I did not hear about McCain’s pick for VP until Friday afternoon when I was having lunch with a friend, and she told me who he picked. I had seen earlier that morning that some governor, Sarah Palin, was a good possibility…but nothing had been confirmed then. As my friend told me about Gov. Palin, I was intrigued and read up on her when I got back later that afternoon.
Late in that afternoon, I noticed that my good friend from college, Aaron Blake Huddleston, wrote up a great article detailing strengths and weaknesses regarding McCain’s pick of Gov. Sarah Palin for VP on a note on Facebook. He did a great job on the research and explaining a few not easily understood topics. With his permission, I am posting it here on my blog for anyone who is interested, or not interested since it should not be confined to those on Facebook. Give it a read, even if you don’t really care.
I think that Gov. Sarah Palin was an excellent choice for Senator McCain. (True, I would have preferred he choose Huckabee, but that’s beside the point.)
Gov. Palin is a woman which will help Senator McCain go after some of the swing votes who liked Senator Clinton but don’t like Senator Obama. This is not to suggest that Hillary supporters would vote for anything in a skirt, but simply that (in some cases) the fact that she is a woman will help get their attention so they’ll hear what McCain/Palin have to say.
Gov. Palin is a TRUE conservative. Sen. McCain needs to earn the trust of right wingers. He’s a self-described Maverick. He’s considered moderate, and slightly left of where most conservative voters are comfortable placing their votes. Having a TRUE conservative on the ticket with him will help bring him back into favor with those who were concerned about this (and about his ability to appoint the right kind of justices).
Gov. Palin is STRONGLY pro-life. She is a part of the group Feminists for Life. This will help Sen. McCain secure the pro-life vote (a large group who were on the fence about him because of some of the people on his VP short-list).
Gov. Palin is a bit of a maverick herself. While staying true to conservative values and platform, Gov. Palin has spent her time in office digging out corruption, throwing out old policy (set in place by republicans) that just wasn’t working, and “cleaning house” of appointed officials who were either corrupt or just not doing their jobs well. This will take the wind out of the sails of Sen. Obama’s “Agent of Change” campaign. Sen. Obama has no record to support his claims to be an agent of change, and his VP pick CERTAINLY is not an agent of change. Meanwhile, Sen. McCain has proven he can go against President Bush’s policies and incite change where it is needed (the Surge, for example), and Gov. Palin’s entire time in office has been about changing what was wrong with the previous administration.
More on Gov. Palin’s maverickhood….This will also help Sen. McCain fight the attacks from Sen. Obama that he will be “a third term for Bush.” By pointing out Gov. Palin’s history of digging out what was wrong with the previous republican administration and fixing it, Sen. McCain can argue that he intends to do the same with the White House.
Gov. Palin can win votes and trust. Gov. Palin’s approval rating has never been under 80%, and, in fact, has been over 90% for much of her time in office. This shows that she is able to win people over, that she is good at what she does, and that she will be able to help secure votes.
She’s a surprise! Weird that it’s a strength, but it is. Nobody had even considered her an option until they found out that it WAS her. People were surprised, almost shocked, when they heard. This is good for the campaign because it keeps it in the news. She’s such a surprise and such a shock, that the media will want to pay a lot of attention to her in the coming weeks and months (especially because they missed her in the coverage leading up to her selection when they were focussed on Gov. Romney and Gov. Ridge). This continued media coverage will help the McCain campaign get face time in what has (thus far) been dominated by Sen. Obama.
Inexperience. Sen. Obama’s campaign has tried to argue that Gov. Palin doesn’t have enough experience to be “a heartbeat away from the presidency.” However, Gov. Palin’s experience makes Sen. Obama look like a school boy in some ways. While she is only a 1-term governor of a smaller state, her time there has done well to prepare her for this office. She is one of few governors who can boast foreign policy experience. Because of Alaska’s location, she has had to work out foreign policy with both Canada and Russia. Being governor has given her administrative and executive experience. She has accomplished more for the state in her 1 term as governor than Sen. Obama has done in his time as a Senator from Illinois. (Where he passed no legislation, and missed most of his votes).
Speaking ability. This is a big one (and one of the reasons I would have preferred Huckabee). While the text of her speech today was good, her delivery left something to be desired. She didn’t know how to handle a crowd that big and often found herself stuttering and seeming very awkward whenever the crowd would erupt into cheers. With a weak public speaking ability like that, I fear she will not be able to hold her own against the very experienced Sen. Biden.
The controversy. Okay, it had to be mentioned (even though it’s pathetic)…There IS a slight controversy surrounding her in Alaska right now. It seems she fired the Public Safety Commissioner in Alaska. She says that she did this because there were State Trooper vacancies that were not being filled (in other words, he wasn’t doing his job). The former commissioner claimed that it was because he didn’t fire her sister’s ex-husband (a state trooper) who was engaged in a bitter custody battle with Gov. Palin’s sister. Apparently a member of Gov. Palin’s administration had contacted him to discuss the issue of firing this state trooper without Gov. Palin’s knowledge. When she found out, she placed this member of her administration on a 2 month suspension for acting outside of the scope of his authority. An investigation was later launched, which Gov. Palin welcomed, opening up her files and saying she had nothing to hide. Those conducting the investigation have not had to subpoena anything because she has given full cooperation, and they’ve come up with nothing on her. Also, before we get carried away with the man asking that this state trooper be fired, let’s look at why he was making the request. It was not because he had divorced Gov. Palin’s sister. It was because he had threatened to kill his father-in-law (yes, the Governor’s father, but that doesn’t matter…he threatened to kill an innocent civilian…), he had tasered his 11-year-old step-son (at the boy’s request, but it’s still not allowed), and he had broken gaming laws. To me, that’s 3 strikes you’re out. Those were the reasons that a member of the administration asked about firing the state trooper, it had nothing to do with the Governor’s sister, and it was done without Gov. Palen’s knowledge. All that said, as much BS as the controversy is, it is possible that Sen. Obama and his campaign will attempt to exploit it to deceive voters into thinking Gov. Palin is corrupt (although certainly voters are smart enough to see Sen. Biden’s corruption…).
She’s a surprise. Yes, I listed this as a strength as well. For all of those reasons it’s a good thing. But for this reason it’s a bad thing: Nobody knows much about her. All that I know I found out through researching her extensively today, but the average voter doesn’t know much about her. That’s bad on 2 levels. First of all, it’s bad because she doesn’t have a name recognition that will automatically bring some voters over…she’ll have to work hard for all the votes she gets. The second reason it’s bad is because, sadly, most voters aren’t as responsible as me. Rather than dig and search and do their own research on Gov. Palin, they will wait and listen to what sources like CNN and MSNBC have to say about her. Which means they will get all of their information about her from sources with a definite bias. This could definitely hurt the McCain/Palin campaign.
In all, I think she was a very wise choice, but they will have a few bullets to dodge. Hopefully Sen. McCain’s campaign advisors are up to the challenge. I just thank the Lord that Sen. McCain picked a true conservative running mate instead of somebody like Gov. Ridge…I wasn’t sure what I would do if he’d picked Gov. Ridge or Sen. Lieberman.
I knew most of the points that he made already, but Aaron did a great job summarizing them and showing how each point could go one way or the other.
Thanks Aaron for clearing up the “controversial” issue with Sarah Palin…The news tried to explain it, but to tell you the truth, I didn’t get “the controversy” totally until reading his post.
Yep, I agree, she’s not Huckabee, but she’s still a great choice.
P.S. I did think it was amuzing that a search for Sarah Palin on Facebook already results in precisely 480 groups (at this moment) dedicated to loving her, hating her, or hitting on her. Check it out.