As if you can’t tell from my political musings of the past, I’m no fan of the modern-day GOP and its pandering to extreme elements: misguided evangelical zealots, the hyper-rich, and those who lead by division, rather than by unity.
Sen. McCain has had moments of independence from these forces, but in the end he, too, trod down the path of theocon/neocon pandering in his race to become President before he kicks the bucket. No move says this more than his selection of Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) as his running mate.
Plainly speaking, she’s no more qualified than I am (read: not at all) to be one heartbeat/tumor/coma/scandal away from one of the most powerful offices in the world.
Here are my concerns about Palin:
- She has almost no true executive experience on a large scale. Wasilla’s town government had only 50 employees, and those in Alaska who report to her office number less than 2,500. Furthermore, in Wasilla she delegated most leadership duties to an adviser, while maintaining a “pretty face” at the titular helm of the town.
- She purports to fight corruption while proving herself a leader in being corrupt. Witness her term as mayor of Wasilla, where she played pork barrel politics to the tune of $30+ million in federal appropriations for junk projects. Witness her continuing acceptance of PAC money from Abramoff’s cronies. Witness the improper use of her office to try and sway hiring and firing decisions, as well as the related cover-up and smokescreen battle.
- She knows nothing about international relations – or the dangers of mixing religion and international politics. In a recent address in front of her right-wing church, she claimed that our soldiers are in Iraq and Afghanistan doing “a task of God.” In most circles, that’s equating our hostile occupation of the Middle East as a crusade – a BIG no-no in trying to maintain any diplomatic stance on relations with the Middle East. And let’s be blunt: just because Alaska is only a short distance across the Bering Strait from Russia doesn’t bring any expertise in border relations with an international superpower.
- She shows little knowledge of the history of the United States or the structure of its agencies. She attributes the Pledge of Allegiance to the founding fathers (false), especially the “under God” line (introduced during the McCarthy communist scare era). She also takes credit for leading the Alaska National Guard, which answers only to the Department of Defense. And as recently as July, she claimed that she didn’t know the real purpose of the office of Vice President of the United States – more theatrical, perhaps, but she failed to see the purpose of the office.
- She believes that women’s rights should be decided upon by men, without any input from women who are free-willed and open-minded.
- She believes that science and religion are not mutually exclusive – which should shock her father, who was a science teacher.
- She has precious little world travel experience (to almost everybody’s knowledge), which as we’ve seen with Bush 43, is a major danger when dealing with global cultures, norms, politics and religions.
- Few Alaskans of either party have positive things to say about her or her leadership skills. I trust first-hand knowledge of a person’s leadership abilities, and many first-hand accounts I’ve read and heard are far from positive.
I could go on, but won’t. In summary: she’s unfit and unqualified to be the second-in-line to the presidency of these United States.
And her selection speaks volumes of the fortitude – or lack thereof – of John McCain. He caved to the forces of division to try and seal up parts of the GOP base (conservative women and evangelicals) who would never vote for Barack Obama. I’m sure that the decision of Palin was not entirely up to McCain, and that he would’ve rather gone with Tom Ridge, Joe Lieberman or Mitt Romney as his running mate. But rather than stand strong and be a maverick, McCain chose the same old divisive route that is a hallmark of the GOP since the days of Nixon.
For shame, Sen. McCain. For shame, Gov. Palin. For shame, GOP.
ETA: Click here to hear Gov. Palin mention the “task of God” aspect of military action in the Middle East.