Palin Comparison

If she's unready, what on earth is Obama?

In what must rank as one of the slickest schemes of political timing and thunder-stealing of recent years, John McCain managed to overshadow Obama's Speech of a Lifetime through adroit manipulation of the Washington rumor mill concerning his choice of vice-presidential running-mate.  Then, when whiplash and speculation were at a fever pitch, he made all the pundit's heads explode by anointing... the Alaskan lady governor and ex-beauty-queen, Sarah Palin.

Sarah who?  Until last week, nobody had ever heard of her.  One look at her rather un-politician-like photo, and the mainstream media jumped in a single bound to the conclusion that she was there purely as an affirmative-action hire to try to appeal to disillusioned Hillary voters.

If that were the only reason, it wouldn't be a bad one.  With Obama and McCain basically tied in the polls, and the number of Hillary voters who refuse to support Obama not shrinking but growing, collected even a quarter of them will win McCain the White House.  If Paris is worth a mass, surely the Oval Office is worth an unorthodox veep pick.

As a weekend's panicked research reveals, however, Sarah Palin is not just a pretty face.  She is the popular governor of America's largest state.

What's more, though small in population, Alaska has an outsize economic influence as America's major source of domestic oil: in a time when oil prices are the number one issue, she has experience in both negotiating with and regulating the oil companies that supply that need.  When environmentalists bleat of the inevitable despoliation of pristine wilderness that comes from oil exploitation, Gov. Palin is able to reveal their lies.  As Governor, she bears the political responsibility for any disasters; it's been her job to ensure that operations are conducted in a safe and clean way.

The Democrats are already casting her as close to oil interests.  Perfect!  That's just what we need at the top, as our economy runs on oil and we need as much of it as we can get.

Every time a Democratic ad complains of this link, it reminds Americans of exactly which party it is that does not want us to have the oil we need.

Throughout his campaign (and, really, his career), conservatives have viewed McCain with respect for his heroism of old tempered by a feeling of nausea for many of his stands today.  Amnesty for illegals, unconstitutional restrictions on campaign finance, support for the global-warming fraud - reasons abound for their displeasure.

Although there's no possible chance of conservatives actually voting for Obama, if they but sit on their hands and vote for nobody McCain has no chance.  Other veeply calculations aside, McCain had to pick somebody at least acceptable to conservatives, and preferably someone who would be eagerly embraced by them.

With Sarah Palin, he has accomplished this goal in spades.  What is the single most important issue for the religious right?  Abortion, without question - and it would be hard to imagine a more staunch defender of the rights of the unborn than Gov. Palin.  Not only has she supported it legislatively; not only is she a firmly devout Catholic; but she has unimpeachable personal credibility of the most compelling kind.

When pregnant with her fifth child, the doctors determined the baby to have Downs syndrome, meaning inevitable retardation.  The overwhelming majority of women in this situation opt for an immediate abortion, as her doctor recommended.  Even many conservatives who generally oppose abortion would be understanding in such a case.  Gov. Palin rejected her doctor's advice, kept the child, and Trig Palin took his rightful place as a member of the family.

Picture for a moment what will ensue when the abortion question arises in the vice presidential debates.  Normally, the Democratic side accuses the Republican of being too elitist, too wealthy, too male to possibly understand the pressures on women that demand abortion as a solution.

How, exactly, is that going to work when the Republican is Sarah Palin, a woman who has personally wrestled with the decision herself and stood true to her beliefs at great cost?  The best Joe Biden will be able to do is hem and haw; more likely, though, he'll ramble on at great length, shoving his foot further into his mouth with every syllable.

We see a glimmer of this problem with the current lefty attack-points on her, questioning whether a mother of five shouldn't better spend her time home with the kids.  Hah!  Talk about a change of sides; isn't it feminists that believe women can do, be, and have it all?  Or is it only liberals who're supposed to have it all?

We see the same genuineness even in her family scandals.  This week's explosive revelation is that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant.  Shock!  Horror!  Surely this will offend the social conservatives?

Well, yes, social conservatives don't believe in teenage sex.  However, they do believe in personal responsibility; and the latest reports are that the young Ms. Palin will shortly be marrying the father of the child.  What better example could there be of accountability for one's own mistakes?

Obviously the Palins, as parents, had their weaknesses; but they weren't total failures: their daughter and her boyfriend had at least enough moral dignity to step up to the plate as adults, rather than succumb to the tempting captivity of welfare.

It is in the area of experience, though, that the true genius of McCain's choice reveals itself.  No sooner did Palin step onto the stage with McCain than the media, insulted by the selection of someone they'd never even considered, began to attack her as unqualified.  She's only been a governor for two years!  Before that, she was a mayor!  How could such a person ever be a heartbeat away from the presidency?

And you know what?  They're absolutely right.  Sarah Palin is, indeed, not ready to be President.  She has no time in national office.  She has not been vetted at the major-league level; she does not personally know the movers and shakers with whom a President must deal.

She surely does not have the credibility, the years of experience, to fill the office from Day One.  Fortunately, she won't have to - she's not been tapped for that slot just yet, she will have at least a little while to learn the ropes as understudy.

But a focus on Sarah Palin's experience is the most fantastic gift to John McCain's candidacy that one could imagine.  For where Palin boasts a mere two years as Governor in charge of America's largest state, Barack Obama has never been in charge of anything at all.

He's served four years as just one of one hundred United States Senators, two years of which have been spent running for president; he is not the chair of any committee, but of a mere subcommittee, in which he has accomplished nothing of note.

While Sarah Palin was holding executive authority as mayor of a town, Barack Obama was one of a couple dozen Illinois state senators, where again he smoothly left no legislative wake.  Where Sarah Palin's husband is a small businessman - a commercial fisherman, as manly a job as one could imagine, and one brutally exposed to the full panoply of government over-regulation and taxation - both Obamas are and have always been lawyers who feed at the public trough.  This is a discussion the Republicans are fully prepared, nay eagerly panting, to have.

The Republican vice-presidential nominee is, indeed, a little skint on the experience side.  What does it say then that her experience, limited as it is, runs rings round the Democratic nominee for the Big Job?

Let the media compare experience to their heart's content; Obama pales in comparison.  The closer they get, the better she looks, and the worse for him.

Sen. McCain is a very lucky man as Pres. Reagan was a very lucky man.  Mr. Obama is a very smart man.  When it comes to a leader, we'll take luck over smart any day of the week.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments
I could not disagree more. Palin was a horrible pick for many reasons.

You said "She surely does not have the credibility, the years of experience, to fill the office from Day One. Fortunately, she won't have to"

Yes, in fact, she may. McCain has had one foot in and out of the grave off and on for the past decade. He's doing fine right now, but I could VERY easily see him croking in the middle of his first term. The Presidency adds enormous pressure to an individual. If any VP was more on the line for filling in, it's Mrs. (very under-experienced) Palin.

The biggest thing McCain wanted from Palin was her female, youth, celebrity appeal. That become obvious when at the first night of the convention, no one mentioned Barack Obama one time (not even the mention of his name) but spent the entire evening talking about "change" and "hope" and "Washington being broken".

The biggest problem with Palin's lack of experience is that THAT was the very thing McCain was using to separate himself from Obama in the areas that he could. He ran ads specifically showing how experience leaders were more valuable than celebrity ones and it WAS WORKING. Leading up and through the DNC convention, McCain's poll numbers were tightening with Obama. Gallup had him 2 points up right before the DNC convention. Americans DO understand experience; twenty-somethings don't but most of them don't vote.

McCain seems to think that his campaign on experience over celebrity isn't the way to win. Has no one showed him the poll numbers?

The second biggest thing he wanted was her down-home, family-oriented image. And we've learned in just a few days that her 5 children are NOT more important than her job. Family is NOT really one of her strong suits.

In an interview with Newsweek, Palin discussed her most recent child. She stated that after birthing, she was back in the office, Blackberry in hand, within the week. What does that tell the supposedly family-oriented GOP about how she REALLY sees the importance of family? The child she had was afflicted with Down's Syndrom - a VERY serious problem. But she brushed it off to someone else and ran right back into work. When it comes to family, you can't say one thing and do another; it's very transparent where your values are.

The oldest of Palin's children is 18, barely an adult, and her 17 year old just had an illegitimate child with a self proclaimed "f--ing redneck" who also said "he didn't want kids". He as was also recently charged with a DUI. When asked about the bastard child, the response from Palin (and other GOP apologists) was that it's good the daughter decided to keep the child. Isn't "keeping the child" part of the basic beliefs of most GOP'ers? Since when do we hand out brownie points when people decide NOT to abort their children?

McCain also wanted to sway the undecided Hillary fans, but picking Palin will make that backfire. The reason Hillary fans love Hillary is because of what Hillary embodies - staunch feminism. Palin's record denotes the polar opposite of that. On every feminist issue, she crushes down any doubt. The only thing feminist hate more than a man is a woman who is anti-feminist. During the days of slavery, the only thing worse than the master was an Uncle Tom. Any Hillary fans who WERE going to pick McCain as a protest vote will not because who he's now saddled with.
September 3, 2008 9:40 AM
Hm. It would appear that opinions differ, how odd. That's why we have to have elections, I guess.....
September 3, 2008 9:59 AM
Great article--love the title!

As well, Twibi makes many excellent points, with which I whole-heartedly agree. But not all Republicans, in fact, most, are not as idealistic as twibi and me.

Palin's lack of experience DOES accent Obama's even-lesser degree of experience. And that's important!

I (a female) believe many of Hillary's supporters were supporting her only because she is a women, not necessarily because she is a feminist woman.
September 3, 2008 10:03 AM
Your title is more right than you know. It should say PALE-In Comparison because McCain and Gov. Beauty Queen records are PALE compared to Obama's. Obama wants to make Washington into something good. The others are just old-school PALE fools.
September 3, 2008 11:54 AM
And I'm hoping that your PALE playonwords isn't a subliminal message that McCain is white and Obama is black.
September 3, 2008 11:56 AM
Palin was a good choice to re-energize the social conservatives of the party.

She demonstrates what polar opposites she and Obama really are. She considers children a blessing. He considers them punishment. The choice couldn't be more clear.

She makes the ticket look halfway interesting. It' just too bad that John McCain is the other half and still heads the ticket.

I'll probably still stay home.

September 3, 2008 12:13 PM
@ whatever:

What record?
September 3, 2008 12:23 PM
Well, she may not have experience at a national level, but we've had a few other state Governors move straight into the presidency - GW Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, and Roosevelt, for example.

I think Palin may have been a good strategic choice, albeit not the best choice for the country. Really, twibi, despite your objections, are you going to vote for Obama? (unless you agree with my take on an Obama presidency) Or even sit idly by and risk letting Obama win by default? How many conservatives will face the same choice, and decide to hold their noses and vote for McCain/Palin?

Romney would have been the best for the job, but that would have cost McCain the religious right, and pretty well insured an Obama win. Palin generally helps with the religious right, and flummoxes the Democrats at the same time.
September 3, 2008 12:56 PM

I am not voting for McCain. I made that decision awhile back and have since decided to stand by it.

And yes, I will sit idly by and risk letting Obama win by default because a) I cannot in good conscience vote for a man like McCain and b) I do not believe the USA is going to fall off the cliff in 4 or 8 years. We are are far too strong and complex a nation for that. People have been using the "Oh no! Better to vote for the lesser of two evils than risk getting a communist" argument for decades. Nixon used that 40 years ago against JFK, and Reagan's people used that against Carter in 76 and again in 80.

Over the past 3 elections, the GOP has gotten significantly more centrist and has, every time, asked their voters to take one for the team.

We are told that "we don't understand the bigger issue" on illegal immigration.

We are told that "electing judges" is really the important thing so who cares that McCain supports the global warming scam.

We are told that "it takes an aisle-crosser to get stuff done" even though the only stuff getting done is grade-A bullshit like McCain/Feingold or the Gang Of Fourteen.

Well, you know what? To hell with that and McCain and the GOP!

You can never have a candidate that is everything you want. That is axiomatic of elections. The only way to vote consistently for someone who believes everything you do is to write-in you own name in every election, which leads nowhere. So I understand the importance of the lesser of two evils. But there comes a point where "your guy" is so different and so wrong and so unpleasing an option that you CANNOT vote for him either. There must be a line, and this time McCain is on the other side. Bush in 2004 was nearly there, but I still voted for him. McCain has passed over.

On your Governor remarks...

I completely agree with that in concept. I think the BEST Presidents are made from Governors because they have vastly more executive experience than legislators do.

HOWEVER, Palin's "experience" as Governor is non-existent. She's been in the position for less than 2 years and spent half of that time pregnant on the job.

Then there's the matter of scale here; not all Governors are created equal. The state of Alaska has a tiny economy. You can't compare the Governorship of Reagan in California or Bush in Texas with that of Palin in Alaska. (Never mind the fact that Reagan and Bush spent an entire term or more in that office. Reagan almost 9 years.)

Why is Obama unfit to lead? Besides his ideology, he has NO experience. Two feeble years in the Senate - while glad handing for something more - doesn't cut it. Palin is in the same boat.

Sorry, to run long again; I hate blovious commenters but I had to put down this much at least.

(I won't even get into the idea that Obama winning would be GOOD for conservativism in the long run.)
September 3, 2008 1:34 PM
twibi might be right. Notice this Gallup pol on women:

Direct quote--

"McCain has lost ground among both white independent women and white independent men (and among Democrats of both genders) since the convention and his vice-presidential selection"

So he's solidifying GOP women a little bit. But losing all the women outside the GOP.
September 3, 2008 2:00 PM
Gallup is one of the best, but it's been less than one week. Is that really enough time to get gauge the effect?
September 3, 2008 2:03 PM
Twibi is absolutely right. I'm glad to see there are other conservatives out there who feel the way I do.

I am also a woman, and at first, I was impressed by the Palin pick. I thought it was a very good political strategy, and on the surface level, I thought about maybe rethinking my decision to not vote for McCain no matter what.

Then I did some research, and the story came out about her 17 year old daughter. Now, I'm all for women having choices to do whatever they want to do when it comes to working outside of the home. However- can a woman really be an effective mother to 5 fairly young children, one of which with special needs, while running a state (or a country for that matter)? Call me crazy, but I really don't think so. I know this is VERY politically incorrect to say, but I believe that shows in the fact that her daughter is pregnant. Maybe if she would have been more involved in the home, it wouldn't have been that way. If she can't run a home, how is she going to (maybe) run a country?

I do think it's incredibly hypocritical that the Dems are making the points I have just made to criticize her, however. They have long been the party of "I am woman, hear me roar", insisting that women can have it all!

Oh well. It makes for a much less stressful election season. I don't get angry when one side criticizes the other anymore, because I don't like either one! :)
September 3, 2008 2:04 PM

What do you mean by "and spent half the time pregnant on the job"? Are you implying that a pregnant woman is not really working?
September 3, 2008 2:06 PM
I don't think she can be working as much as someone who isn't pregnant. And the more serious/important the job, the worse that pregnancy can get in the way. If she's cleaning a hotel room, someone can probably fill in on her bad days - no problem and low impact. If her finger is on the nuclear button, different story. Do you disagree?
September 3, 2008 2:13 PM
"succumb to the tempting captivity of welfare"?

The young man that is getting married, Levi, just hit a financial home run. You think he really questioned whether or not to marry the daughter of a sitting US Governor and possible Vice President? Yeah, maybe for about 2 seconds.

Palin was a bad choice and a bad role model for mothers, not that the Republican Party of today will care. They're as opportunistic and hypocritical as the Democrats.
September 3, 2008 3:14 PM
"I am not voting for McCain. I made that decision awhile back and have since decided to stand by it."

Please note my parenthetical. And while you're at it, go back and read through all the comments I have made all over Scragged about McCain vs. Obama.

The fact is that you are one of a very small minority. Losing a few thousand votes to gain a few hundred thousand is a pretty good strategy.

I have no disagreement with your basic issues with the GOP. And McCain is only going to give us more of the same. The problem is that I fear he WILL get elected, which pretty much means Hillary 2012.

As for my "governor remarks" - I suppose I should be more careful - the tone did not come through. It was really an amusing observation, not a comparison.

Your comment about "oblivious commenters" really didn't need to be said. Refute the points, fine, but don't make it personal.

September 3, 2008 4:47 PM

I disagree that McCain will gain. Notice Ben's comment about the Gallup poll, which I had not previously seen. Since the selection was made public, McCain has LOST independent and Democrat women. He's only gained a few GOP women.

I also disagree that I am a small minority. It seems that every day I run into another conservative who says he/she will not vote for McCain. Now, they may in fact do just that as Nov rolls closer, but the conservative base is not happy.

You misunderstood that final sentence...

I said blovious as in the adjective form of bloviate.

My point was that I didn't like people who went on and on while commenting (exactly what I was doing) and thus I was sorry to take up so much page space. It had nothing to do with you or anyone else, and certainly wasn't personal. Sorry for the confusion.
September 3, 2008 4:54 PM
Twibi: My apologies about the blovious and oblivious confusion. Looking at it again, it appears either I or my eyes were mixed up :)

As for the rest - I suppose time will tell. I can only hope your experience proves out.
September 3, 2008 6:52 PM
On the vice presidency:

"But as for that v.p. talk all the time, I'll tell you, I still can't answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it, exactly, that the v.p. does every day?"

--July 31, 2008, CNBC's "Kudlow & Company"

On Iraq:

"I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq. I heard on the news about the new deployments, and while I support our president, Condoleezza Rice, and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place."

--March 21, 2007, Alaska Business Monthly

"Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [American soldiers] out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."

--June 8, 2008, Wasilla Assembly of God Church

On creationism:

"Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject--creationism and evolution. It's been a healthy foundation for me. But don't be afraid of information and let kids debate both sides."

--October 25, 2006, gubernatorial debate

On global warming:

"A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I'm not one, though, who would attribute it to being man-made."

--August 29, 2008, Newsmax

On energy:

"I think God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that."

--June 8, 2008, Wasilla Assembly of God Church

On receiving $1.8 million in federal earmarks for the city of Wasilla:

"FYI This does not include our nearly one million Dollars from the Feds for our Airport Paving Project. We did well!!!"

--June 14, 1999, Wasilla City Council Informational Memorandum 99-62

On that "Bridge to Nowhere":

Question: "Would you continue state funding for the proposed Knik Arm and Gravina Island bridges?"

Palin: "Yes. I would like to see Alaska's infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now--while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist."

--October 22, 2006, Anchorage Daily News

On library books she doesn't like:

"What would your response be if I asked you to remove some books from the collection?"

--October 1996 conversation with librarian Mary Ellen Emmons, Anchorage Daily News

On the secessionist Alaskan Independence Party:

"Your party plays an important role in our state's politics ... keep up the good work, and God bless you."

--2008* video address to Independence Party's convention

On Ivana Trump:

"We want to see Ivana because we are so desperate in Alaska for any semblance of glamour and culture."

--April 3, 1996, Anchorage Daily News

On running Wasilla:

"It's not rocket science. It's six million dollars and fifty-three employees. "

--October 1996, Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman
September 17, 2008 4:03 PM
If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're 'exotic, or different.'
But, if you grow up in Alaska "eating mooseburgers" you're the quintessential American story.
If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
But, name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

Graduate from Harvard Law School and you are unstable.
But, attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works, and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

But, if your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the City Council and 6 years as the Mayor of a town with fewer than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.
But, if you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a stellar Christian.

If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.
But, if, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system, while your unwed teen daughter becomes pregnant, you're very responsible.

If your spouse is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of inner city communities, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America.
But, if your husband is nicknamed 'First Dude', with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25, and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now...
September 17, 2008 4:28 PM
Is Gov. Palin running for Vice President or President again? Damn, these liberals must REALLY be scared!

Yes, thanks, we get that Palin is inexperienced. What's interesting is that it makes Obama's inexperience ALSO stand out. Notice that these guys don't compare him to McCain. They can't.

By choosing Palin, McCain brilliantly shined the spotlight on how little experience Obama has by placing Palin right along side him. The move placed McCain CLEARLY above BOTH of them.
September 17, 2008 4:37 PM
Add Your Comment...
4000 characters remaining
Loading question...