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Sarah Palin is a woefully poor choice for Vice President. Yes, she's feisty, determined, good looking (if you like hornet's nest hairdos), and is apparently a strong Christian. However, she is wholly unprepared to assume the duties of President should 72 year old two-time cancer victim John McCain be elected and then die in office, just as she is wholly unprepared for the office of Vice President. Like Dan Quayle before her, she is rash and highly partisan with a decidedly far-right bent. To allow this terribly unprepared person to ascend to either office would be as foolish as taking a 16 year old hometown sandlot baseball phenomenon and shipping him up to the major leagues. He wouldn't be able to cut the mustard no matter how hard he tried, and, no matter how dazzling his play had been at the neighborhood park baseball field, major league baseball would be way too far out of his league. So, too, would be the number two or top position in our government way too far out of Sarah Palin's league. One would never even consider taking the manager of a quiet little computer store and propelling that person up to the position of VP or CEO of Microsoft Corporation! It's a matter of proper perspective, good judgment, and common sense, that's all. These are important elements apparently lacking in the John McCain campaign.
Sorry, folks, but in my view, having been mayor of a small Alaskan town of less than 10,000 people does not prepare one for the nation's biggest and most important jobs. Neither does being Governor of a state with a population of only 670,000. Yes, in both cases, some executive decisions are made, but they pale tremendously when compared with the complexities and far-reaching consequences of those made in the Oval Office. For decisions made at the White House level deal with the subtle nuances of foreign diplomacy. They deal with matters of war and peace, and of micro and macro economics, and a host of other highly detailed and crucially important pressing issues. They demand far more knowledge and background than Sarah Palin's 4 year degree in Jornalism or minimal political experience provide!
The sad fact is that neither John McCain nor the national media have given Ms. Palin the necessary background checks one running for Vice President should have. Not much substantive information about her has surfaced in the press, and the McCain campaign has shielded her from direct media access and interviews to an unprecedented degree. Still, a number of questionable actions and practices relating to her performance as both mayor and Governor have surfaced. Palin has always claimed to be a fiscal conservative. But as mayor, she inherited a city with zero debt but left it $22 MILLION in debt. She spent $1 million for a new park and $1.5 million on a new city sports complex, pushing to build it on a tract of land the city did not have clear title to. Her rash action has involved the city in a costly ongoing litigation battle. She redecorated her office numerous times at taxpayer expense. She also pushed through a $5.5 million roads project, something which could have been completed in a more gradual 5-7 year time frame without borrowing. Ms. Palin is also currently under investigation for abuse of power in her firing of a Police Chief who refused to dismiss a trooper. It turns out this trooper was "coincidentally" her brother-in-law, who at the time was in the process of divorcing her sister. Palin is refusing to release hundreds of emails she sent during this period, and is citing executive privilege for doing so, just as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have done so infamously over the years. Something clearly stinks about this, and it's not rotting Alaskan salmon or King Crab either. Prudent and capable leaders do not find themselves in controversial situations like this. Reckless, impulsive, disingenuous, vindictive, narrowly-focused ones with their own agenda do. Palin and McCain claim she is a reformer who will champion transparency and clean Washington up by ridding it of pork-barrel Congressional earmarks and corrupt lobbyists. Yet she herself enlisted the aid of a lobbyist with ties to Jack Abramoff to procure a $27 million earmark for her little town! As Governor, she claims she told Congress "thanks, but no thanks" for the $200 million "bridge to nowhere" obtained by indicted Alaskan Republican Senator Ted Stevens. But this is an outright twisted lie. While campaigning for Governor, she came out in SUPPORT of the earmark until it proved embarrassing and politically unpopular, when she began to speak out against it. Not only that, but SHE KEPT THE $200 MILLION AND SPENT IT IN OTHER AREAS OF THE STATE! This smacks of the same old, same OLD brand of politics, not a reformer's new approach. Further evidence of her impulsiveness is shown in the tax rebates she has issued to every Alaskan. During the recent huge rise in oil prices, Alaska's state budget enjoyed a sizable surplus. Rather than investing even a part of this in technology to create future energy independence, the rash and short-sighted young Governor pushed to return the entire surplus to every resident of the state, a sort of politically popular short term gain, long term don't-even-worry-about-the-future approach to governing.
CONSIDER THIS: Can you honestly see Sarah Palin sitting at the same table as Russia's Putin, or Iran's Ahmadinejad, or Venezuela's Chavez, or any other damgerous and seasoned adversary, and being able to accurately size these crafty old cunning veterans up, and effectively negotiating with them? I DON'T THINK SO! The fact is this: Unlike Barack Obama, who has actually LIVED in a foreign country, met with foreign leaders, and been on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sarah Palin has done NONE of these things. She has been limited to the narrow world view of her tiny, remote little Alaska town. Just this week, in an interview with ABC's Charles Gibson, it was painfully obvious she has no real grasp of the repercussions American foreign policy can have on the world. It was abundantly clear she had no knowledge of the "Bush Doctrine", the practice of pre-emptive military strikes, and the foreign relations damage this illegal policy has caused. For her advice in this vitally important realm of foreign affairs, she would be relying on and drawing from the same hawkish, militaristic neoconservative Republicans who led us into our disastrous and costly debacle in Iraq. Palin displays none of the maturity, sophistication, worldliness, or realpolitik knowledge other important female leaders have possessed, among which would be Margarte Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto, Golda Meir, or even our own Hillary Clinton. With her impulsive, pep rally, shoot-from-the-hip, my-way-or-the-highway confrontational style, Palin would be a divisive figure here at home and an absolute catastrophe for foreign relations. I would NEVER feel comfortable with her in charge of the military, or with her finger on our nuclear trigger. Would YOU?
The Republican Party and the McCain campaign are similarly trying to create a myth that both Palin and McCain are mavericks and reformers. Owing to the fact that ex-Bush campaign aides and seven different lobbyists are directing, operating, and advising the McCain campaign, it is highly unlikely they will generate any REAL reform. With this type of campaign direction, it is no wonder they are cynically and deceptively trying to steal Barack Obama's widely popular and relevant theme of change in Washington. McCain and Palin are fraudulently twisting this idea and perverting it to their own dishonest design. Not very original. Not very new.
There are those wildly partisan people who insist that Sarah Palin has the ability and executive experience to perform the roles of Vice President or President. There are also those who still believe the earth is really flat, or that the world was created exactly 6,000 years ago in exactly six days. They split hairs, grasp at straws, and will say and do virtually ANYTHING to keep Obama out of the White House. Strongly held and shrilly-voiced social convictions do NOT in and of themselves a Vice President or President make. Ms. Palin has claimed similarity with Harry S Truman in a cynical attempt to attract small town voters to herself and away from Obama. But that, like many of her other assertions, is faulty. Harry S Truman had been a soldier overseas in World War I. He was VERY well read in history, law, and politics even before coming to Washington. He served in the US Senate before becoming Vice President and had a good understanding and working knowledge of Washington politics. Upon becoming President, he had a wealthy supply of successful military, economic, and foreign policy advisors from the FDR presidency to draw from, not the lobbyists, poltical ideologues, and discredited militarists she would be employing. Truman was therefore infinitely more prepared for the job than she. So sorry, young lady. We knew Harry Truman, and you are no Harry S Truman!!
Look at it this way, folks: If you were to HIRE Sarah Palin, would you consider her to be worth a salary of $208,100 a year as Vice President, or $400,000 a year as President? Or would you be able to do far, far better than that for that kind of money?
John McCain picked Sarah Palin merely as a political move, to further pander to the hardcore far-right elements in his party. These people, and Palin herself, are not in the American political mainstream. McCain did NOT put "country first" in selecting Palin. Instead, he made a seriously flawed and short-sighted judgment. It was a cynically selfish move which put politics and electability above the best interests and future of the nation. THINK ABOUT IT, EVERYBODY: We have just experienced 8 disastrous years of a President "everybody would like to have a beer with." That President, too, was poorly suited for the job, intolerant of differing viewpoints (as is Ms. Palin), and whose policies have lowered our standard of living and engaged us in a senseless TRILLION dollar war we and the next generation will be paying for decades into the future! Do we want to make the same mistake all over again? I think NOT! McCain's campaign advisors, like Steve Schmidt and the notorius Karl Rove, have tried to steer the perceived choice in this election away from consideration of issues and policy, to one of which ticket is more likeable or "just like me". That's why we hear Palin refer to herself as a "hockey mom" and a "pit bull with lipstick", in an attempt to be cute and endearing to us. That is why she is NOT discussing the economy or foreign affairs. This is an insult to every concerned and intelligent voter and true patriot. It is NOT acting in the country's best interest! Because of this, and for all the other reasons I have outlined here today, Sarah Palin must NOT become Vice President and the McCain/Palin ticket must NOT be elected on November 4!!! Honest, thinking people will put mind over chatter in this election and will say, to quote Hillary Clinton directly, "No McCain! No Palin! NO WAY!"
NEXT WEEK: TIME TO PUT 9/11 BEHIND US!
Cartoon: Hot take wave
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