John McCain swung hard and connected solidly in his first presidential decision, selecting Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Barack Obama’s campaign wasted no time in dismissing the selection of a “small town mayor” (What IS his problem with small towns?). This is a discussion we should welcome.
Palin has more executive experience than the entire Democratic ticket put together.
The Federal Government is the world’s largest and most complex organization, with 1.8 million civilian employees (not including the Postal Service), nearly 3 million active duty and reserve military personnel and a budget in excess of three trillion dollars. In America, governors typically have the most relevant training to be President. Voters recognize this (With the exception of George H.W. Bush, who had significant executive experience as Vice President, Director of Central Intelligence, and head of the U.S. Liason Office in Beijing, all United States Presidents elected since Watergate have been governors or former governors). A governor develops budgets, works with legislatures, and oversees the management of large agencies and departments. In Alaska, the state budget is almost 7 billion dollars (which for those keeping track, is more than double Delaware). And no matter how much abuse the Obama campaign tries to heap on Wasilia, Alaska, the fact of the matter is that running this small town gives Palin significantly more executive experience than he has had during any period of his career.
Barack Obama has run a state senate office, a U.S. Senate office, and a legal periodical. For his part, John McCain has lead the largest squadron in the United States Navy.
Barack Obama has been a Senator for 3 1/2 years, where he has missed roughly 50% of the votes. Why was vice presidential finalist Tim Kaine, governor for 2 years (Respected Prof. Larry Sabato places his administration in “the bottom quartile” of all Virginia governors), a former Lt. Governor and Richmond Mayor, considered qualified by the campaign who now suggests that Sarah Palin is not?
Strong credentials on energy
Palin served from 2003-2004 on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which “oversees oil and gas drilling, development and production, reservoir depletion and metering operations on all lands subject to the state’s police powers.”
For two years, she has presided as governor over one of the largest energy producing economies in the world.
Personal courage and a record of fighting corruption
Barack Obama believes that his opposition to the Iraq War was the toughest decision he ever made. This “tough call,” which he contends might have cost him an election in my bluer than blue home state of Illinois, is, to hear Obama tell it, proof that he has the judgment and courage to be President.
While on the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Palin blew the whistle on corrupt practices at the risk of her own career and reputation. If being against a war in a Democratic primary in Illinois is presidential caliber bravery, what do you call that?
As governor, she successfully championed an ethics bill to root out Alaska’s longstanding culture of corruption.
Palin was elected governor in 2006 after defeating an ethically challenged incumbent, Frank Murkowski, in the primary, and easily dispatching former two term governor Tony Knowles in the general.
Palin’s personal characteristics and biographical details are nothing but plusses:
- Mother of five, ranging from an enlisted soldier in the United States Army, headed for Iraq to a four month old with Down’s syndrome.
- Her husband of 20 years and high school sweetheart works on the North Slope of Alaska, and is a member of the United Steelworker’s Union.
- Would wake up at 3am with her father during High School to hunt Moose.
- Champion high school basketball player.
- Worked as a commercial fisherwoman.
This is a fantastic choice, and one we should be proud to defend. For one, I cannot wait to see Sarah Palin accept the nomination live in St. Paul next week.