Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin - A good choice.

As I said earlier, here's more...

Why is she a good choice? Well, there is no question about her conservative credentials:
  1. Pro-life.
  2. Pro-gun.
  3. When she takes an oath to uphold the constitution, she takes it seriously (she vetoed a bill that would have banned Alaska from granting same-sex partner benefits - even though she supported it - because it would have violated the state constitution).
  4. She has a long history of rooting out corruption in government - regardless of party.
  5. Cuts spending (including her own salary), and works to balance the budget.
All of this is public record, and easily available for all to see.

What about weak points?

Many are criticizing her selection saying she "lacks experience" and that it invalidates McCain's criticism of Obama's lack of experience. After all, she'll be "only a heartbeat away from the presidency." But there are several reasons this is a false argument.

She has four years experience on the Wasilla city council, and seven years as the mayor. She has nearly two years experience as the governor of Alaska. While Alaska is one of the most sparsely populated states, this is still more experience in an executive position than Obama can lay claim to (without even counting her time as mayor of Wasilla). In addition is something I never considered until I read a very insightful comment by Straightarrow over at SayUncle.

Given the sheer size of Alaska and its low population density, it would be much more difficult to run than other states. Wyoming still has the lowest population density of any state in the union, but nowhere near the vast distances between population centers. Services and infrastucture demands in Alaska will prove the mettle of an executive or reveal them to be unsuited for the task.

A person competent to administer any other state could still be in over his/her head in Alaska. With Palin’s record of success to this point in the toughest laboratory of leadership in the country I find it amazing that some are so dismissive of the talent and character it takes to perform well in that laboratory.

Think about it. It's not really obvious until you do. How much infrastructure goes into something as basic as maintining the roads in a state like Alaska? Harsh winters, permafrost, limited resources, and roads that go through countless miles of wilderness. Then there's the harbors, which are essential to maintaining civilization in Alaska. Ice buildup on any harbor structures has to be a constant problem, and repairs are probably only possible in the short summers. It has to be done right the first time. Now imagine you have to do all of this with a limited tax base (i.e. a small population), and all the materials - especially fuel - are significantly more expensive than in more populous states, and if those harbors and roads shut down - either because of damage or weather - you can't get any more materials to fix them until they reopen.

Obama has nothing even close to this level of experience. He's been a legislator for almost all of his career, with no government executive experience.

Oh, and lets not forget the fact that she's running for vice-president, while he's running for the real thing. I think it's just a little more important for him to be experienced than for her.

The Public Safety Commissioner dismissal "scandal."

This is probably the greatest "weakness" that she has, and it's not much if you look at the actual facts.

As of August 29, 2008, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is being investigated by an independent investigator hired by the legislature to determine whether she abused her power when she fired Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan.
On July 11, 2008, Palin dismissed Monegan and instead offered him a position as executive director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which he turned down. Her power to fire him is not in dispute. But Monegan alleged that his dismissal may have been an abuse of power tied to his reluctance to fire Palin's former brother-in law, an Alaska State Trooper, Mike Wooten, who had been involved in a divorce and child custody battle with Palin's sister, Molly McCann.
Hmm. Okay, using your position as governor to try to get your ex-brother-in-law fired, as some sort of payback for a custody battle, sounds pretty bad. If that was all it was. Let's read on.

In 2006, before Palin was governor, Wooten was suspended for 10 days for threatening to kill McCann's (and Palin's) father, tasering his 11-year-old stepson, drinking beer in his squad car, and violating game laws. After a union protest, the suspension was reduced to five days.
You know, even if this guy wasn't my sister's ex, even if I'd never met him before in my life, I would want to know just why the heck he wasn't in a jail cell somewhere, never mind why he still had a badge. A five day suspension? That's just plain ridiculous!

Of course, there's also the question of whether or not she even knew at the time that the whole "abuse of power" was even happening.

Palin acknowledged that there were a number of calls from her office on the matter, and that in one of these Frank Bailey, a member of her administration, mentioned "a family tie with the Governor there" and said "we don't know why this guy is still working." Both Palin and Bailey say that happened without her knowledge and was unrelated to her dismissal of Monegan, and Bailey was put on leave for two months for acting outside the scope of his authority as the Director of Boards and Commissions.
Bailey is either a really loyal politico, or she really didn't know what he was doing until afterwards and got mad. But frankly, any governor's staffer who doesn't look into why a trooper like Wooten hasn't been fired isn't doing his job, regardless of any relationship to the governor. The difference here is that it was probably that same relationship that brought it to their attention.

Frankly, McCain didn't pick her to lure the die-hard "Hillary" democrats to him, or because he thought the hard-core feminists would vote for him just because she's a woman (from what I've seen on the 'net, they hate her more than him - she's a woman on "all the wrong sides of women's issues" - basically a traitor in their minds). He picked her because she has a strong appeal to his conservative core constituents, and her strengths serve to lure the conservative leaning undecided to vote for him. The fact that she is a woman will be a draw for the middle leaning "Hillary" crowd too, but that's really just a bonus.

1 comment:

straightarrow said...

thanks for the kind words.