Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Sarah Palin Chronicles – The Continuing Saga

The Sarah Palin story gets more interesting day by day. People and the press want to know who she really is and what she is like. Yeah, we know her politics and religious beliefs are very conservative. But we want to know:
  • Who is this Sarah from Alaska?

  • What makes her tick?
Yeah, well yes, in another blog entry I emphasized how the choice of VP should be on the candidate’s competency. So, shouldn’t I be focused on evaluating her competency?

Nah, competency shompentcy! For now, it’s more interesting just to discuss who she is.

And who she might become if elected VP.

Last night the nation saw her acceptance speech. I think it was great that she introduced herself, her family, and gave us a little insight of where she is from and what she is like. She’s a wife, a mom, a hockey mom (otherwise known as a pit-bull w/lipstick), a mayor and a governor. She’s also ambitious, hard-working and ready for anything. And she comes across as “real” – a middle class, working mom, balancing family and profession.

Though an unlikely candidate for VP, she doesn’t seem in anyway overwhelmed by McCain’s choice.

We heard a little of her conservative politics (e.g., pro-drilling) and her accomplishments as governor (e.g., selling off the governor’s plane, turning down money for the “bridge to nowhere”). The NY Times and others have reported that she both backed and then opposed federal funds for this bridge – but, hey, she wouldn’t be a politician if she hadn’t done a 180 on at least one issue!

On these issues, there’s little surprise: she’s a conservative and she talks like a conservative. And her digs on Obama were so “heard-that-tell-me-something-new-will-yah.”

But, as I say in another blog entry, you can’t judge a candidate just on what she/he says or what party politics she/he parrots in speeches. I think you need to imagine this person in office and how she/he would function in that roll.

What I see is a person who is ready for anything but who is also miles from what we’ve seen the Republicans serve up. She is about as 180-degrees from the Bush-Chaney—Rumsfield-Rove mold that we’ve had for 8 years. Her conservatism comes from a practical common-sense base, and not neo-conservative ideology. Her understanding of issues comes from her lived experience, and not some theoretical product of think tanks.

Right now she may be a Washington outside. But as party VP candidate, will this last? Will she become the attack dog mouthpiece for the party platform, with a direct feed from party headquarters? Will the party handlers morph her into an insider?

Does she have any chance to remain the maverick she says she is? Will she be able to reach across the isle and engage Democrats, as she had done as Governor? If she becomes VP, could she ever achieve that 80% favorable rating she has as Governor?

In the conservative wing of the Republican Party, the old guard is salivating on the arrival of a young, ambitious, and willing conservative. Will she become their new standard bearer? Will she walk the path of conservatism without wavering? Or will she tread a maverick’s path such as the “old McCain,” even to the point of annoying the party faithful from time to time?

So the question for now is, which Sarah will she be if McCain and she are elected?
  • Will she remain the outsider, a maverick, and a “real person?”
  • Or will she become yet another conservative “stiff shirt” and mouthpiece of conservative ideology?

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