In his latest move, with his trademark blend of panicked desperation and political calculation, John McCain announced his choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.
McCain's anti-choice, anti-science, anti-environment, anti-gay right wing extremist pick for vice president -- particularly important in view of Sen. McCain's advanced years and failing health -- reveals the depth of his cynicism and condescension towards American voters, women in particular.
Palin has signed on to the Bush administration's economic policies, opposes increasing the minimum wage, and opposes equal pay for equal work regardless of gender. And this is McCain's way of reaching out to women and the working class?
Of course, Sarah Palin is just a wonderful choice if you believe we should chuck factual textbooks out the window and start teaching creationism in public schools as if ancient superstition were on an equal footing with the latest scientific findings. Yeah, she's definitely in favor of that.
Oh, and what's wrong with a little friendly censorship here and there? According to the Frontiersman newspaper, Wasilla’s library director, Mary Ellen Emmons, said that Palin asked her outright if she "could live with censorship of library books.” Palin later dismissed the conversation as a “rhetorical” exercise. Um-hm.
"Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency," said Bill Burton of the Obama campaign. "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.''
Gov. Sarah Palin
Palin, a former small-town mayor with a taste for mooseburgers, has more experience catching fish than dealing with foreign policy or national affairs. I hate to mention the Peter Principle, but this lady is in way over her head. Her level of expertise is more appropriate at a city council meeting than on the Council of Foreign Relations. Even now, the Alaska governor is under an ethical cloud.
Palin says she tried marijuana when she was younger (it was legal at the time in Alaska), but claims that she didn't like it.
McCain passed over many other better qualified prospects in his search for a vice presidential nominee, simply because in his insulting attempt to pander to the female vote, it seems that the most important qualification to be his running mate is possessing a vagina.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
Even in that regard, the depth of McCain's cynicism is revealed by the fact that he picked the distinctly under-qualified -- but very photogenic -- Palin and passed over Kay Bailey Hutchison, the Texas senator who is very knowledgeable about the military, but is, unlike Palin, not a former beauty queen. (Palin was a runner-up in the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant.)
Palin brings a strong anti-abortion stance to the ticket and opposes gay marriage - constitutionally banned in Alaska before her time. As governor, Palin vetoed a bill that would have granted benefits to gay state employees and their partners.
Palin lives in Wasilla, a town of 6,500 about 30 miles north of Anchorage, with her husband, Todd, a blue-collar North Slope oil worker who won the 2007 Iron Dog, a 1,900-mile snowmobile race. He is part Yup'ik Eskimo.
She is often seen walking the Alaska Capitol halls in black or red power suits while reading text messages on Blackberry screens in each hand. She made a recent appearance in a photo layout in fashion magazine Vogue -- I kid you not. (Full disclosure: the following image was Photoshopped, but the Vogue appearance is real.)
Take me seriously. I wear glasses.
Palin's reputation has come into question with an investigation recently launched by a legislative panel into whether she sacked Alaska's public safety commissioner because he would not fire her former brother-in-law as a state trooper. Trooper Mike Wooten went through an ugly divorce from Palin's sister.
Former Department of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan says that since Gov. Sarah Palin took office, members of her administration and family pressured him to fire a Palmer Alaska State Trooper with whom her sister was involved in a bitter child custody battle.
The governor denied orchestrating the dozens of telephone calls made by her husband and members of her administration to Wooten's bosses.
Palin is an avid proponent of petroleum development, in tune with McCain. In fact, she's even more "drill here, drill now" crazy than McCain, favoring drilling in Alaska's protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. McCain opposes it.
“Senator McCain’s choice for a running mate is beyond belief," said Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund. "By choosing Sarah Palin, McCain has clearly made a decision to continue the Bush legacy of destructive environmental policies.
“Sarah Palin, whose husband works for BP (formerly British Petroleum), has repeatedly put special interests first when it comes to the environment," Schlickeisen continued. "In her scant two years as governor, she has lobbied aggressively to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, pushed for more drilling off of Alaska’s coasts, and put special interests above science. Ms. Palin has made it clear through her actions that she is unwilling to do even as much as the Bush administration to address the impacts of global warming. Her most recent effort has been to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the polar bear from the endangered species list, putting Big Oil before sound science. As unbelievable as this may sound, this actually puts her to the right of the Bush administration."
As governor, Palin also opposed designating polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, fearing that step would get in the way of a proposed natural gas pipeline tapping the North Slope's vast reserves.
Before becoming governor, her entire political experience consisted of terms as Wasilla's mayor and councilwoman and a stint as head of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.