Saturday, August 30, 2008

On Palin

Ok, so I'm cross-cross-posting, but my full piece is up at GlobalComment, thanks to Natalia.

John McCain waited until after Barack Obama’s speech to make a superbly-timed announcement of his vice-presidential pick.

Unfortunately for him, he undermined what were his best arguments against Obama with that choice.

Sarah Palin is the first-term governor of Alaska, a large, oil-rich state with a small population, and she’s even younger than Obama. Her only political experience before beating the previous Republican governor, Frank Murkowski, in a primary in 2006 was being mayor of Walsilla.

Palin is a mother of five, including one son who’s off to Iraq and another, just born, with Down syndrome. She is staunchly pro-life and considered a Christian conservative, but, rather obviously, is a high-profile working mother.

She campaigned on ethics reform and is considered (much like McCain) a party maverick. She is also seen as a break from ethically-challenged Alaska Republicans like Senator Ted Stevens. However, Palin is under investigation herself for possibly having abused her office to get her former brother-in-law, Mike Wooten, fired from his job as a state trooper, according to the Wall Street Journal. She supports drilling as energy policy, and her husband is a longtime BP employee, but he’s a blue-collar type. Palin has also threatened to evict ExxonMobil and its partners from their drilling rights to publicly held oilfields.

This woman is quite a contradiction, seen at once as a sop to the religious right who have not quite come around to McCain and as outreach to disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters who value biological sex over a record on the issues. Read the rest