From the perspective of many Republicans, the choice of Sarah Palin seemed to be a brilliant one. Mrs. Palin is an attractive, ambitious, tough, witty, popular, pro-life Republican Governor that connects with “Joe Six Pack”. She’s got a great story, a nice smile, and a killer instinct. Don’t forget she also took on some of the members of her own party and won, which complements McCain’s “Maverick” brand. What a smart choice! Or was it…
For the reasons listed above Sarah Palin was on my top 5 list of people that McCain might choose, but I didn’t really pay her much attention because I had convinced myself, that John wasn’t really going to try to court the Hillary vote. I figured that Mr. McCain knew that so few of Hillary’s supporters would toss their issues aside and would automatically run towards the female in the election that it wouldn’t be worth going after their votes. Additionally, I figured that at least McCain’s campaign staff would know that the person that started the “PUMA PAC” had donated money to him, so the people leading “PUMA” outrage were already in his corner furthering my belief that John wouldn’t pick Sarah. I figured that the McCain campaign would know that the economy would be the big issue in this election and therefore he would end up choosing Mitt Romney, even though they reportedly don’t get along very well.
You can imagine my surprise when he announced the nomination of Sarah Palin as VP at the Republican Convention. I looked at my husband and said, “Well, it looks like I have some more research to do.” Accordingly, I spent a good part of that following weekend searching through articles from Alaskan news papers and basically found out that all of the characteristics I listed above were correct, but my research found some characteristics that just may end up being bad news for McCain, particularly if he wins…
What else did I learn in my research both that weekend and over the past few weeks?
Well, for one Sarah Palin is no dummy. Palin has a killer political instinct. She may not be the most knowledgeable or well spoken person on any given subject, but she does have a knack for knowing what people want to hear and giving them just that accompanied by a side of home-town pie. While this may be good for a campaign, it’s not necessarily what would be good for a VP, particularly the VP to a President that is a 72 year old cancer survivor that has already lived longer than both his father and grandfather. I am not trying to play the age card, I don’t think his age rules him out at all, it’s just that statistically, he has a higher probability of passing away in office than other candidates like Romney or Giuliani do, which means Sarah Palin has a higher probability of becoming President. With her increased probability of becoming President, she better start hitting the books.
Sarah Palin is a very influential person. I mean this in its truest sense. She has the ability to gain the affection and trust of others and then use that affect what those people think. This of course does not mean that everyone will always agree with her and do what she wants, but many will. Given this fact, she could easily use a velvet glove to get her agenda on the board regardless of what her boss thinks. It would not be much of a challenge for her to strike up alliances with McCain’s advisors and cabinet members and use them to help push through what she thinks should be done.
Sarah loves loyalty. Who doesn’t want someone on their ticket who’s loyal? Oh, I guess I should clarify; Sarah loves those that are loyal to her. In fact, in Alaska she often hired her friends from high school to fill government jobs regardless of their past experience. And what happened to those that were not 100% loyal to her and everything she wanted, she had no use for them. Sarah frequently fired people for not “towing the line”. But, wait a minute, wasn’t she within her rights to do this? Yes, she was in fact within her rights to fire people for this or any other reason but, should everyone get fired if they disagree with their boss? Does anyone here wish that someone had spoken out to Bush about Iraq, or deregulation? I know I do. You see, in Sarah’s mind, if the Mayor/Governor/President says this is what I want to do, and then everyone else should fall in line. She does not tolerate dissenters. She says that if you don’t agree with her that’s OK and you can tell her that but once she says “Thanks but No Thanks”, it’s time for you to shut up and carry out her plans. I guess there are people out there that like this type of leadership, but I do not. It was people willing to go against the power brokers that founded and worked to perfect this country. It has always been the dissenting voice that has made the biggest impact; from Franklin, and Jefferson, and Adams, to Lincoln to Parks to King. The dissenting voice has always been welcome in America, and I would like it to stay that way.
Sarah Palin is very ambitious. She worked to become a sportscaster, a business owner, a mayor, and a governor. I don’t think there is much doubt at this point that she really wants to be VP and ultimately President. Is this bad; No, not in and of itself. It would be a challenge to find a VP that didn’t at one time or another want to be President, but in the case of Mrs. Palin, her ambition seems to affect the way she does her job. She works harder for the next job than she does at the current job. Additionally, when you combine it with the other characteristics listed above, it could prove to be difficult management situation for McCain.
Sarah is deeply religious. Not just your ordinary go to church every Sunday say a bedtime prayer kind of religious, but the crusading end of days is nigh kind of religious. Again, there may be plenty of people that are comfortable or even comforted by someone like this being in the White House, but certainly not me. Now I don’t care if someone is religious or not, your religion is none of my business, but when you bring your religion into your public policy making it very quickly becomes my business. I am not worried about the “Oh, I am Christian so I wouldn’t vote for gay marriage” type of bringing religion into public policy (which is still wrong). I am worried about the type of religious that brings the thought process of “Well, God gave me the thought of bombing Iran so it must be the right thing to do and if thousands of people die in the process, it’s OK because it’s all a part of God’s plan and he will make sure it all turns out well” into public policy. John McCain as a normal go to church kind of Christian should be a little afraid of having someone like this in his administration.
She thinks that the role of VP is whatever she wants it to be. She said (on video) that she would have to make sure that the VP job would be enough to keep her busy before she accepted the job and then she said (also on video) that she’s glad the Constitution would allow for more expansion of power when working with the Senate. Well that is only true if you interpret the Constitution’s wording of “The Vice President of the United States shall be the President of the Senate, but shall have no vote role unless they be equally divided” as meaning that as the “President” of the Senate you can do whatever you want. Historically, the role of “President of the Senate” has meant that you just make sure that proper order is followed and you cast the tie breaking vote, not that you are the Senate’s Operations Manager and you lobby the Senate to do what the President of the United States wants. It should prove to be very interesting (and scary) to see what happens if she gets her wish.
So what does all of this mean for McCain? Many of us realize for now, the future of the Republican Party is Sarah Palin. There are already rumors circulating that regardless of whether or not McCain wins, Palin will be running for President in 2012. Who do you think McCain’s staffers will be aligned with; McCain who has used phrases like “In my term” not “in my first term” mind you but “in my term” meaning only one term as President or Sarah Palin who has used the phrase “in a Palin/McCain administration”? My money is on Sarah. McCain’s staffers will want to stay employed and their best way of making that happen is to be loyal to Sarah rather than to John. When you add this to the list of characteristics listed above, McCain will have a tough time keeping in control of his own administration. I would suggest that McCain go have a little talk with Mr. Bush about what it’s like to lose control of your own administration and party. This could end up being as poor of a VP choice for McCain if he wins as it was for America.
Thanks for reading!
PS. Here are a few links to get you started on your own research: