McCain’s Choice of Sarah Palin

http://mudflats.wordpress.com/2008/08/29/what-is-mccain-thinking-one-alaskans-perspective/

I’d like to weigh in with some preliminary thoughts about McCain’s VP pick, governor Sarah Palin of Alaska.  But, first of all, I’ve included a link above to a blog written by an Alaskan that contains some good information about Mrs. Palin.  The blogger seems to be biased toward the Democrats but it’s still interesting to hear his/her perspective.  It details an ongoing “scandal” that she’s embroiled in.  When I read the details of the “scandal” I had to laugh.  It pales in comparison to what’s happening here in southeast Michigan.  If that’s the worst someone can come up with on Palin, don’t bother me with it.

With that said, here’s how I see it.  I evaluate McCain’s choice on three issues:

  1. If she had to take over from McCain, what would her position be on population management, especially immigration?  It’s impossible to know at this point.  I doubt that the subject comes up much in Alaska politics.  But, being the governor of the least densely populated state in the nation, she’s probably clueless about the challenges presented by overpopulation and legal and illegal immigration.  A good indication is the fact that she doesn’t believe in global warming, a huge strike against her.  Even McCain has accepted that we need to act on this issue.  Why would he pick someone so out-of-touch on one of the most critical issues of our time, one that is exacerbated every day by further rampant population growth? 
  2. If she had to take over from McCain, what would be her position on trade and the trade deficit?  Again, it seems impossible to know.  I imagine that, for an Alaskan, the subject of the economy boils down to three things:  oil, oil and oil.  In that regard, I give her high marks for raising taxes on the oil companies to generate revenue for her state and to balance her budget, much to their chagrin.  Score one for fiscal responsibility and toughness.  But her husband is an oil company employee.  That will raise serious conflict of interest questions in any energy policy matters.  Also, I don’t like the fact that she favors drilling in ANWR.  I’ve come out in support of offshore drilling, but drilling in ANWR is where I draw the line.  The environmental risks are too great.  But, back to the original question, there’s no evidence yet to suggest what her attitudes are toward our trade deficit. 
  3. In general, is she ready to take over the presidency?  Some are saying that, even though she’s only been a governor for two years, she already has more “executive” experience that either Obama or Biden.  While technically true, I suppose, it’s ludicrous to suggest that such experience would prove more valuable than experience gained in the Senate.  Looking back at recent previous presidents, most had gubernatorial experiences.  Some were highly successful:  Reagan and Clinton (though I think Clinton was simply in the right place at the right time, at the dawn of the explosion in PC, internet and cell phone technology).  Some were abysmal failures:  Carter and George W. Bush.  So what makes a successful president vs. a failure?  I think it comes down primarily to intelligence, judgment, leadership and core values. 

So what does McCain’s choice say about him in this regard?  First of all, Palin was chosen for political reasons first, giving lower priority to what would be the best interest of the nation if something were to happen to McCain.  I don’t see her as ready to take the reins of the presidency and the free world.  This choice was obviously made in a play for disaffected Hillary voters and to shore up McCain’s shaky standing with the right wing of the party, especially pro-lifers and guns rights advocates.  But if McCain really wanted to attract the female vote, especially disaffected Hillary voters, why not choose another woman who’s more qualified, like Kay Bailey Hutchinson, the senator from Texas?  I think this play will backfire, insulting Hillary supporters with the thinking that they’ll vote for anything wearing a skirt (or a pantsuit).  If it’s pro-lifers and gun rights advocates he’s after, there are plenty of choices much more qualified to lead the nation.  And what will happen when Palin is stood up next to Biden in a debate? 

This just seems like a really weird pick and calls into question McCain’s judgment, one of the key character traits that should be factored into our choice for president.  I am reminded of Ross Perot’s choice of admiral what’s-his-name (the name escapes me) as his running mate.  It completely destroyed whatever credibility Perot had.  The admiral’s performance in the VP debate was one of the most embarrassing moments in modern political history.  Perhaps Palin will prove me wrong.  Perhaps she has the makings of an incredible leader.  But that’s not a risk I’d be willing to take.

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9 Responses to McCain’s Choice of Sarah Palin

  1. jaydolph says:

    Very intelligent blog! Wow you seemingly are a republican but looked at the issues. I agree with your post. I believe to get things done any organization you need to have relationships within that organization. Palin does not have any Washington experience like it or not you must understand the organization to change it effectively.
    I am a democrat and I am pro- life. This lady is a manipulation of women, I understand the desire to vote for another woman but if you chose a woman that is not qualified it may reinforce that glass ceiling, instead of breaking it. Because if the worst happens and she becomes president people are going to say women can’t do the job. Which is of course that’s crazy but we know perception is important.

    I am a married father of two and my wife worked but had to make hard choices at times that hurt her career. The real story is when you raise a family someone must sacrifice their career. Maybe her husband will do it in Palin’s family. I must admit the fact that she has 5 small children and one with downs syndrome worries me as a father. I wonder can she be president and mother which one takes priority? It been said being a mother or a president is the hardest and most important jobs in the world. I know a mother can be president but my concern is being a mother of young children.

  2. Robert says:

    Pete,

    It appears Sarah Palin at least in the past has been a Pat Buchannon supporter which at least to me is good news. From a comment at the American Border Patrol website ” From an AP report in 1999: “Pat Buchanan brought his conservative message of a smaller government and an America First foreign policy to Fairbanks and Wasilla on Friday as he continued a campaign swing through Alaska. Buchanan’s strong message championing states rights resonated with the roughly 85 people gathered for an Interior Republican luncheon in Fairbanks. …Among those sporting Buchanan buttons were Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin and state Sen. Jerry Ward, R-Anchorage.” Perhaps there are legitimate concerns about her lack of experience but personally I do not think time spent in the Senate is worth a plug nickle. Glen Spencer made a comment on his website that this was a “home run pick by McCain” Perhaps there is more to Sarah than meets the eye, she has been willing to go against the status quo “good ol boys” when she pointed out corruption in Alaska. Considering what the Dems are offering maybe this is a good thing. Palin also told Laura Ingraham a few months ago that she was against “comprehensive immigration reform” Also in a clip from MSNBC Pat Buchannon is abosolutely enthusiastic about this pick. See: http://www.americanpatrol.com/08-FEATURES/080830-FEATURE/Video080829Palin.html

    Pete all I can say is go McCain/Palin, I’m pumped!!

    Please ref : http://www.americanpatrol.com/

  3. Pete Murphy says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Jaydolph! I hope you keep visiting. No, I’m not a Republican. Nor am I Democrat. I’m independent. Check the “About This Blog” tab above and you’ll find the following: “Currently neither party addresses the trade deficit or population problems and we should be willing to embrace any candidate who does, regardless of their party affiliation. ”

    I do seem to be interpreted as a Republican more often than not, though, and I’m not sure why. I suspect it’s because of my concern with immigration, a position that seems more Republican-like. However, my position on trade is diametrically opposed to Republicans’ blind support for free trade, regardless of the circumstances. I think a lot of people aren’t really attuned to their party’s position on this latter issue. Thus, I think my anti-immigration stance leads folks to believe I’m a Republican.

    In this presidential race, though, I have come out in support of Obama for the following reason: I see no difference between him and McCain on the subject of immigration. Both favor high rates of immigration, unfortunately. But the difference between the two candidates on trade is clear. McCain maintains unflagging support for any free trade deal that comes along. Obama, on the other hand, has expressed concern about the damaging effects of our trade policy and has, at least early on during the primary campaign, raised the possibility of revamping NAFTA to help American workers.

    Still, I’m trying to maintain an unbiased approach in spite of supporting Obama. I could just as easily switch sides if McCain changed his position on trade, or if he came out more forcefully against high rates of immigration. But I don’t see either happening. While I’m supporting Obama for President, I will be voting to return my Republican congressman to office because of his strong stand against any immigration reform that smacks of amnesty.

    If the subjects of immigration and trade are of concern to you, you might consider buying my book. I promise you that you’ll get an entirely different perspective on these issues, one you’ve not heard before – one that, in my opinion, makes an even stronger case than anyone has made to date for ratcheting back our immigration rates and for eliminating our trade deficit.

    Again, thanks for stopping by!

  4. Pete Murphy says:

    Robert, I was an enthusiastic supporter of Buchanan at one time because of his unique blend of both opposing immigration and opposing our trade deficit. But my enthusiasm for Pat waned when he made a truly weird VP choice during a campaign in which he had a real chance of making some inroads as an independent candidate (if I’m remembering correctly). After that, he faded fast. I then concluded that, although I liked his position on the issues, his judgment may not be up to the task of the presidency. Some day we’ll get an independent candidate that’s the whole package – on the right side of all the issues and with judgment and leadership skills to boot. If such a candidate came along, one that began polling somewhere above 5% (so that my vote wouldn’t be a total waste), I’d support them.

    I’ve not heard the things you’ve told me about Palin – about her anti-immigration stance. (Unfortunately, I can’t watch the video on dial-up, but thanks for the link.) If true, then I may change my opinion of her, although I don’t think I’ll change my opinion that she isn’t ready to lead the nation and the free world.

    I’ll be the first to admit that I may find Obama/Biden a disappointment if they win, and that I may be pleasantly surprised by McCain/Palin if they win. I hope that all of us are pleasantly surprised by whoever wins and I’d be just as happy for that to happen wih McCain/Palin as their opponents. I just hope that, whoever it is, they have the wisdom and guts to make the right decisions. Regardless of who it is, I’m sure we can all agree it’ll be a huge improvement over what we have now!

  5. Pete,

    Sarah Palin has a 90% approval rating in Alaska, perhaps the highest of any governor in the U.S.

    She cooks, cleans, drives herself to work, raises her own children and is not married to a millionaire. She is closer to the people than any other candidate running. As a mayor, she dealt with people at the personal level.

    Being a former Alaskan, I have visited with many of my friends who are more than excited about her selection. She’s no cupcake.

    I agree with Robert, time spent in the Senate is a curse not a benefit.

    This woman is as real as rain, a refreshing change from status quo. Those with experience in foreign policy brought us to this party and it’s about to end in a bust.

  6. Pete Murphy says:

    Mike, just curious: if she is the governor, and if her husband works, how does she raise her own children? Surely she must have a nanny or something.

    Regarding time spent in the Senate, I can’t really comment since I’ve never been a Senator. But I would think that any experience in the inner workings of the legislative branch would be a benefit, since that’s the branch you have to work with in order to get legislation passed. I’ll concede that too much experience there could be bad if it turns you into a bureaucrat instead of a leader. But, personally, if I were running for President, I’d love to have some experience in both houses so that no one could pull the wool over my eyes. If I didn’t have such experience, I’d want a running mate that did. That would explain why Obama was probably more comfortable with a VP with more experience, and why McCain is totally comfortable with someone from beyond the beltway.

  7. Clyde Bollinger says:

    Pete,

    I must disagree with some of this, but let me start with a review of some of the things where I know we do agree. First, I’m totally in agreement with the points you make in “Five Short Blasts”. In my opinion, your theory is dead on. It would really be a good thing to have a well positioned government policy maker read it.

    There is no question that we similarly see the vast majority of economists as incompetent and out of touch with reality. We both are patriots with a strong love of country and family. Our using trade as a political tool, incentive or weapon depending on the current case instead of for the benefit of our country and us desperately needs to be stopped.

    I’m just beginning to realize how far apart we are in our political thinking. I’ve been described by some as “so right leaning that I won’t even make a left turn”. That may be a bit extreme, since I still have a fantasy of driving the high banked oval at Daytona in a cup car, but close.

    You describe George W. Bush as a failed president and I disagree. Historians will treat him much more kindly. His efforts, in the face of some of the most vile and hateful criticism I’ve ever heard about anyone, to counter the extreme Islamists make his administration a success in my opinion. Keeping us from another large scale attack on our country gets high marks from me. I really wish he had taken a hard line on spending, which he did not do. I also wish he would have closed the borders and expelled the illegal immigrants.

    I consider the resolution of the 2000 election outcome to be about as clear an example of divine oversight as I’ve seen. That there were enough Republican votes to make certain we did not get Al Gore as president is a true blessing.

    I believe we are experiencing climate change. I’m not convinced that it is caused by human act. Too many prior occurrences of similar change support the argument that nature is at work continuing to change as it always has. The oil deposits in Alaska, that you want to leave intact, are adequate proof that the climate we know is extreme by comparison to what it was when they were formed. I don’t believe any amount of human intervention, invention or meddling could possibly return us to those conditions, nor can we prevent it happening again as well. All of these carbon footprint, caps and credits proposals strike me as an enormous new tax with no potential for improvement, period.

    I cringe at the possibility that Obama has even a remote chance of becoming president. He is the most liberal least experienced candidate for president we’ve ever had. I’m not really thrilled with McCain either. No senator is qualified to be president, in my opinion, but certainly not one so inexperienced as Obama. Without his teleprompter he is like a deer caught in the headlights. Biden’s nose bloodying approach leaves something to be desired so far as diplomacy goes. I’ll take the executive experience of a governor, even if only for a short term, over a senator, every time.

    No matter what happens, we’ve an interesting couple of months ahead.

    Clyde

  8. Pete Murphy says:

    Clyde, I respect everyone’s opinion here. I feel I should reiterate that I feel very, very strongly about what I wrote in my book: that the effects of rising overpopulation – unemployment and poverty – both homegrown and imported through free trade with overpopulated nations, is the root cause of the demise of our economy. Because I feel so strongly, I’m making my choices of candidates based on their positions on two issues: population management policy (which currently means only immigration policy) and trade policy. As I’ve said before, I see no meaningful difference between McCain and Obama on immigration. But I see a very strong difference when it comes to trade policy. As I’ve watched the RNC coverage this week (and I’ve watched a lot while visiting my mother!), I’ve seen one speaker after another say that we need to expand free trade. Obama, on the other hand, has been quite critical of the role of trade in destroying manufacturing jobs and has gone so far as to say that he’d renegotiate NAFTA.

    I acknowledge that Obama is light on experience, but he seems to me to be very intelligent, very politically astute and he seems to be a natural born leader. Our trade policies have been so damaging to our economy that our nation actually stands on the brink of bankruptcy. I’m willing to take a chance with him that he might actually begin to turn the tide on our crazy trade policy.

    I think that, once any of us accepts that population growth lies at the root of our problems, then we need to cast aside our old political allegiances and look for the candidates that will move us in the right direction.

    Clyde, I’m afraid you really, really won’t like my next post, which will probably come out sometime tomorrow. But I hope you understand my reasoning. Stay tuned.

  9. Pete Murphy says:

    Clyde, I wrote my previous response in haste last night and don’t think I did a very good job of making my point. So let me elaborate.

    If and when a person arrives at the conclusion that the effects of overpopulation are a major issue – even the dominant issue (which is where I’m at), perhaps by reading my book but it could also arise out of other issues – then I think that one must begin making voting decisions based on this new-found appreciation for this new issue. At that point, one has to cast off the old party allegiances.

    Currently, neither party even acknowledges that there is a problem with overpopulation. And neither party recognizes that overpopulation can be a factor in driving our trade results toward the huge deficit that we have. So this is an issue that defies all the labels. It’s not a “conservative” or “liberal” issue. It’s not “left” or “right.” As I said in the book, solving our problems isn’t a matter of adjusting our focus to the left or right of center, because even the center is completely off-target. We need to be aiming in a completely different direction.

    Until I fully formulated my theory, which was about the 1996 time frame, I was basically a Republican. I voted for Nixon the first time I was eligible to vote, Ford, Reagan (twice), and the first George Bush (twice). But, by 1996, I was beginning to see things in a new light, and I no longer liked what I saw in either party. At first, I think, when you’ve adopted a new value, there’s a tendency to compartmentalize that new value separately from the values you use to make voting decisions. But at some point you realize that you either believe in something and are ready to act on it, or you don’t. Eventually, I realized that both parties were driving our economy into the ground by favoring high rates of immigration and completely unfettered trade. I began voting for third party and independent candidates, but felt I was just wasting my vote. The “statement” I was making was completely unnoticed by everyone.

    Now I base my decision on whatever policies a candidate may profess to support that will at least begin moving us in the right direction, even if they are doing so unwittingly, not realizing the connection to overpopulation. In this election, I see a clear choice regarding the issue of trade policy and I’m beginning to see a difference in the population issue as well. (More on that in an upcoming post.) Thus my support for Obama. I’ll apply the same test when it comes to voting for other candidates for other offices as well. For example, as of right now, I plan to vote for my Republican Congressman, based upon his staunch opposition to any immigration reform that whiffs of amnesty.

    If you still support the Republicans, I can respect that. But, if you do believe in the theory I presented in the book, I encourage you to challenge your candidates regarding their positions on things like immigration and our trade deficit, and keep pressing them if their first answers don’t satisfy you. Real progress on these issues probably won’t come as a result of only one party “getting it,” but will probably happen faster when both parties are being challenged by their constituents to address these issues. Believe me, as soon as Obama is elected (if he’s elected), I will quickly switch into the mode of being just as critical of him if he doesn’t come through with the policies that he’s led us to believe he’ll pursue and enact.

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