Saturday, September 06, 2008

What are Alaskans saying about Palin?

Vice Presidential nominees are chosen for obvious reasons. It is the first executive decision a future President makes that the country is able to evaluate. This is a pick that might fill a gap in the resume of the soon to be President. The other possibility is that the Vice President will help solidify electoral votes from a state or popular votes from a constituency.

While all of these things are true, how should we evaluate the choice? We could look at the accomplishments of each candidate. Another way, to look at each candidate is to examine their stated positions on a variety of issues. In this way, the public gets an idea on how they might govern. It is quite similar to how the Presidential candidates were originally examined by the public at the beginning of the primary season.

What does Senator Biden bring to the Democratic ticket? Senator Biden has worked in the Senate for years. He is an expert on foreign policy issues. The President of Georgia specifically requested that he come to T'bilisi during the recent crisis. There were significant concerns that Senator Obama might not have the foreign policy experience to handle global concerns. If that was a concern then adding Senator Biden to the ticket should address those very concerns.

Senator Biden is a resident of Delaware. Delaware was always seen as safely in the Democratic column in regard to the Presidential election; so that was not the reason for his nomination. However, there are two things that might have also contributed to this pick. Senator Biden is also a very good friend of Senator Clinton, and he has significant ties to Pennsylvania. All of these things make it appear that Senator Biden is an obvious choice as Vice President on the Democratic ticket.

Finally, can you see him as President? I think the public would have no problem seeing him as President. He has the experience, and appears to have the ability to fill that role if necessity demanded it.

We finally found out who the Republicans chose as a Vice Presidential nominee. Governor Sarah Palin (Alaska) was chosen as Senator McCain's running mate. Most people do not know much about her. She is a first term governor. Why was she the choice? Alaska's three electoral votes were never really in doubt. She has very strong conservative credentials. As I type this, I'm going to use wikipedia to get information on her positions. She is definitely pro-life, the only exception she would make is if the health of the mother was in peril. She will also win points with Conservatives because she supports teaching creationism in school along with evolution.

It appears to me that she was brought onto this ticket to energize the Conservative base. That makes perfect sense. John McCain has always been a question mark to social conservatives. This might cause some of those voters, the essence of the Republican base, to become more enthused about voting for McCain. I'm not certain of that however. Doesn't it appear to be a bit of pandering, considering that Governor Palin does not appear to have any experience at this level. Was she given this position because she is a woman? Possibly, but I don' think the people that are former Hillary voters, are going to seriously consider voting for McCain because Palin is a woman. It seems more likely that those same voters might be insulted by the thought that McCain might think so little of them and be more energized to vote for Obama.

Outside of being very conservative socially what does she bring to the ticket? She isn't exactly a foreign policy whiz. She claims to understand Russia, because she lives right next door. No offense, but that is like me claiming to be an expert on Cuba. She talks about how she is against wasteful spending, but she was for the "Bridge to Nowhere" before she was against it. Finally, she claims that she is coming to Washington, D.C. to clean it up; this is the same woman who is in the middle of an abuse of power investigation at this very moment.

Before you think it is just a witch-hunt; this ethics panel is bi partisan and she is under investigation for firing the Public Service Commissioner she appointed the year before. Well, maybe she is a bit precocious.

Finally, voters might gain some understanding of Palin through what Alaskans think of her. Below you will find part of an article that I found on Politico:



"She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president?" said State Senate President Lyda Green, a Republican from Palin's hometown of Wasilla. "Look at what she's done to this state. What would she do to the nation?"

House Speaker John Harris, said the following:
"She's old enough," and "She's a U.S. citizen."


With Republicans talking about her like this, imagine what the Democrats are going to say.

The Vice Presidential pick is the first for a Presidential candidate. It shows something about the new administrations. This leaves me with a question, after a choice like this, who do you trust to be President?

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