Friday, August 29, 2008

Hurray for Sarah Palin and Alaska

Strange surges of emotion came over me today after hearing of Sen. John McCain's selection of Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential candidate. Only the evening before had I realized that Ms. Palin--the Governor of the state where I was born and grew up--was a serious contender. I was overjoyed when I read of the selection. Given the present political climate, joy over anything political is not a common emotion for me.

Gov. Palin has made a mark by fighting corruption in high places. She has even taken on Sen. Ted Stevens, a forty-year veteran of Alaska politics and a fellow republican. (I went to school with his son and my father knew him.) She took on the political establishment and beat a long-time politician in the race for governor. Her approval ratings in Alaska are in the stratosphere, and Alaskans are not easy to please. They are independent, tough, and carry with them a frontier spirit. Many living Alaskans, such as my mother, can remember living in Alaska when it was not a state, but a territory. I was born in the territory of Alaska on January 3, 1957--two years to the day before "the battle for statehood" was won. Alaskans were thrilled to join the union as the forty-ninth state.

Gov. Palin is not a Washington insider, but a leader who felt a call to service where she lived, "the last frontier." She was known as "Sarah Barracuda" on her high school basketball team (because of ther tenacity), but also became Miss Wasilla and was named Miss Congeniality. Quite a combination, that. She is ardently pro-life and recently gave birth to a Downs baby, whom she never considered aborting. Sadly, 80% of Downs children are now aborted, a sad testimony to our culture of preference. It is a near genocide in the name of designer children. But the Palins showed the character to support and celebrate their offspring, who joins four previous siblings in the land of living. The Palins are Christians, who believe that all humans--born and unborn--are made in God's image and likeness and are, therefore, of unique worth and have a right to life.

Sen. McCain benefits greatly from this choice, since Ms. Palin is a fiscal conservative, pro-life, young, attractive, and articulate. Unlike Sen. Obama, she has executive experience and got to where she is by fighting corruption instead of being part of a notoriously corrupt political machine. (On this, see David Fredosso's book, The Case Against Barack Obama.) While some may dismiss her as a new governor of a sparsely populated state, Alaska is not easy to govern and Gov. Palin has started very well. It is geographically the largest state in the union (sorry Texans), suffers from extreme weather conditions, and is far removed from the contiguous 48 states. And as I said, Alaskans are a spirited lot.

So, if I may wax a bit autobiographical and even emotive (having now lost half my readers), why was I so moved at hearing John McCain introduce Gov. Palin? I was surprised that I wiping away tears as I listened to the radio as I was driving to school. I was proud that a fellow Alaskan, fellow conservative, fellow pro-life, fellow fiscally conservative woman (elected to office, not appointed by affirmative action) had attained this position of significance.

Hurray for Governor Sarah Palin, Senator John McCain, and for Alaska!

Here is a June, 2007, article on Governor Palin by Fred Barnes.


Darrell said...

McCain has just made the best move of his entire campaign.

This pretty much sums it up for me

Jim Jordan said...

I went from planning to sit out this campaign, to planning to offer my time to work on it. McCain's choice has restored my faith in the system.

Anonymous said...

She certainly put new life into McCain's campaign and took some life out of Obama's. Finally, a politician with competency, common sense, substance, and grit! Yea!

Heath Countryman said...

I was there today. It was electric. I am not going to go gaga quite yet, but I am cautiously optimistic about the election for the first time since Huckabee went down...

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...


I heard it on the radio and it sounded quite electric. We must avoid political idolatry, but this is something to be enthusiastic about, as far as I can tell!

James Manuel said...

I share your joy, though not to the degree that you as an Alaskan do. I was preparing to be happy with Romney or Pawlenty, but when she was confirmed as his pick I was ecstatic! I can think of no better pick! Hearing the Obamamaniacs try to make a comparison between her inexperience and Obama's is laughable at best. To me, this pick really makes Obama's pick of Biden look foolish and uncharacteristic of the "change" he so vainly touts.
I've been saying since February that I will grudgingly be voting AGAINST Obama rather than FOR McCain, but now, for the first time, I am actually excited to cast my vote for this ticket!

McCain/Palin '08!

Adam Omelianchuk said...

Doug, when I heard that she had Down syndrome baby, I was very encouraged. Some experts believe that it is up to 90% of Down fetuses are aborted.

I was inspired to post a final paper about the topic here if you are interested:

The Brooks said...

Sarah Palin does have admirable qualities but her experience is dismal.

Two years as governor of Alaska? Two terms as a city council member of Wasilia? Former mayor of Wasilia (population of 5,000)?

How does this qualify her to lead? She has no experience in the Beltway.

By choosing Palin, the GOP might pick up some disaffected Hillary votes but they've lost the ability to criticize Obama for his lack of experience.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Mr. Brooks,

This depends on what you consider to be sufficient experience.

2) As governor, Palin has had executive experience where she made decisions every day that affected the entire state. At no time does a governor have the option to vote "present" in the issues she has decided to attend to that week.

3) She has a record of being a principled leader, a clearly spoken activist for objecively good causes, while Obama stands firmly for very little and has used the "present" vote routinely to solidify this point.

4) "Experience in the Beltway" is
not necessarily a good thing.

5) Obama's experience is called into question for the office of the President of the United States, while Palin's experience is (unjustly) called into question regarding the office of Vice President. These two complaints, one of which is accurate, do not bear the same weight.

9:33 AM

Anonymous said...

Note of minimal importance: I deleted premise number one, and then regretfully neglected to update the following numbers accordingly.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

People are already starting to bash Alaska, as if its small numbers and remote location mean that governing it is simple and irrelevant to federal leadership. No. It has complex and unique problems. Governing it marks achievement that is applicable to other realms.

A savvy Alaskan civil servant may be just what incestuous and solipsistic Wasthington DC needs.

James Manuel said...

In discussions of the Presidency, which level of experience is more impressive and relvant:
1) The only governor (a.k.a., executive) of an entire state on the BOTTOM of a ticket, or
2) One of many senators of a state at the TOP of the ticket?

I'll take #1.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...


Good chop!

pgepps said...

This is encouraging news, indeed. Mark me as another who may have just found a reason to like McCain (and not simply oppose Obama).

Jerry said...

I have heard some folks say: "But, she has no foreign policy experience."

I pose a couple of historic examples:

1) Jimmy Carter: Zero foreign policy experience. He made our country an international joke.

2) Ronald Reagan: Zero foreign policy experience. He restored America's position in the world and brought down the Soviet Union.

Folks, it isn't about experience, it is about CHARACTER. Unless I am mistaken, this is something that Sarah Palin has in abundance.

Bill said...

James, there are only two U.S. senators per state, not "many." Either Obama is one of two and Palin is one of one. Or Obama is one of 100 and Palin is one of 50--to make your comparison accurate.

But I do agree with you that Palin makes Biden look underwhelming. I think it's great the way Palin has energized the Republican party and campaign, and I wish Obama would have picked someone that could have done the same for his ticket. Biden was a safe and politically solid choice, but it would have been better if he would have picked someone more in line with his change rhetoric.

Jerry, well said. Two more examples would be W. Bush had no foreign policy experience (Bush is a joke) and neither did Clinton (solid, but unspectacular).

Doug, I hope that people aren't bashing Alaska. But considering McCain's age and health, it's reasonable to ask if governing a state 8% the size of New York City for 2 years is sufficient experience for such a high post, just as it is reasonable to ask the same questions of Obama. I agree with Jerry that we should focus more on character and issues than experience. But I don't think it's unfair to ask the experience questions about Palin--it will be great to see how she responds to them.

Also, every state has unique and complex problems, including Alaska. I don't think governing any state is easy.

James Manuel said...

when I said "one of many," I was referring to Obama's time in the Illinois senate, since that would be the bulk of his experience.

My apologies for not clarifying that!

a said...

Most importantly, she's not some educated elite. She probably has an MOD.

Kyl Schalk said...

I mentioned before that I’m from Alaska (born and lived in Fairbanks for 18 years). It is fascinating to hear about Palin! Someday we might be able to say “Although it is not like this anymore, there used to be a time when some people thought it was extreme to say that killing an unborn child (for elective reasons) is unjustified homicide.”

Bill said...

James, I am really not trying to mix it up with you, but in fairness you'd have to say Palin is one of my many mayors then--since that is a bulk of her experience. She has only been governor for two years but was a major for six.

Again, not trying to be difficult, just fair to both candidates. Enjoy the holiday weekend.

James Manuel said...

Fair enough. I believe my point still stands, though. And I'm not sure your analogy to being one of many governors/mayors is entirely analagous to Obama's experience. She was/is the only mayor/governor of HER city/state. Obama has not been the chief executive of anything. Which was my point to begin with: Limited executive experience at the bottom of the ticket is better than comparable (quantitatively) senatorial experience at the top.

P.S. Not trying to stir the pot with you, either. Just trying to make a point! Thanks for the fairness!