Unlike many people commenting on the choice of Sarah Palin to be McCain’s VP (and the choice of Joe Biden before her to join Obama on the Democratic ticket), I have the unusual perspective of actually having been chosen to be on the second spot on a political ticket (see my previous post – Second Slots and Conventions).
I was the Green Party candidate for Lt. Governor in Massachusetts in 2002. I learned two things during that campaign that put together scared the heck out of me. The first was there’s a reason people run for and hold offices such as City Councilor and State Representative before seeking offices such as say, Lt. Governor and Governor. Experience matters and helps. The second was that, cripes, no other Lt. Governor candidate had ever held elective office before either and I was arguably actually the best candidate – although perpetual Democratic candidate Chris Gabrieli is nice man and no slouch and would probably make an excelent public servant should he get elected to office someday. The real benefit of experience was in campaigning, networking and fundraising and knowing how to run for office. You build a base of support and run on it, along with a record.
The policy stuff any intelligent, caring person could learn. It’s not easy on some things, but you can learn it. The difficulty of actually governing can get anyone, note Deval Patrick’s tough Freshman year back in Massachusetts.
What amazed me the most was that I went into the campaign with a genuine and somewhat naive respect for public officials because they were public officials. Then I met them, Mayors, State Representatives and State Senators at events while campaigning and over and over my thought was: these people are actually running the state! They were just ordinary folks. Some smart, some not so, some very not so. Some well intentioned and some using their power for its own sake to promote a narrow set of ideas that fit an idealogical template, sort of like, well Sarah Palin.
I’m going to have a hard time believing too many people reading the Sunflower Chalice are sold on Sarah Palin, but just in case, let’s clear a few things up. I really don’t care that her daughter’s pregnant. What ticks me off is that Republicans now think it’s no big deal that an underage teen girl is pregnant because it’s one of their own. If this was some unknown teen girl of color, the same people would be screaming bloody murder about irresponsible parenting. It’s also more than telling that Palin, an advocate of abstinence only sex education, has a pregnant teen daughter. Looks like that abstinence only approach doesn’t work, but we could have told you that.
Here are some interesting bits from around the web on Palin. They are not attack pieces, they just lay out they hypocricy of her candidacy that the Republicans are going to have to deal with, or continue to ignore:
Some commentators actually compared Palin to Norma Rae (that’s funny enough in itself), but really.
Jon Stewart at the Daily Show ran a scathing piece where he played clips of Karl Rove claiming a Democratic Governor who was mayor of a 200,000 person city wasn’t qualified to be president and then notes Palin’s Mayorship of a 9,000 person city qualifies her. This is followed by Bill O’Rielly demonizing a teen celebrity for an underage pregnancy and blaming it on the girl’s parents, but then sloughing off the same situation in the Palin family, etc.
UU blog award winner Sisyphus compares Palin to Spiro Agnew:
So who is Sara Palin? Is she the new Spiro Agnew? Agnew served four years as a county executive and two years as Governor of Maryland before Richard Nixon named him as his running mate in 1968. Agnew served Nixon as his hatchet man belittling critics before being forced to resign as part of a “no contest” plea to criminal charges arising from his tenure as governor. Agnew was famous for rightwing populist attacks on the so-called liberal media and liberal elite who, according to his script, were somehow un-American.