Palin--A Good VP Pick
Written byon 2008-09-02T06:56:19+00:00
John McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate is brilliant. Her individualism matches McCain's. McCain always does the unexpected and is the real "change agent" in this election. McCain will bring POSITIVE CHANGE to America and his new slogan is "America First".
To say it was a bold pick is putting it mildly. Palin, after all, isn't well-known outside Alaska. But McCain is maverick-bold, and this masterstroke looks like a game-changer for Republicans.
A first look at Palin, 44, shows striking political similarities with the man who heads the ticket. Like McCain, she thinks independently and has shown political courage. Elected governor in 2006, she became popular for tax-cutting and budget-balancing, both hallmarks of McCain's own career.
Also like McCain, Palin has confronted political corruption, even at a cost to herself. In 2004, she quit a position as head of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission monitoring the industry rather than look the other way on ethics violations by the chairman, who was also the Republican Party chief. That made her a political outcast. It took courage, but it's also profoundly bipartisan. It may render Democrats' "unity" talk hollow.
Palin is also a straight-talker. As governor of a small-population state, she's accessible, with a history of working with and listening to people, taking in all sides. She uses plain language and doesn't fear gaffes. She couldn't be further from the canned, focus-group-driven politicians who dominate politics. This builds trust.
McCain's and Palin's similarities present an emerging political coherence and unity of message that should appeal to voters. But it's new strengths to the McCain ticket that make Palin's entry truly exciting. Several will add fire to McCain's campaign.
Palin, for example, represents the frontier. Alaska and its energy development are at the forefront of American interests. As oil prices soar to record levels, the state's oil and gas could free the U.S. from the tyranny of hostile foreign oil suppliers — including Russia, Iran and Venezuela — that are using high prices to amass power and create trouble abroad.
Palin has been a strong voice for liberating her state's energy for the benefit of the nation. Her recent legislative victory establishing a 7,200-mile natural gas pipeline across North America — after 30 years of failure — is a remarkable accomplishment.
Alaska's leadership will add to Palin's appeal in other frontier states in the Rocky Mountains, Great Plains and pockets of the rural Midwest and mid-Atlantic. Like Alaska with its oil, these are rugged regions desperate to develop their clean coal and shale oil resources.
Democrats at their Denver convention identified them as make-or-break battlegrounds, and the Idaho-born Alaska governor may move them into McCain's column. Palin's record of fighting for responsible development and against special interests will resonate, giving these states hope that they too can reach the prosperity they've been denied by do-nothing Democrats.
Palin's lifetime membership in the National Rifle Association and her affinity for pickup trucks, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and other outdoor life will only add to her Middle American appeal.
It also helps that she's a woman. Much as we dislike identity politics, Palin's nomination moves the historic momentum to the GOP and appeals to female voters who wanted to see Hillary Clinton on the Democratic ticket.
Democrats in Denver were nervous about shutting out women from their own ticket, and many delegates left angry. As many as one in five Hillary voters, according to one survey, are open to voting Republican. Denver delegates from Florida, Illinois and Texas told IBD they knew of McCain voters in their ranks.
Palin's nomination adds to a McCain team that already includes very competent advisers such as Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and Meg Whitman, who ran eBay. By contrast, based on what was seen at the Denver convention, the main achievement of the Democrats' female flag bearer, Michelle Obama, was marrying well.
Palin's presence on the McCain ticket will also energize a key Republican subgroup: religious conservatives. As a mother of five, including a baby born with Down syndrome, her appeal with female voters stands to go much further than Clinton feminists. Her devotion to family will resonate with the large anti-abortion segment of the Republicans, including Catholics and evangelicals, who will be inspired by her example.
Though she is not wedded to party politics, Palin has a conservative voting record. This will strike a chord with the party's base and raise trust in McCain, who has had his doubters. This in turn will give the campaign some needed enthusiasm.
Palin could also appeal to independents who've had enough of Washington. When House leaders made a visit to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge this summer, some locals were offended that they didn't call on their governor. Whatever else it was, the slight proved Palin wasn't a Beltway insider. In addition, Palin's 84% approval rating in a state with high libertarian and populist tendencies suggests that she can reach independents.
Finally, Sarah Palin is a governor with two years of authentic executive experience. This spares this race the specter of an all-senator show. And history shows it's far better preparation for the presidency than other offices. A governor must execute budgets, pull factions together, compromise on tough issues and make the buck stop there. If Palin's short stint as governor calls into question her experience, it's still superior to Barack Obama's two years in the U.S. Senate.
McCain has always been full of surprises, and the nomination of Palin may be his best. Yes, it's a risk. But from all indications, it's one well worth taking. Women will see Palin as a very qualified person and can identify with her in balancing a career with family.
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