their intentions to redefine her.

Most conservatives aren't actually afraid of the media. They've just learned that the media's political goals are in direct opposition to their own goals, so by necessity they must be wary. The media strokes its paintbrush against the candidate's public image, and that brush has often been used to paint ugly pictures for the public even where no ugliness actually exists.

It's just wisdom; don't open the tiger cage.