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Book of Matthew: My Sarah Palin hit piece

Published: September 5, 2008
Section: Opinions

Sarah who?

Yep… that was the first thing I thought when I heard about John McCain’s vice-presidential decision. I suppose I should have been paying more attention, but then again, all the media speculation had sickened me to the point where I spent my summer ignoring it all and just waiting for the choice to be made already.

But now that it have been made, and now that I have taken the time to learn about Sarah Palin, I must say that John McCain was clearly not using his best judgment. In fact, to say it was poor judgment probably gives him too much credit. Palin has got to be one of the worst choices in history. The amount of baggage she has brought into this campaign in such a short amount of time is incredible, with a new scandal being uncovered, literally, almost every day. Today, I would like to present the four reasons why Sarah Palin should stay as far away from Washington as possible.

Reason # 1: Her career in public service has been surprisingly brief, especially for someone who is supposed to be joining the “experience ticket”. From 1992 to 1996, Palin served for two terms on the Wasilla City Council, and then two more as mayor of Wasilla, from 1996 to 2002 (Wasilla, I might add, is a small village in Alaska that had a population of about 5500 when Palin served).

In 2002, she left Wasilla (with a $20 million debt due to irresponsible tax cuts) and ran, unsuccessfully, for the position of lieutenant governor of her state. After the loss, she spent a year as chair and ethics supervisor of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which oversaw the drilling and production of oil and natural gas. In 2006, she ran for a statewide office again, this time the governorship, and she won. She served for a year and a half before being asked by John McCain to join him on his presidential ticket.

So, if you add up all of Palin’s years in elected office, and throw in her year in the business world just for kicks, you will find that she still has had less experience than Senator Obama. Meaning that John McCain has, in one fell swoop, made it really difficult for the GOP to criticize what they call Obama’s lack of experience.

Reason #2: Palin is a woman. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there is any reason why a woman shouldn’t be vice-president, but under these circumstances, in this particular election year, the fact that she is a woman is deliberately misleading. After Hillary Clinton tried, and nearly succeeded at becoming the first female presidential nominee, the McCain campaign used Palin in a desperate, and fairly obvious attempt to lure disgruntled Clinton supporters into believing that a vote for McCain/Palin is a vote for the women’s rights agenda.

Unfortunately, this fairly obvious attempt reveals some fairly obvious flaws in the McCain campaign’s logic. It has, like so many political analysts, grossly overestimated the amount of true, die-hard, “I’ll-vote-for-Obama-when-hell-freezes-over” Clinton supporters still out there, and their ability to influence this election. PUMA, for example, a group of Clinton supporters that refuse to back Obama, claims to have over 2 million members. And yet, when they held their 2008 conference in Washington DC, only 60 members actually showed up. And they would have voted for McCain anyway.

Now as for the women who are still nervous about backing Obama, they will still have to deal with Sarah Palin’s far right-wing political beliefs. Those are sure to turn away some supporters.

Reason #3: Palin, like McCain, claims to be dead-set against earmarks, but Palin, like McCain, is responsible for millions of dollars of federal money being spent on pet projects on Alaska. Not only did she hire a private lobbyist to secure money from Senator Ted Stevens, she also expressed approval for Stevens’ “Bridge to Nowhere” back in 2006.

This does not help a campaign that has built its success on a pledge to eliminate wasteful spending from government.

Reason #4: Three words: Alaska Independence Party.

The Alaskan Independence Party is a minor political party that operates in Alaska, with a platform that includes a reduction of Federal control over Alaska, and eventually, Alaskan independence. Founded by Joe Vogler in 1984, the party’s slogan is “Alaska First, Alaska Always”, although Mr. Vogler has been quoted with many more colorful statements over the years. They include:

“I’m an Alaskan, not an American. I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions.”

And my personal favorite…

“The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government. And I won’t be buried under their damn flag. I’ll be buried in Dawson. And when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones home.”

You may be wondering why I am bringing this up. I have done so, because of Sarah Palin’s ties to the AIP. In 1995 and 2000, Todd Palin, Sarah’s husband, registered as a member of the party, and the party claims (although this is disputed) that Sarah was at one point registered as well. Regardless, she and her husband did attend the AIP convention in 2000, and recently she spoke to party members, telling them to “keep up the good work” and wished them luck on an “inspiring convention.”

Yes, John McCain, in an effort to convince voters that his ticket puts “Country First”, decided to choose a possible secessionist as his vice-president.

I just have to ask one last question, Senator McCain. What, if anything, were you thinking?