The extremist Christian right is ecstatic with McCain's choice of Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Conservative GOP strategist, Greg Mueller, claims that "Conservatives will be thrilled with this pick." Ralph Reed, the ethically and morally challenged former head of the Christian Coalition, says "social conservatives" are "...beyond ecstatic. This is a home run. She is a reformer governor who is solidly pro-life and a person of deep Christian faith."
That might matter if we were engaged in choosing a Christian pastor for the country.
The reality is something else altogether. We're not choosing a pastor. One's religious faith has no relationship to one's qualifications for president or vice president. In fact, Ms. Palin's qualifications for vice president or president are almost nil: She's been governor of Alaska for less than two years. As noted by Ron Fournier of the AP, before her elevation to the state house, "[S]he was a two-term mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, a town of 6,500 where the biggest issue is controlling growth and the biggest civic worry is whether there will be enough snow for the Iditarod dog-mushing race."
That did not stop the McCain campaign from releasing this idiotic and inane statement: "As the head of Alaska's National Guard and as the mother of a soldier herself, Gov. Palin understands what it takes to lead our nation and she understands the importance of supporting our troops."
Which, of course, begs the question: What does heading the Alaskan National Guard and being the mother of a soldier have to do with leading our nation? That's more or less comparable to McCain's claim that he should be president because he was a POW.
The McCain campaign also put out a statement promising that "She is ready to be president." Why would they say anything that stupid, number one, and on what grounds would they say it? Are they afraid McCain won't make it through four years? Even more curious, how can she be "ready to be president" when her experience is close to zip, nada, nuttin!
It's also important to consider that one of the things the McCain bunch has blasted Obama for (unjustly, in my opinion) is his lack of foreign policy experience. Compared to Gov. Palin, however, Obama is a master of foreign policy!
Daily Kos points out that "Obama felt no need to use his VP pick to rally the base and unite his party. Biden was picked precisely because Obama felt he was the best pick for the ticket, not because he needed to mollify one group or another.
"Now we see McCain's pick of ... Palin, and it's clear that he was forced to kow-tow to the Huckabee/Dobson wing of the Republican Party."
Who is Sarah Palin? Here are some highlights:
Born in 1964. Has lived in Alaska since a small child. Runner and basketball player. Hunter. Eats moose that she kills. Leader of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in high school. First runner-up in the 1984 Miss Alaska beauty pageant. Smoked marijuana when it was legal but didn't like it. Lifetime member of the NRA. Bachelor's degree in journalism. Married high school sweetheart, Todd Palin. Five children. Oldest son is in the Army. Youngest son has downs syndrome. She refused an abortion. City councilwoman for two terms before being elected as mayor of Wasilla. Served on Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation.
There are a few good points: She proposed plans to cut green-house gases and address climate change. (McCain may have a problem there with the dingbats on the right, such as Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission .) She has bucked her party and "campaigned on ethics reform in the 2006 GOP primary."
Palin's problems: She strongly opposes abortion and she supports capital punishment. (That's always an interesting position - save one life and take another.) She supports the teaching of Creationist nonsense in the public schools. She opposes same-sex marriage, and even though she signed a bill ordering same-sex benefits, she was against it and "supported a democratic advisory vote from the public on whether there should be a constitutional amendment on the matter. In 1998, Alaska passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage and she has stated she supports that amendment. Palin is also a big supporter of drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Preserve.
At the moment, her biggest problem may be the fact she is under investigation for unethical conduct by the Alaska state legislature. The lawmakers are trying to determine whether or not she was involved in the firing of an Alaska state trooper who was involved in a nasty divorce and custody battles with Palin's sister.
Palin has denied being directly involved but has acknowledged that dozens of phone calls were made by her husband and members of her staff to the trooper's bosses in an attempt to remove him from his job.
Is it believable that she did not know what her husband and staff were doing?
The Obama campaign has not been silent about McCain's choice of running mate. The New York Times quotes Bill Burton, an Obama spokesman, as saying, "Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 [I think that should be 6,500, but who's counting?] with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies -- that's not the change we need, it's just more of the same."
Perhaps Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the No. 3 Democrat in the House, put it best: "On his 72nd birthday, is this really the one-heartbeat away he wants to put in the White House? What does this say about his judgment?"
It says that McCain has made a monumental error in judgment and his choosing of Palin dramatically portrays why John McCain should never come close to taking up residence in the big White House in Washington, D.C.