My apologies for not updating recently. I have been off in the magical land of “college,” full of all sorts of mythical challenges including “reading like a million pages a day” and “barely being able to afford food.” But now I am back, so we shall begin.
There’s a lot of information floating around about Sarah Palin. When I first heard she was John McCain’s VP pick, my (early morning, semi-awake) stream of consciousness went something like this:
1. Is this a joke?
2. Why would all the news networks conspire to report such a dumb joke?
3. I hate her voice.
4. Isn’t she under investigation?
5. Isn’t she like, terribly inexperienced?
6. WORST PICK EVER.
Of course, one woman’s terrible VP pick is apparently another person’s treasure, which is why her pick has been described as a “brilliant” but “risky” choice by some, and McCain’s numbers have shot up recently (also due to a probable “convention bounce“).
I’m still stuck in the mentality of #6, though. Let’s take a look at Ms. Palin:
1. She calls herself a “hockey mom” and “got her start” working in the PTA.
This is all well and fine, although none of these make her particularly qualified for president. If they did, my mom could do the job just as well.
2. She ran for mayor of the town of Wasilla, population approximately 6000. The Frontiersman (the local newspaper) reports that:
“When asked how she would run the city without experienced department heads, she responded, ‘It’s not rocket science. It’s $6 million and 53 employees.’ “[Seattle Times]
She later (at the RNC) compared this experience to Barack Obama’s as a community organizer. I have a few issues with this:
- Community organizer was one of Barack Obama’s first jobs. This is sort of like saying I’m inexperienced because I one time worked at Jamba Juice, and her job of mayor was much harder.
- Cesar Chavez was a community organizer. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a community organizer. JESUS was a community organizer. Just because you don’t know what it is doesn’t mean its a worthless position.
- If you don’t know what it is, maybe do a little research? Perhaps read Obama’s book Dreams from My Father, in which Obama describes his tasks as an organizer, which included improving the housing situation for hundreds of people in the poor parts of Chicago.
- How the hell do you make helping poor people sound like a bad thing?
- Even if we say that Obama’s job as a community organizer did not prepare him for the presidency, we are forgetting that he was later in the Illinois State Legislature and then IN THE SENATE.
3. She is FANTASTICALLY inexperienced. And not in a good way. Let’s break it down:
She has LESS THAN 2 years of experience as governor. In these two years:
- She was commander of the Alaskan National Guard, which the McCain campaign claims to give her foreign policy and executive experience. However:
Since governors have no role in overseeing Guard members federalized for service in Iraq, military experts said that should not count as foreign policy experience.
Closer to home, the bread-and-butter duties of most state National Guards are natural disasters. During Palin’s 21 months in office, there has been one declared disaster: widespread flooding in June and July this year. Palin quickly signed a disaster declaration, officials said. The Guard’s role was limited to providing two water tanks and 30,000 sandbags to local authorities. [LA Times]
- She claimed at the RNC that she said “no” to the Bridge to Nowhere. This is, of course, after she said “yes” to the Bridge to Nowhere.
…political leaders of both parties said the claim was false and a betrayal of their community, because she had supported the bridge and the earmark for it secured by Alaska’s Congressional delegation during her run for governor.
The best part?
The state, however, never gave back any of the money that was originally earmarked for the Gravina Island bridge, said Weinstein and Elerding. [Reuters]
- She is currently under investigation:
The legislative council approved 100,000 dollars for the investigation that will find out whether Palin was angry at Monegan for not firing an Alaska State Trooper who went through a messy divorce with Palin’s sister…
Legislators approved hiring a special investigator to look into the controversial firing of former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. Monegan was fired two weeks ago without explanation and has said he was pressured by the governor and her staff to fire a trooper who was once married to Palin’s sister.Accusations have risen that Monegan was fired for his refusal to fire trooper Michael Wooten. The council’s intent is to investigate the circumstances and events surrounding the termination of Monegan and potential abuses of power and improper action by the Governor and her administration. [KTVA]
- She was an enthusiastic member of the Alaskan Independence Party, a group in Alaska that has the ultimate goal of the state seceding from the United States.
“Keep up the good work,” Sarah Palin told members of the Alaskan Independence Party in a videotaped speech to their convention six months ago in Fairbanks. She wished the party luck on what she called its “inspiring convention.”
The Alaskan Independence Party, founded in 1978, initially promoted “the Alaskan independence movement.” But now, according to its website, “its primary goal is merely a vote on secession.” [LA Times]
This is spectacularly ironic, since she is running on which a main campaign tactic, publicly or otherwise, has been to question Barack Obama’s loyalty to the United States.
- She claims that as VP she will be an outspoken advocate for education and kids with special needs (as mentioned in the comments), but:
Before her run for the vice presidency, advocacy for special needs programs had not been a central part of her political campaigns or during her administration, despite her sister’s autistic son. [CNN]
4. But let’s get back to the Alaska thing. Here’s a few facts about the state:
Population: about 680,000
All right, that’s actually the only part I care about. Less than 700,000 people. The following cities have larger populations than all of Alaska:
Not only does Sarah Palin lack foreign policy experience, she is the governor of a state that has fewer people than 13 major American cities. This is not to downplay the state of Alaska, since obviously it holds in its snowy bosom a favorite thing of all Republicans: oil. But the fact is, the state is not a huge economic powerhouse. Nor is it a huge political powerhouse. My point is that being governor of Alaska is simply not experience enough to become president.
To be fair, though, its no wonder McCain chose her, since he did so little research to look into who she actually is. Can you imagine how little thought McCain might put into important positions such as the Secretary of State, or Supreme Court justices? [NY Times]
To summarize, Sarah Palin has zero foreign policy experience, very little national policy experience (unless you consider getting enormous amounts of pork-y funding for your state national policy experience). And yet John McCain, potentially the oldest first-term president in American history, has put her one step away from being Commander in Chief. She is a no good, very bad, terrible pick, and if her selection process was any indication, McCain shouldn’t be president either.
Oh, and one more thing. If you’re still convinced that Sarah Palin can do a good job as vice president, you should probably tell her what a VP does, because she doesn’t even know.
By the way, everyone should read this awesome article by feminist icon Gloria Steinem in the LA Times titled “Wrong Woman, Wrong Message.” It will be a good wakeup call for anyone who thinks that having Palin on the ticket is good for women.