Saturday, August 30, 2008

Democrat Reaction to Palin Needs Some Tweaking

When John McCain nominated Sarah Palin as his VP pick, the Obama camp came out with the statement that it was irresponsible of McCain to put someone with two year's experience as governor within a heartbeat of the presidency. What a gaffe on Obama's part. It just makes everyone think about his two year's experience as a senator... just two nights ago, Al Gore's convention speech included a bit about Abraham Lincoln also having only two year's experience as a senator. I'm shocked that the Obama camp is comparing Obama with his opponent's VP candidate. It's apples and oranges, and it rebounds very badly on Obama - especially when Hillary supporters, largely female, are saying that their two major concerns are Obama's light qualifications and issues of sexism.

More importantly, it's distracting from the very real negatives about Sarah Palin. She is against abortion even in cases of rape and incest. She was an ardent supporter of Pat Buchanan for president. Run with that, for heaven's sake! (She is also a creationist, but her stance on that has been pretty responsible - she has not advocated for teaching creationism in schools and hasn't appointed creationists - so it's not clear how far we'd get with that one.)

I'm not sure there's a case to be made that she's anti-environmentalist, but it needs to be explored. I have read that she denies that global warming is man-made, but on the other hand she is one of the few US governors to do something about greenhouse gas emissions (she signed the Pacific Coast Collaborative initiative this summer). Her opposition to putting polar bears on the endangered species list is not anti-environmentalist: southerners who want the designation don't understand the north. Her support of Alaskan drilling is another issue I'm iffy on - I don't support it, but there's a difference between spoiling a park and increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

She has a lot of pluses: despite claims to the contrary, she has a record that can be examined, and it includes cleaning up corruption, selling the Alaska governor's private jet, and taking on US senator Ted Stevens. She has a baby with Down's Syndrome, and her public statements about him were a step forward for human rights. Her husband is a blue collar worker. She's a marathon runner. She has a son in the army who will be deployed to Iraq before the election. And she's currently nursing her baby.

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nonsense. Obama has far more qualifications for President than she does for VP. His campaign was right to point out her inexperience. She was a bad mayor of a small town (leaving it with a huge deficit) and she's got mixed reviews as governor. See here: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2008_08/014477.php

Anonymous said...

The Democrats are right, in my opinion, to point to Palin's inexperience--sorry, but while she has some administration experience running a state, I doubt she has legislative experience which she'd need at the Federal level to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. If you want to get angry, get angry with those who wonder out loud how she handles having a Downs syndrome child and does her work. You can be sure that a male candidate would never be asked the same question if he had a challenged child at home. And is the emphasis on her having a blue-collar husband somehow to make up for McCain marrying a much younger heiress? I'd love to be at those dinner parties.

Sorry, Yappa, everything is wrong about this pick, and I personally carry identity politics only so far. If there's a woman on any ticket I want to be able to respect and admire her and to be sure she has the wherewithal to do the job. And as I said before, to expect intelligent women to fall for this ploy is a tad insulting, methinks. On the other hand, I imagine the extreme right are applauding right now.

Yappa said...

Hi anonymouses -

I don't know... I've read a ton about the woman in the last 24 hours, and she is pretty amazing. I'm not arguing that she has enough experience - I'm still waffling on Obama largely because of his lack of qualifications, and I'm starting to form the opinion that American voters are increasingly making irresponsible decisions. McCain, Obama and Biden are all senators - in most election years the argument is that senators aren't qualified to be president. The last president we had with only senatorial experience was Kennedy. And certainly it was evident when George Bush was nominated that he was not qualified to be president (on the basis both of character and experience), and won the nomination because of oil money.

But I digress. I don't agree with Palin on many important policies, but I have to respect her. She took on corruption and won the day. Her public statements about her down syndrome child are a big step forward for human rights. Her record shows her to be principled and responsible. She is the true definition of a rising star.

Obama has created a mess for himself by refusing to address the very real issues of ex-Hillary supporters. I can't explain why he didn't even mention the under-representation of women in government in his acceptance speech. He could so easily heal the rift in the party, but he apparently chooses not to. Or he just doesn't get it. Whatever the reason, he is putting his victory at risk. It's pretty silly to complain that McCain is taking advantage of the situation.

Anonymous said...

Funny how in your 'extensive reading' on Sarah Palin you've managed to miss the fact that she has advocated teaching creationism in schools: http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles_of_faith/2008/08/sarah_palin_on.html

Yappa said...

Hi anon at 2:51 -

Thanks for the clarification. What I meant is that (acc to my reading) she hasn't forced her beliefs on Alaskans while governor. Apparently she pledged to not appoint any creationist school officials and she didn't. And so on.

But it's early days, and by all means, we need to get apprised of all the info about her. Within a few days I imagine that a lot of scary stuff will emerge. Or not. It's going to be interesting!

Neil said...

It is always difficult to know what is true about a politician--we really know so little about any of them. But it seems pretty clear Palin supported the bridge to nowhere before she opposed it, that she is a major pork seeker, and she denies that. She claimed to have been to Iraq and later admitted she had not. So she simply lies. Beyond that, her surrogates with a straight face claim Alaska's proximity to Russia qualifies as foreign policy experience and that being governor qualifies as military experienc because Alaska has a National Guard. Those may not qualify as lies, but they insult intelligence. Why not just say, "Sure she's not got experience, but we like her anyway. Why lie?
She opposes abortion, thinks abstinence is the answer to unwanted pregnancy and thinks she can score points with "Drill baby drill." Those are the things she stands for. When you get past the cute lipstick remarks and her willingness to do combat by attacking community organizers, that's what you are left with. She's more pugnacious than the democrats. Is that what we want? Somebody to throw a punch? Or do we want somebody who is smart enough to throw the punch that lands? The 911 crowd, hellacious as they were, were clever. Don't we need leaders who fight smart?