I love Sarah Palin. She's basically every mom of every friend I had growing up in the Midwest, only way hotter. She's the new face of the new feminism (I can't even remember who the old face of the new feminism was anymore). She's everything Bush Republicanism could hope for in a not-so-much-ugly-old-white-man package. She's funny, she charming, she's got great taste in eye wear. She can shoot a gun and bake cookies and manage an entire state while raising a family. In other words, I want to build a time machine and marry her in place of the that bozo, pretty-boy Todd McGoofyPants. Why should he be so lucky?
But I don't want Sarah Palin to be my vice-president.
Gov. Palin has been/will be the downfall of the McCain campaign. For all the people who love her for all the same reasons I do (but who also plan on voting for her), there are even more Americans who see this selection for what it is: a desperate attempt by the McCain camp to seem younger, less Beltway, and more family friendly.
It's no secret McCain is old. It's no secret McCain has been involved in Washington politics for almost 30 years. And it's no secret that McCain has leaned centrist in the past when it come social conservatism. Picking Sarah Palin was supposed to solve all that. And for the Republican base, it did. But for the rest of America, it pretty much scared the bejesus out of us. I love Sarah Palin with all my heart. But she cannot, under any circumstances, be our vice-president in 2009. And this is why:
1) According to FactCheck.org (and check out their sources for further reading), until Palin became a VP candidate, she had no problems with the types of congressional earmarks John McCain has spent a good part of his career opposing. (McCain is on record as criticising three specific earmarks that went to Mayor Palin's old Wasilla stomping grounds; earmarks secured by a Washington lobbyist hired by Palin during her tenure as mayor.) She also failed to come out against the "Bridge to Nowhere" until after it was dead in Congress. And she still accepted the earmarked, pork-barrel funds anyway, spending them on her state's general transportation budget. We need someone who understands this budget mess. And Sarah Palin is not that someone.
2) Palin (along with McCain) also seriously misunderstands Obama's tax plan. Palin is on record criticising it as "painful tax increases on working American families." This in spite hard data that shows Obama's plan will lower taxes for 81% of all households (and 95% of those households with children), while raising them for those at the top of America's income bracket (those families making over $250,000 a year). Yes, rich people work, too. But chances are Joe Sixpack is making much less than a cool quarter-mil a year. Obama's tax plan takes care of him. And it's time for McCain-Palin to kill this stupid misconception/lie.
3) She has absolutely no experience in either of the biggest problems we are mired in today: managing a messy war in Iraq while simultaneously governing over a sluggish 13.8 trillion dollar economy. At the very least, McCain, Obama and Biden have congressional experience in these matters. Palin has managed the 45th largest economy of the United States of America for 22 months. This gives me pause. And these things tell me she just isn't ready for this position.
Two and half weeks ago conservative columnist David Brooks was quoted as saying that Palin was in no way ready to be vice-president:
"The more I follow politicians, the more I think experience matters, the ability to have a template of things in your mind that you can refer to on the spot, because believe me, once in office there's no time to think or make decisions."
What Brooks is saying here resonates tremendously with me. Presidents need to have wisdom, experience and a worldview in place before they take office, because once you're there, there's little time to formulate these things. You can't be catching up on William Buckley, Russell Kirk and Richard Weaver in the middle of a heated presidential campaign.
Maybe once Palin is safely ensconced in her vice-presidential office, she would have time for such things. But with McCain's age being what it is, she could be called on to serve as president before she is actually ready to be president. And because of that, I can't in good conscience vote for her. We just elected (and re-elected) a president who wasn't ready for the job, and look where that got us. We need to learn from our mistakes and vote for folks with the experience to lead from Day 1. Even Obama, with his political career only 12 years old, is light years ahead of Palin in that regard.
As a country in the midst of a teetering economic crisis, drawn out wars in the Middle East and Asia, problems with a resurgent Russian state, run-away health care costs and record budget deficits, we deserve a presidential team that's up to the task. And unfortunately, with Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket, the Republicans have failed to provide us with one. It's time to look elsewhere for a president if this is the best that McCain and the Republican Party can do.