Anyone who knows me knows that I would LOVE to see a female president in my lifetime. BUT, just like I wouldn’t want just any man to be president, the fact that someone happens to be a woman does not make me want to vote for her. The McCain campaign’s pick for VP wasn’t going to sway my vote–even before either candidate’s campaign announced a VP pick I knew how I felt about Obama and McCain and their stances on the issues, but the pick did initially raise my eyebrows a little. I’d barely heard of Sarah Palin. McCain has never seemed like a particularly pro-woman candidate; I wouldn’t have expected him to have much faith in a woman’s ability to successfully hold a position of power. Picking her was gutsy, yeah. It pulled the spotlight over to their campaign a bit, which is something they needed to do. But her resume is extraordinarily–almost shockingly–flimsy, and an investigation of her possible abuse of power and illegal activities in her home state of Alaska is looking fairly damning.
In case you haven’t seen this already, here’s a rundown of her experience and track record:
She served for 4-5 years on the Wasilla, AK (a town of less than 7000 people) city council. She then served for 6 years as the mayor of that town. She’s been the governor of Alaska for a year and 8 months. Before starting her career in public service she was a sportscaster for a couple of years. She’s a lifetime member of the NRA, is pro-life, and has deep connections to the oil industry.
In terms of her worldview, political positions, and legislative experience, Mike Doogan of the Anchorage Daily News puts it this way, “If Palin has two thoughts about foreign policy, she’s managed to keep them to herself. Ditto health care. National energy policy. Fiscal policy. You could make a long, long list, but I’ll stop there.[…] There’s no way on God’s green earth that she’s prepared to be president of the United States.” CNN’s Paul Begala writes that “For a man who is 72 years old and has had four bouts with cancer to have chosen someone so completely unqualified to become president is shockingly irresponsible.” I have to agree with Begala, especially after seeing the now oft-shown video clip of Palin asking, “What is it exactly that the VP does every day?” Oh boy.
Before her election as a Republican, she was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, whose members aim to secure a vote on seceding from the U.S. The AIP motto is “Alaska First, Alaska Always.” As the BBC points out, “that may cause the most trouble for McCain. The Republican’s campaign slogan this year is “Country First”.” (*EDIT: Okay, so the reports on this are now conflicting. The McCain campaign is denying that Palin was ever registered with the party, though her husband definitely was and she addressed the party’s convention earlier this year.)
Palin’s selection and the surrounding hubbub seems to be having the effect of taking the heat off of Joe Biden. I don’t really hear anybody talking about him… maybe because he’s actually fairly well qualified?? Biden has a law degree and has been serving in the U.S. Senate since 1973. He’s served as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is the current chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Biden has promoted the idea of partitioning as a possible resolution in Iraq. His son Beau, who spoke at the DNC, is set to be deployed to Iraq soon. Joe Biden helped write the Violence Against Women Act and has promoted college financial aid programs. Prior to his service in the Senate, he served on the New Castle County Council (New Castle County in Delaware currently has a population of over 500,000) from 1970-1972. Biden has been more qualified than Palin for the last 30+ years.
Yeah, Biden has made a few verbal gaffes in the past, and I’m not impressed by those, but a few verbal gaffes pale in comparison for me to the alternative Palin presents–a near complete lack of relevant experience or understanding of the scope of what is one of the most important jobs in the world today.
End of rant (for now).