The Widening Gyre: The GOP Follows the DNC with a Curious Choice for VP.

Sen. John McCain introduced the country to his choice for VP today and in doing so may have tossed a real wild card into the race for the White House. His pick: The 44-year-old Republican governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. That's right: For the first time in history, the GOP will run a woman on its Presidential ticket. It's actually the only time for either party other than Democrat Geraldine Ferraro's run for VP in 1984.

But who is Sarah Palin? Joining a candidate running on his experience, Palin served four years on city council and six years as mayor in her hometown of Wasilla (pop.<10,000) before winning Alaska's gubernatorial race in 2006. Previously, she earned a degree in journalism with a minor in politics from the Univ. of Idaho and subsequently worked as a sports reporter, co-owned a commercial fishing business with her husband and owned an all-terrain vehicle business before being appointed to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which she chaired from 2003-4. And, yes, she was runner up for Miss Alaska in 1984.

She has presented herself as a reformer, having become embroiled early on in exposing alleged corruption even within her own party. She opposes abortion rights and supports opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling.

In her appearance today, Palin referenced Seneca Falls and paid homage to both Ferraro and Hillary Clinton for having paved the way for her own push to shatter the glass ceiling.

So, how will this effect the race? Will the pull for disgruntled Clinton supporters work coming from an anti-choice, anti-gay-rights, pro-drilling, fur-wearing, creationist Republican? Will Republicans want to get behind someone less experienced than Sen. Obama -- a woman who looked more like she might be McCain's daughter rather than his running mate? Or will they go for a pro-life, hunting, fishing, pretty mother of five, whose eldest has served in Iraq? Will she win over voters as a reformer and change candidate as she at least hinted at today?

Will the Democrats -- particularly Sen. Biden -- have to tread a lightly when talking about Gov. Palin to avoid claims of male chauvinism Republicans probably stand ready to hurl at them? Biden should be expected wipe the floor with Palin in debates, but will he have to watch coming off like a bully or risk a version of the "asshole" charges that Al Gore garnered when he ran for President?

Ultimately, everyone seems to be asking, is Sarah Palin the person this country wants next in line for the Presidency behind 72-year-old John McCain? (Happy birthday to him.)

Reactions from across the country included these from Palin's new opponents:

Democratic nominees Barack Obama and Joe Biden (joint statement): “We send our congratulations to Governor Palin and her family on her designation as the Republican nominee for vice president. Her selection is yet another encouraging sign that all barriers are falling in our politics and while we obviously have differences over how to best lead this country forward, Governor Palin is an admirable person and will add a compelling new voice to this campaign.”

They let others take up the first signs of attack:

Barack Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton: “Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain’s commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush’s failed economic policies — that’s not the change we need, it’s just more of the same.”

Read more here.

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Blogger Ben said...

Palin is -- my Alaskan fishermen-buddies assure me -- the hottest of all of America's governors. It's a serious point of state pride.

It will be interesting to see how that honorific figures into the Vice Presidential debate. Perhaps ...
Biden: I simply don't feel that Americans are ready to put the woman who is clearly and obviously the hottest governor this country currently has into a position to run this country in all its complexity in the event of a tragic accident.
Palin: I am offended and honestly don't see how my astounding level of former hot-ness -- something that fishermen from my state still revere -- discredits my viability as a leader and politician.
Biden: Governor Palin! I. am. concerned. About the vacancy you'll leave. Everyone knows the second-hottest governor is Schwarzeneggar and... And he is. He is a man. And that makes us all feel very uneasy.

4:06 PM, August 29, 2008  
Anonymous Mickey said...

Let me think, she's believes abortion should be outlawed completely (including rape and incest), wants creationism taught in schools, was mayor of a town barely bigger than my home town, hasn't "focused" on the war on Iraq (even though her son is going there soon)....unbelievable.

I wouldn't think she has a chance in hell of helping the Republican ticket, I would think her inexperience would scare voting America.....but then again, this is the country that elected Ronald Reagan twice AND still thinks he was a great president, and this country elected Bush Sr (along with his potato(e) head buddy as VP, AND Bush Jr. has been president for two terms.

So, when it comes to the United States electing (or selecting) presidents....can I really think the voters will make the intelligent choice this time?

Have I learned nothing from history?

8:37 PM, August 29, 2008  
Blogger Kim said...

I cannot imagine there is any other motive than to capture a portion of that 13% of voters that were Clinton supports and are now undecided. As one of those 13% I find it insulting that Palin would be considered a suitable female counterpart. Yes, there was a small amount of the population that voted for Hilary Clinton because she was a woman,which I think to be just as degrading as those that didn't vote for her because she was, or those voters that won't vote for Obama because of his name or his race. But the rest of her supporters, the majority of her supporters voted for her because of her politics, and McCain's camp continues to underestimate the intelligence of the American voting public buy his choice in VP.
Palin goes against everything that Clinton believed in. Although Obama has been criticized for his novice status in Senate, Palin is strikingly unprepared to be president of The United States if McCain were to be elected and then deceased.
As a woman I'm very concerned about the future of my reproductive rights as two of our Supreme Court Justices prepare to retire. If I were to resort to petty criticism, which I am, I would say "Do we really want a woman who named her son Track because she likes running to be the commander and chief of our country?"

10:50 PM, September 01, 2008  

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