Monday, September 01, 2008

Sarah Palin

AOG, Madrid

In the battle for the hearts and minds of Americans this coming November, both the Republicans and the Democrats are keen on finding the best candidate. It's always said that the most important decision a presidential candidate makes is their pick for Vice President. It shows their thinking and judgment.

This 2008, events in the Caucus region between Russia and Georgia have, according to some, pushed/forced/cleared up the way for Obama’s choice as a running mate in the form of Joe Biden, a man earmarked for his expertise in foreign affairs, something which the general media in the US is adamant Mr. Obama lacks. Biden, a Delaware senator, is known as a skilled and tactful debater, and is a foreign policy expert, chairing the Senate foreign relations committee.

On the other side of the spectrum, for reasons known only to himself, McCain has chosen Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, to be his running mate. She is the first woman to do so under a Republican ticket. So that, and only that, is good news.

The rest is just abysmal, to say the least.

Flip flops over the Ketchikan bridge aside (also known as the Bridge to Nowhere), Ms. Palin is there, I would venture, to appease the party’s right, as well as its extreme right, wings.

Senator John Kerry, presidential candidate in 2004 also thinks this is the case since, according to him, the party is “suspicious” of McCain.

As if that were not bad enough, according to Senator Kerry, "He's chosen somebody who doesn't believe climate change is man-made", as he declared on ABC news.

She also does not believe in abortion, something which will make the McCain camp loose more votes, especially amongst women, but supports expanded drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. According to Wikipedia's much discussed and amended entry for her, she is said to support teaching creationism, alongside sicence.

This is what I find scariest. Whilst the rest of the worl forges forward in scientic research, blowing away the clouds of religion, the potential Vice President of the US believes in Creationism. It is one thing to be an Evangelical Christian, but to believe in Creationsim is just too much for me. But there's more.

Rush Limbaugh, whose radio show attracts millions of rightwing listeners, has enthusiastically welcomed the Governor of Alaska.

"Palin equals guns, babies, Jesus ... Obama just lost blue-collar, white Democratic voters in Pennsylvania and other states," Limbaugh said.

James Dobson, the conservative Christian leader who had been opposed to McCain, said the selection of Palin had won him over.

Amazingly, and catastrophically for the Republicans, by bringing in someone with very little experience, they have, ironically, washed over their main quip at Obama- lack of experience.

When it comes to experience, compared with Ms. Palin, Mr. Obama looks like Winston Churchill.

The Daily News-Miner, an Alaskan paper, wrote in an editorial: “Republicans rightfully have criticised the Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama, for his lack of experience but Palin is a neophyte in comparison. Palin is not ready for the top job. It’s clear that McCain picked Palin for reasons of image, not substance.”

A good omen?

After appearing with McCain at a rally in Dayton, Ohio, last Friday, Palin made her second campaign speech on Saturday near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Her stop there showed a vulnerability that could be a worry for McCain: some of the audience left as she was speaking and there was booing when, in an appeal to Democratic voters to switch to McCain, she mentioned Hillary Clinton, something Senator Kerry said was insulting to Hillary Clinton supporters, given her anti-abortion and other socially conservative views.

Palin, 44, is Alaska's first female governor. She was sworn in December 2006, making her one of the least experienced people to run for vice-president in recent memory - she has been governor for just a bit over 18 months. Alaska is one of the smallest states in the US, with only 670,000 residents; this would only make it the 17th most populous city in the United States. Just ahead of Fort Worth. Before becoming governor, Palin served two terms as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, a town of 9,800 people, and was on the city's council before that.

Do you know what the first two "powers and duties" are for the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska? Check their municipal code:

1. Preside at council meetings. The mayor may take part in the discussion of matters before the council, but may not vote, except that the mayor may vote in the case of a tie;

2. Act as ceremonial head of the city;

In the 2006 Alaska gubernatorial race, Palin bested the incumbent Republican governor during the primary election. As for foreign policy experience, she has none, but she was runner-up in the Miss Alaska pageant.

Nonetheless the final outcome in November will give the US one of two new paradigms, either a Black President, or a Woman Vice President for the first time ever.

Given McCain’s advanced age- he just turned 72-, and his not ironclad health, it may even give America its first-ever woman President. But for all the wrong reasons, of course.

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