Yesterday was John McCain's 72nd birthday. If elected, he'd be the oldest president ever inaugurated. And after months of slamming Barack Obama for "inexperience," here's who John McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency: a right-wing religious conservative with no foreign policy experience, who until recently was mayor of a town of 9,000 people.
Who is Sarah Palin? Here's some basic background:
She was elected Alaska 's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1
Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2
She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000.3
Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4
She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.5
She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6
How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7
Alaska MoveOn members gave responses to what the rest of us should know about their governor. Their response was striking. Here's a sample:
She is really just a mayor from a small town outside Anchorage who has been a governor for only 1.5 years, and has ZERO national and international experience. I shudder to think that she could be the person taking that 3AM call on the White House hotline, and the one who could potentially be charged with leading the US in the volatile international scene that exists today. —Rose M., Fairbanks, AK
She is VERY, VERY conservative, and far from perfect. She's a hunter and fisherwoman, but votes against the environment again and again. She ran on ethics reform, but is currently under investigation for several charges involving hiring and firing of state officials. She has NO experience beyond Alaska. —Christine B., Denali Park, AK
As an Alaskan and a feminist, I am beyond words at this announcement. Palin is not a feminist, and she is not the reformer she claims to be. —Karen L., Anchorage, AK
Alaskans, collectively, are just as stunned as the rest of the nation. She is doing well running our State, but is totally inexperienced on the national level, and very much unequipped to run the nation, if it came to that. She is as far right as one can get, which has already been communicated on the news. In our office of thirty employees (dems, republicans, and nonpartisans), not one person feels she is ready for the V.P. position.—Sherry C., Anchorage, AK
She's vehemently anti-choice and doesn't care about protecting our natural resources, even though she has worked as a fisherman. McCain chose her to pick up the Hillary voters, but Palin is no Hillary. —Marina L., Juneau, AK
I think she's far too inexperienced to be in this position. I'm all for a woman in the White House, but not one who hasn't done anything to deserve it. There are far many other women who have worked their way up and have much more experience that would have been better choices. This is a patronizing decision on John McCain's part- and insulting to females everywhere that he would assume he'll get our vote by putting "A Woman" in that position.—Jennifer M., Anchorage, AK
So Governor Palin is a staunch anti-choice religious conservative. She's a global warming denier who shares John McCain's commitment to Big Oil. And she's dramatically inexperienced.
In picking Sarah Palin, John McCain has made the religious right very happy. And he's made a very dangerous decision for our country.
In the next few days, many Americans will be wondering what McCain's vice-presidential choice means.
1. "Sarah Palin," Wikipedia, Accessed August 29, 2008 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Palin
2. "McCain Selects Anti-Choice Sarah Palin as Running Mate," NARAL Pro-Choice America, August 29, 2008 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=17515&id=13661-8589102-jWMSYRx&t=1
3. "Sarah Palin, Buchananite," The Nation, August 29, 2008 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=17736&id=13661-8589102-jWMSYRx&t=2
4. "'Creation science' enters the race," Anchorage Daily News, October 27, 2006 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=17737&id=13661-8589102-jWMSYRx&t=3
5. "Palin buys climate denial PR spin—ignores science," Huffington Post, August 29, 2008 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=17517&id=13661-8589102-jWMSYRx&t=4
6. "McCain VP Pick Completes Shift to Bush Energy Policy," Sierra Club, August 29, 2008 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=17518&id=13661-8589102-jWMSYRx&t=5
"Choice of Palin Promises Failed Energy Policies of the Past," League of Conservation Voters, August 29, 2008 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=17519&id=13661-8589102-jWMSYRx&t=6
"Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil, says governor," The Times of London, May 23, 2008 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=17520&id=13661-8589102-jWMSYRx&t=7
7 "McCain met Palin once before yesterday," MSNBC, August 29, 2008 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=21119&id=13661-8589102-jWMSYRx&t=8
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