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Palin, an Interesting Choice

This commentary is the opinion of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of other authors at this site.

Timothy Kincaid

August 29th, 2008

Sarah Palin is a fascinating vice-presidential selection for John McCain.

The Governor of Alaska, a state that is both unneeded in the electoral college and one certain to vote Republican in any case, Palin has neither the experience nor the political connections to influence other states. But she is both a maverick and acceptable to conservatives.

Palin has not yet had time to illustrate either dogmatism or generosity to the gay community, but what little we know about her does give some glimmer of encouragement.

In October 2005, the Supreme Court of the state of Alaska unanimously determined that gay state employees should have the same spousal benefits as those in opposite sex relationships. The governor, Frank Murkowski, refused to implement the change.

When Palin was elected, she indicated a willingness to comply. The legislature pass a bill which would ban the implementation of the benefits, which Palin vetoed, effectively establishing the provision of benefits. There is more to this story, including a vote, but I’m having a bit of difficultly finding it and I am limited on time this morning.

Palin is opposed to gay marriage but she has stated that she has personal relationships with gay people whom she counts as friends. It’s difficult to say with certainty, but from the perspective of our community, Palin may have been the best choice of all the candidates on McCain’s short list.

Comments

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KipEsquire
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

More like an utterly irrelevant choice, unless gays expect any tie votes in the Senate.

Duncan
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

Actually, given McCain’s age, his pick of successor is of real importance.
It sounds to me like she reflects national opinion on this particular matter, and is probably the best that can be hoped for from a mainstream Republican.

Rick Brentlinger
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

I agree with you that Governor Palin is an interesting choice and probably the best choice the gay community could hope for.

Still, I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach at the thought of voting for either McCain or Obama. Both men impress me as the evil of two lessers.

Our choices are discouragingly limited in this Presidential election.

Rick Brentlinger

Fiona
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

You might want to check out some info Pam has over at Pam’s House Blend. I don’t think she is a good choice for us at all.

http://www.pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=6732

Samantha Davis
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

I’ll bet this was a move to attract the Hillary voters away from Obama.

Priya Lynn
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

Timothy said “When Palin was elected, she indicated a willingness to comply. The legislature pass a bill which would ban the implementation of the benefits, which Palin vetoed, effectively establishing the provision of benefits.”.

She did that only after the Alaska Supreme Court had ruled the opposite and her AG had told her the law was unconstitutional. This can hardly be considered a pro-gay act.

Priya Lynn
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

- Palin told the Anchorage Daily News that she supported the 1998 constitutional amendment on marriage.

– In addition, she told the Daily News that she would support a ballot question that would deny benefits to the domestic partners of public employees, which were ordered by an October 2005 decision of the Alaska Supreme Court, because, she said “honoring the family structure is that important.” http://dwb.adn.com/news/politics/elections/governor06/story/8049298p-7942233c.html

Norm!
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

Haven’t all anti-gay politicians claimed to have gay friends?

With potentionally the oldest president ever who has had health issues, I can’t imagine how Palin makes a good choice for likely command in chief upon closer examination. She has only been governor of the third-smallest state for less than two years. Her longest elected leadership experience was as mayor of a small, suburban, strip-mall town of less than 6,000.

Like when Bush, Jr. tried to nominate underqualified Harriet Miers to replace Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, McCain seems to be using the Republican tactic of appointing any woman/minority regardless of qualification. If I were a woman, I would be a little offended by the blantant pandering. Palin is certainly not comparable to Hillary Clinton and more comparable to Mondale’s Geraldine Ferraro choice.

Rick Brentlinger
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

“She has only been governor of the third-smallest state for less than two years. Her longest elected leadership experience was as mayor of a small, suburban, strip-mall town of less than 6,000.”

True Norm but she at least has that executive experience plus executive experience as governor of Alaska.

Obama on the other hand, had about 143 days of experience as a United States Senator when he began his campaign for President.

He has no executive experience, no foreign policy experience. He has never started or run a company, never hired or managed employees or met a payroll.

If experience is the standard, Senator Obama has less experience than Governor Palin.

Rick Brentlinger

Jason D
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

Rick, that’s not entirely true.

Obama was the director of the Developing Communities Project from 85 to 88. Director is an executive level position.

At Harvard he was president of the Law Review, a full time position functioning both as editor-in-chief and overseeing a staff of 80-people.

Obama was also the director of Project Vote, overseeing a staff of 10 as well as over 700 volunteers.

Obama was also a founding member of Public Allies (and served on the board) as well as serving on the board of directors of Woods Fund of Chicago, the Joyce Foundation, and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge(1995-1999).

So while Obama may not have fun a for-profit company he has definitely had executive-level experience, and if we count the number of years it’s well over what Palin has had.

Samantha Davis
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

Also, remember that “my opponent lacks experience” isn’t exactly Obama’s catchphrase. In other words, Obama doesn’t exactly have to have more experience that Palin because he’s not claiming that he does. However, with the blatant inexperience of Palin it makes it hard for McCain or his supporting 521s to play the inexperience card.

Richard Rush
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

People seem to be overlooking huge areas of Obama’s relevant experience. He has arrived at this point through the experience of developing his ideas, intellect, leadership qualities, empathy, and oratorical skills. He is the CEO of a campaign organization that has, so far, been nearly flawless, up to and including the VP selection. And he didn’t have the benefit of being someone’s spouse or son.

GWB, in contrast, now has nearly eight years of experience as president. If he were able to serve a third term, surely he would continue to be the most incompetent president of my lifetime (and I remember watching the convention where Eisenhower was nominated the first time).

Palin clearly has far less experience than Obama. She has simply been plucked out of obscurity. Becoming a governor is an achievement, but in this case it seems more akin to being the mayor of a medium size city.

For the first time in my life I am energized by the opportunity we have to elect a president who, in my opinion, will be truly extraordinary.

L. Junius Brutus
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

She’s a maverick? I guess that if the term has become so debased that John McCain is one, she would be one too.

Timothy Kincaid
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

L. Junius Brutus,

She’s considered a maverick not so much for her political positions but for her willingness to take on the establishment. She made her name by attacking the political corruption and run-away spending of the good-ol’-boy Republicans in Alaska. She ran against an incumbent Governor in the primary, something that is fairly unusual.

a. mcewen
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

AND is under investigation herself regarding allegedly using her office in a supposed vendetta against her brother-in-law.

So a person who has been in Gubernatorial office for under two-years with no experience on national security and who is also facing an ethics investigation is McCain’s choice for vice president.

That brings to mind two things –

1. choosing her was a maverick decision only in the sense that it’s a desperate attempt to appeal to “conservative” voters and take away Hilary supporters from Obama.

2. Just imagine what would have happened had Obama made a choice like that. Something to think about when one considers how the media is in this country.

John
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

Good luck with that one, amcewen. You are overlooking some interesting facts about her ex bro-in-law’s behavior:

he Tasered his 11-year-old kid, he drove drunk in a patrol car, he shot a cow moose out of season

Seems there is far more to this story than what you imply here…

John
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

Oh and as for national security experience, neither Obama or Biden served in the military themselves, like McCain did. True, Palin didn’t either but unlike both Dem candidates as guv she not only has executive experience but she is head of the Alaska National Guard. Is that thin? You betcha but it’s more than the Dem candidates have on their resumes and let’s not forget that this was exactly what then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton used in 92 to counter George H. W. Bush’s military experience. Even better, Palin visited wounded troops in Germany this past summer while Obama was just too damn busy. How do you think that’s gonna play with your Bubba Joe voter? Not very well.

a. mcewen
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

John,

IF these things took place, there are proper channels to take care of that. If she used her the powers of her office against her brother-in-law, it says a lot about her judgement.

And I can’t believe that you are going to pull the POW card. McCain served our country well but his choice of Palin does speak to his judgement to be president. And I know you aren’t going to repeat that discredited story about Obama being “too busy” to visit the troops.

Jim Burroway
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

To say that from the perspective of LGBT issues that Palin was “the best choice of all the candidates on McCain’s short list” is extremely faint praise indeed. If I had written it, it’d be a very droll comment ;-)

I wouldn’t draw any encouragement whatsoever from Palin’s vetoing the bill barring domestic partner benefits, which the legislature passed in defiance of the Supreme Ct. She was told by the state’s Dept. of Law that the bill was unconstitutional. Days later:

Palin signed another bill that called for a “statewide advisory vote” regarding the ruling from Alaska’s high court, saying in a statement, “We may disagree with the rationale behind the ruling, but our responsibility is to proceed forward with the law and follow the Constitution… I disagree with the recent court decision because I feel as though Alaskans spoke on this issue with its overwhelming support for a Constitutional Amendment in 1998 which defined marriage as between a man and woman. But the Supreme Court has spoken and the state will abide.”

You don’t get points for complying with a court order and turning around and calling for a vote to voice statewide opposition to the court ruling. In fact, that’s negative points in my view.

tristram
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

As I’m typing this, on CNN Tony Perkins is lauding McCain’s choice of Palin. The AFA and FRC are ecstatic about her. I have not yet heard Mr. Dobson’s pronouncement on the matter, but I’ll bet this prompts him to provide the anointment that McCain so dearly covets.

homer
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

Do any of the pro-McCain commenters think that Ms. Palin is ready to be president if John McCain were to pull a Harrison and die after a month in office? If you say yes, you must think the presidency is the easiest job in the world.

This whole experience question is just plain stupid. Obama ran a National campaign against an extremely strong opponent and won. Obviously he has excellent leadership skills and has an excellent team of advisors.

Jim Burroway
August 30th, 2008 | LINK

Palin and “Christian Heritage”, right here. I see nothing good coming from this.

Regan DuCasse
August 30th, 2008 | LINK

Tokenism is as tokenism does. McCain picked the female hottie with a brood of children to try and garner the pro-life, women’s vote.

At least calling BO on lack of experience isn’t a card McCain can play anymore.
Wasn’t it early polling of citizens of Islamic countries who themselves related better to BO than to any other Presidential candidate so far?

All these moralizing, value voting conservatives that all of a sudden, don’t see McCain the adulterer who abandoned his wife for a rich, young woman as a deal breaker, get on my last nerve.

This is the LONGEST campaign I’ve ever seen in my life!
I want this to be so over already!

Timothy Kincaid
August 30th, 2008 | LINK

Other than the historical inaccuracy of the silly resolution, I’ve no problem with recognizing Christian heritage, provided other cultural recognition takes place. I also don’t have a problem when a governor recognizes gay pride festivals.

tristram
August 30th, 2008 | LINK

JAMES DOBSON APPROVES – re my earlier post, it didn’t take long to get a pretty clear answer:

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, who initially said he could not vote for McCain but has since opened the door to an endorsement, called Palin “an outstanding choice that should be extremely reassuring to the conservative base” of the GOP. Dobson added that the ticket “gives us confidence he will keep his pledges to voters regarding the kinds of justices he would nominate to the Supreme Court.”

“It’s an absolutely brilliant choice,” said Mathew Staver, dean of Liberty University School of Law. “This will absolutely energize McCain’s campaign and energize conservatives.”

Jason D
August 30th, 2008 | LINK

John, you missed my post earlier.

(1)Obama does have executive experience, in fact, more than Palin does. It just wasn’t executive experience as a lawmaker or at a for-profit institution. He was president of the Law Review at Harvard, and was a director, or on the board of directors of many organizations for years before becoming a state senator. It’s dishonest to say he’s never had any executive experience. The amount of executive experience isn’t the only thing that counts any way, after all, Bush had plenty of executive experience — unfortunately he ran virtually every company into the ground and had to be bailed out. Perhaps Obama’s experience is not the type you value, but it’s not the same as zero experience.

Even better, Palin visited wounded troops in Germany this past summer while Obama was just too damn busy. How do you think that’s gonna play with your Bubba Joe voter? Not very well.

2) You’re ignoring the fact that Obama visited troops in afghanistan and iraq — and just as Palin was visiting in her capacity as governor, Obama was visiting in his capacity as a senator. The germany visit was part of his campaign travels, funded by him, not by the taxpayers and thus, is subject to completely different set of rules. If he had visited the troops in Germany, I’m sure someone would be saying that he used his senate credentials during his campaign tour to visit troops –implying something unethical on Obama’s part. Get off the troops thing, Palin and Obama have both visited troops, they’re equal on that part.

Oh and as for national security experience, neither Obama or Biden served in the military themselves, like McCain did.

(3)McCain served in the military. He spent a whopping 20 hours in combat the whole war, graduated almost last in his class (790 out of 795) at the naval academy, and never lead a combat or peace time unit. But you seem to be implying that being in the military somehow would make someone better at running it. Perhaps, or perhaps not.

We get it, you don’t like Obama, you’re not voting for him. It’s a free country, do as you please. However, don’t present incomplete details unless you want to be called on them.

Charles
August 30th, 2008 | LINK

Palin is an interesting choice. By tapping Palin she is now on the national stage. She is a fresh face. A Washington outsider. I am willing to listen before I pass my judgment on her.

Samantha Davis
August 30th, 2008 | LINK

Charles,

In the mean time I’ll check out her background from Alaska and make my judgment from that.

Swampfox
August 30th, 2008 | LINK

Samantha, that is fair enough. We all need to examine her statements and what she has done. I will have to admit that I just can’t get beyond Obama belonging to the church which he was a member for so long. If it was anyone but Obama, being a member of such a church would have been enough to end his/her candidacy.

John
September 1st, 2008 | LINK

Jason: I was going to respond to each of your points individually, until I saw the completely despicable crap coming from liberals about Palin’s daughter and infant. That’s about the most vile thing I can think of that would get you shot even today in many of those fly-over states the Libs don’t give a crap about. I’m not feeling very friendly at all towards folks on your side at the moment, so let’s leave this at we disagree. See you at the polls in November.

Johno
September 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Oh please, John, generalize much? What would have been the right-wing reaction if this were Obama or Biden’s grandchild? A dozen times louder and more hateful, as usual. I like the thought in another thread, politics makes hypocrites of us all. And as far as I am aware, it is the right wing NYPost and Fox news who have already got shots of the baby’s father for mass circulation.

John
September 2nd, 2008 | LINK

No, Johno, this erupted because of sleazebags on the Left from places like Daily Kos with their gross accusations that Trig Palin was Bristol’s and their Mom lied to protect her daughter. This whole mess was repugnant and trying to make moral equivalencies when none exist on this score is pathetic. The pregnancy of Bristol isn’t even an issue, all of us know someone this has happened to and if the Right had said anything, it would have been kudos for keeping the baby. I give credit to Obama for backing away from this right away, but the twisted freaks that support him are beneath contempt and NOT what I want to see in office. It wasn’t even just Daily Kos as you damned well know. No, it’s all over the lefty blogs and media outlets, including one liberal blog I used to respect like Citizen Crain.

As far as I’m concerned the civil war amongst the cons in the GOP is on hold while we keep you slimey bastards out of office.

Jason D
September 2nd, 2008 | LINK

“I give credit to Obama for backing away from this right away, but the twisted freaks that support him are beneath contempt and NOT what I want to see in office.”

That’s some hefty logic there. Obama can’t be elected not because he isn’t qualified, not because he has poor plans or stands incorrectly on issues you support, no he must not be elected because SOME (note that word, you should use it more often) of the people who support him are saying awful things.

Excuse me, if obama can be condemned by Daily Kos, then John, McCain is in even more trouble due to the Freepers. There is NOTHING but venom at that site. They don’t even pretend to be fair and balanced.

“As far as I’m concerned the civil war amongst the cons in the GOP is on hold while we keep you slimey bastards out of office.”

Gross generalizations help no one.

And by your own admission, Obama (who IS running for office) is not the one making these slimey comments. It is SOME of his supporters (who are not running for office).

Holding Obama liable for the actions of his supporters is JUST as stupid as holding Sarah Palin responsible for the actions of her daughter.
What exactly is Obama supposed to do, lock them up, ground them, send them to bed without dinner? What possible control does he have over these people?

I know you don’t like Obama, we’ve agreed to disagree on that. But I’m a liberal and an Obama supporter. You don’t know me, I am not a twisted freak, or a slimey bastard. You can check my blog, linked above, I’ve said nothing about Palin or her daughter. Hell I’ve barely mentioned the election until recently.

If you don’t like being painted with a broad brush, don’t do it to other people.

Timothy Kincaid
September 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Gentlemen,

NO MORE PERSONAL INSULTS!!

They will be deleted.

Priya Lynn
September 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Jason D didn’t insult anyone.

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