I wrote a column back in June in which I said Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would be the ideal running mate for Sen. John McCain. But I never thought he'd pick her.Here's the column from June and my analysis of it. Just as he pretty much lifted a whole chunk or two out of Fred Barnes' Weekly Standard article on Palin, he rewrites the June article into this week's column. Jack restates:
Hmm. That last part's a little off. Why? Do you remember (the now indicted for corruption) Senator Ted Stevens' "Bridge to Nowhere"? Seems Sarah Barracuda was for it before she was against it. According to the New Republic she was asked about the bridges in October 22, 2006:
Ms. Palin is popular in part because of her personal qualities. She earned the "Sarah Barracuda" nickname as the point guard on her Wasilla high school basketball team, which she led to the state championship in 1982. Two years later, when she won the Miss Wasilla beauty pageant (and went on to be the first runner up in the Miss Alaska contest) she was also named Miss Congeniality. Fire and nice.
But it's mostly because she's been a crackerjack governor, a strong fiscal conservative and a ferocious fighter of corruption, especially in her own party.
5. Would you continue state funding for the proposed Knik Arm and Gravina Island bridges?
Yes. I would like to see Alaska's infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now--while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist.
[I]t sure looks like she was fine with the bridge in principle, never had a problem with the earmarks, bristled at all the mockery, and only gave up on the project when it was clear that federal support wasn't forthcoming.Hardly the "ferocious fighter of corruption" Jack Kelly describes her as. Jack's next paragraph:
Ms. Palin touches other conservative bases, some of which Mr. McCain has been accused of missing. A regular churchgoer, she's staunchly pro-life. Her eldest son is a soldier. She's a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association who hunts, fishes and runs marathons.But there's some of the stuff that I think even conservatives would be surprised to hear. From USAToday:
She stood up to the powerful oil industry, and with bipartisan support in the statehouse she won a tax increase on oil companies' profits.Governor Palin's increased a tax on oil companies? I guess so. No wonder Jack didn't mention it.
From the Anchorage Daily News:
And further down:
Gov. Sarah Palin is asking the Legislature to give every Alaskan $1,200 as energy cost relief.
"It's a one-time, special return of the vast wealth that Alaska has right now. We're returning it to the resource owners, the people of Alaska," the governor said Friday. "I am confident the people of Alaska can spend the surplus dollars better than state government is going to spend them."
Conservative critics have attacked it as socialism, comparing Palin to Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez.Ouch - that's gotta sting.
By the way Senator Obama's proposed something similar:
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Friday announced an “Emergency Economic Plan” that would give families a stimulus check of $1,000 each, funded in part by what his presidential campaign calls “windfall profits from Big Oil.”And of course Senator McCain responded:
Unlike Sen. Obama, I do not believe that raising taxes is the answer to our economic problems. There is no surer way to force jobs overseas than to raise taxes on businesses.I wonder if he asked Palin about her oil company tax increase during their one meeting before she was announced as his running mate.
Despite the positive reviews by Radio talk show host Mark Levin (who by the way said that Bush's commutation prevented Scooter Libby from becoming a "political prisoner" - since when are obstruction of justice and perjury political issues? Just asking), the reviews have NOT been favorable to the former Miss Wasilla. From the Times Online:
Shannen Coffin, a former White House counsel to Dick Cheney, the vice-president, said choosing Palin seemed “desperate” and that it would be difficult to attack Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, on the grounds of inexperience.Even though Jack tries:
But it will be difficult for Democrats to attack Ms. Palin on this without calling attention to Barack Obama's lack of experience. Ms. Palin is the undercard, not the top of the ticket. And her 18 months as governor (not to mention her two terms as mayor) is 18 months more executive experience than Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden have combined.It's also more than John McCain has.
Indeed the word out of Alaska has been harsh (h/t to The Huffingtonpost on this). From the Fairbanks News Miner:
She has never publicly demonstrated the kind of interest, much less expertise, in federal issues and foreign affairs that should mark a candidate for the second-highest office in the land. Republicans rightfully have criticized the Democratic nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, for his lack of experience, but Palin is a neophyte in comparison; how will Republicans reconcile the criticism of Obama with the obligatory cheering for Palin? Or will everyone just be forced to drop the subject? That’s not a comforting possibility.And:
Then there's the Anchorage Daily News:
Most people would acknowledge that, regardless of her charm and good intentions, Palin is not ready for the top job. McCain seems to have put his political interests ahead of the nation’s when he created the possibility that she might fill it.
It’s clear that McCain picked Palin for reasons of image, not substance. She’s a woman. She has fought corruption. She has fought the oil companies. She’s married to a union member. These are portrayals for campaign speeches; they are not policy positions.
Alaskans are delighted because the eyes of the world will be on Alaska as Sarah Palin campaigns for the vice-presidency.
And it's stunning that someone with so little national and international experience might be heartbeat away from the presidency.
McCain picked Palin despite a recent blemish on her ethically pure resume. While she was governor, members of her family and staff tried to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from the Alaska State Troopers. Her public safety commissioner would not do so; she forced him out, supposedly for other reasons. While she runs for vice-president, the Legislature has an investigator on the case.
For all those advantages, Palin joins the ticket with one huge weakness: She's a total beginner on national and international issues.
And then some of the Republicans up there have chimed in. State Senate President Lyda Green is quoted as saying:
She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president?
Granted, Palin and Green have according to the Anchorage Daily News "fueded repeatedly" over the past two years, but still.
Stunning pick. Total beginner on national and international issues. Not ready for the job. Picked for reasons of image, not substance. Not prepared to be vice president or president.
When the newspapers and politicians in the candidate's home state are saying this, the criticisms can not be easily dismissed.
And we haven't even started on Troopergate!