Friday, August 29, 2008

The Maverick Strikes - Its Sarah Palin

Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin is the Republican VP Pick. This is a brilliant pick. She is a strong conservative and a true Washington outside. She has had private sector business experience, she has executive experience, she is pro-life, she is a mother of five, including a soldier and Down's Syndrome child, she is a strong proponent of drilling in ANWR, and she is a maverick herself by all accounts, having taken on the corrupt Republican Party in Alaska and won. This just threw a wild card into the race.

This from the Washington Post:

Republican presumptive presidential nominee John McCain has chosen first-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, according to a senior McCain adviser.

Palin, 44, will be the first woman nominated to the ticket by the Republican Party, and is a surprise choice after McCain considered more experienced politicians, including several of his former rivals for the GOP nomination. Palin was elected in 2006, and before that was mayor of tiny Wasilla, population 6,715.

She is a favorite of conservatives, who say she brings a reform-minded agenda and is what one called a "feminist for life.'' She is the mother of five; her youngest child, born in April, has Down's syndrome.

Palin had been before mentioned as a dark-horse candidate for the pick, but speculation in recent days had focused on McCain's primary rival Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, and on Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The choice--to be announced at a noon rally here--was kept secret by the McCain campaign despite a frenzy of speculation from the 24/7 world of cable news and political blogs.

. . . McCain's communications director, Jill Hazelbaker, playfully declined to provide any confirmation Friday morning. Speaking on CBS' "Early Show," she provided only a vague sense of the motivation that has driven McCain's decision. "John McCain is going to make the choice from his heart," she said.

"He's going to choose someone who can be a partner in governing. He's going to choose someone who brings character and principle to the table and who shares his priorities. And I'm confident that he's going to make a great pick."

. . . Karl Rove, President Bush's former top political advisers, said on Fox News that picking Palin would "shake up" the traditional coalitions in both parties. He called Palin a "breath of fresh air," and said picking her would be an indication that McCain is hoping to make a direct appeal to women voters, especially those who voted for Sen. Hillary Clinton, not Sen. Barack Obama, during the Democratic primary.

"It would be a clear sign by the McCain campaign that they would be making a bid" for women voters, Rove said. "In the last 24 hours, we've seen both campaigns refocus themselves in a powerful way on the Hillary Clinton supporters."

One GOP source who said McCain had chosen Palin call it a "stunning pick" and said he was still trying to get his arms around it. The source, who did not want to be named since McCain has not commented publicly, said conservatives will be pleased since she is an anti-abortion Republican.

But he acknowledged that Palin is "not really that well known."

Aides to Obama said they are salivating at the prospect of a Palin pick, readying talking points to question McCain's choice. With 18 months in office, little foreign policy experience -- or experience of any kind -- Palin would be, in the words of one senior Obama adviser, "a gift."

Democratic officials expressed surprise about Palin but predicted that she will make it more difficult for McCain to use one of his central attacks on Obama: that the first-term senator lacks the experience the White House requires.

"He cannot say any more that Barack Obama doesn't have the experience to be commander in chief when he chooses a woman whose signature achievement two years ago was that they won an award from the National Arbor Day Foundation," a Democratic operative said.

Democrats began quickly scouring Palin's past. They pointed out that she had once raised the sales tax to support construction of a recreation center in her city. And they noted that Palin has been accused of improperly using her office to have her ex-brother-in-law fired from his state trooper's job.

"She's under investigation right now," the Democrat said.

Read the entire article. I am amazed that the Obama camp is denigrating her already.

Geraldine Ferrarro was the only other woman ever chosen to run on a major ticket. She is on Fox News at the moment saying that this is a big reach across the aisle to the PUMA folks that Obama just spent the last week trying to bring back into the fold.

And there is this bio from Fox:

Sarah Palin, John McCain’s vice presidential pick and the first female governor of Alaska, is seen as a rising star within the Republican Party.

She became the youngest person to assume the top office of the 49th State in 2006. Her anti-abortion stance is certain to appeal to evangelicals, while her views on the threats of climate change mirror those of Senator McCain.

“Palin is becoming a star in the conservative movement, a fiscal conservative in a state that is looking like a boondoggle for pork barrel spending,” Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway has said. “She’s young, vibrant, fresh and now, and a new mother of five. She should be in the top tier. If the Republican Party wants to wrestle itself free from the perception that it is royalist and not open to putting new talent on the bench, this would be the real opportunity.”

Palin’s presence adds youth to a McCain ticket, but it is her gender that could help sway women, especially the “security moms” who helped President Bush win re-election in 2004, to vote GOP.

Born in Sandpoint, Idaho, on Feb. 11, 1964, Palin moved with her family at the age of three months to Wasilla, Alaska, though she returned to her birth state to attend the University of Idaho, where she studied journalism and graduated in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree.

Palin is the mother of five children — Bristol, Willow, Piper, Track and Trig, who was born in April with Down syndrome.

She grew up in Wasilla, just outside of Anchorage, played on Wasilla’s state champion girls’ basketball team in 1982, wore the crown of Miss Wasilla in 1984 and competed in the Miss Alaska contest.

She began her professional career as a television sports reporter, but after she married her husband, Todd, she helped run his family’s commercial fishing business. Other professional endeavors included the ownership of a snow machine, watercraft and all-terrain-vehicle business.

She ran for Wasilla City Council in 1992, winning her seat by opposing tax increases. Four years later, she was elected mayor of Wasilla at age 32 by knocking off a three-term incumbent.

At the end of her second term, party leaders encouraged her to enter the 2002 race for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. Against veteran legislators with far more experience, Palin finished second by fewer than 2,000 votes, making a name for herself in statewide politics.

Palin had exceptionally high approval ratings through mid-2007 and received high marks for her accessibility, a change from Frank Murkowski’s administration.

My hats off to McCain. I was hoping he would make a bold pick. This certainly foots the bill. I was going to write an analysis of this, but I think Ed Morissey has done a better job than I can do on this one. This is his take on it all at Hot Air:

. . . Palin has served less than two years as Governor of Alaska, which tends to eat into the experience message on which McCain has relied thus far. At 44, she’s younger than Barack Obama by three years. She has served as a mayor and as the Ethics Commissioner on the state board regulating oil and natural gas, for a total of eight years political experience before her election as governor. That’s also less than Obama has, with seven years in the Illinois legislature and three in the US Senate.

However, the nature of the experience couldn’t be more different. Palin spent her entire political career crusading against the political machine that rules Alaska — which exists in her own Republican party. She blew the whistle on the state GOP chair, who had abused his power on the same commission to conduct party business. Obama, in contrast, talked a great deal about reform in Chicago but never challenged the party machine, preferring to take an easy ride as a protegĂ© of Richard Daley instead.

Palin has no formal foreign-policy experience, which puts her at a disadvantage to Joe Biden. However, in nineteen months as governor, she certainly has had more practical experience in diplomacy than Biden or Obama have ever seen. She runs the only American state bordered only by two foreign countries, one of which has increasingly grown hostile to the US again, Russia.

And let’s face it — Team Obama can hardly attack Palin for a lack of foreign-policy experience. Obama has none at all, and neither Obama or Biden have any executive experience. Palin has almost over seven years of executive experience.

Politically, this puts Obama in a very tough position. The Democrats had prepared to launch a full assault on McCain’s running mate, but having Palin as a target creates one large headache. If they go after her like they went after Hillary Clinton, Obama risks alienating women all over again. If they don’t go after her like they went after Hillary, he risks alienating Hillary supporters, who will see this as a sign of disrespect for Hillary.

For McCain, this gives him a boost like no other in several different ways. First, the media will eat this up. That effectively buries Obama’s acceptance speech and steals the oxygen he needs for a long-term convention bump. A Romney or Pawlenty pick would not have accomplished that.

Second, Palin will re-energize the base. She’s not just a pro-life advocate, she’s lived the issue herself. That will attract the elements of the GOP that had held McCain at a distance since the primaries and provide positive motivation for Republicans, rather than just rely on anti-Democrat sentiment to get them to the polls.

Third, and I think maybe most importantly, Palin addresses the energy issue better and more attuned to the American electorate than maybe any of the other three principals in this election. Even beyond her efforts to reform the Oil and Natural Gas Commission, she has demonstrated her independence from so-called “Big Oil” while promoting domestic production. She brings instant credibility to the ticket on energy policy, and reminds independents and centrists that the Obama-Biden ticket offers nothing but the same excuses we’ve heard for 30 years.

Finally, based on all of the above, McCain can remind voters who has the real record of reform. Obama talks a lot about it but has no actual record of reform, and for a running mate, he chose a 35-year Washington insider with all sorts of connections to lobbyists and pork. McCain has fought pork, taken real political risks to fight undue influence of lobbyists, and he picked an outsider who took on her own party — and won.

This is change you can believe in, and not change that amounts to all talk. McCain changed the trajectory of the race today by stealing Obama’s strength and turning it against him. Obama provided that opening by picking Biden as his running mate, and McCain was smart enough to take advantage of the opening.


vinny said...

2008: John and Sarah against the Obaminator.

About experience. What experience does BHO bring? Was he successful in any of his civic ventures? The housing development he was associated with is a disgraceful slum falling apart. The attempt improve Chicago education was a failure,... Contrast that to Sarah's achievements in her term at governance. Successfull mayor, lead to her election as Governor. High marks for her terms in office. Being young is not the same as being an underachiever. As far as senators go I would categorize Biden long tenure as lackluster and I what has he achieved other than warm his sentate bench.

Peter Horne said...

I she any relation to Michael? Is she familiar with the life-cycle and habits of the Norwegian Blue?

If so, she's OK with me.