Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sarah Palin

So John McCain has picked Alaska Governor and mother of 5 (or maybe only 4) children. I was a bit surprised by this. I was sure he'd pick a woman but I expected him to pick former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carleton S. Fiorina. Instead he found someone who was already in politics and a former Miss Alaska runner up.

He picked a woman because he needed someone to help secure all the disgruntled Hillary supporters. No, really, that's the long and the short of it. Typically you select a VEEP to try to secure a state with lots of electoral votes or nail down a swing state. Alaska has fewer people than most major cities and is extremely Republican.

It had long been thought, by people who think about this stuff, that the first black or the first woman President would be a Republican. That's because women and blacks would rush to vote for that person based solely on their common demographics ignoring the fact that the candidates policies are the opposite of those of the voter. The people who think about this sort of stuff hadn't considered that the Republicans would finally become so open about their true values that people would flee them in droves.

Many people thought that McCain's obvious and cynical grab for women voters would turn off those same voters and they'd go back to the people who better represent their interests. But the last several days have show that this just isn't so. Women everywhere are still talking about getting to break that glass ceiling and disrupt the good old boys network. They're not looking at the values of this woman. They're not considering how she votes. They accuse men of sexism and then vote based on the location of the candidate's reproductive organs.

So lets take a moment to see where Sarah Palin stands on the issues.

1) She's anti-choice. You may object to how I phrase that, but you'll understand why I pick that phrase later. The point is that she does not support a woman's right to decide whether to carry a pregnancy to term or not. Even in cases of incest and rape she's rather force the woman to go full term. She would permit them to save the life of the mother, but that's it.

1a) She steered thousands of tax dollars to organizations that deliberately provide false and misleading information about abortions.

2) She's pro-death penalty. That's why you can't call her pro-life. She believes that non-sentient fetuses should live at the expense of a woman while walking, talking, and often innocent criminals should be put to death.

3) She opposes physician-assisted suicide. This furthers the "anti-choice" statement. Currently only Oregon permits physician-assisted suicide. John Ashcroft tried to force that law off of Oregon's books but was shot down by the Supreme Court.
I understand the argument that greedy kids could try to manipulate their parents into early death so they could get the inheritance or that it's the first step to requiring old people to die at a certain age. But there are safeguards for that and enough people watching for that behavior to keep it from happening.
Right now the major voting block are the baby boomers whose parents are getting old and sick. They don't want to have to say goodbye to their parents and many would rather watch their folks live in agony rather than have to feel the pain of losing a parent. But in another couple of decades they'll be the ones wishing for the release of death. I imagine that's when more states will permit assisted suicides.

4) She opposes same sex marriage. This isn't a choice issue like she believes. One doesn't choose who they're attracted to. Palin not only thinks that gays shouldn't marry but also tried to deny benefits to same-sex partners in the state's employ.

5) She does not believe that global warming is man made. That's a whole book or five, not a blog entry. But it does help to clear up her lack scientific knowledge or willingness to ignore it for political expedience. As do points 6 through 10.

6) She favors oil and gas interests over environmental protection.

7) She supports drilling in ANWR.

8) She opposes designating polar bears as endangered species.

9) She supports replacing genuine sex-ed with the counter-productive abstinence-only education programs. So she won't only not let you get an abortion but she won't let the schools tell you how not to get pregnant.

10) She opposes stem cell research. She's call this a pro-life position. I'd call it anti-health care. Sure, your mind is going, your organs are failing, you're going to spend the next few months or years in pain or watching your mind slip away or both. But she doesn't support curing you OR letting you die.

11) She's a member of the NRA and supports the right to bear arms. I support the right to bear arms, but not the NRA. This isn't an issue I feel passionately about. Certainly not compared to many of the other issues I've mentioned. But I felt that it should be mentioned.

12) She has a record of pushing to ban books in the Wasilla Public Library as Governor. No word yet on what books.

13) She thinks that the war in Iraq is "a task that is from God." Makes her sound like a Blues Brother.

14) She supports permitting doctors to refuse to perform medical procedures they disapprove of.

15) As mayor she increased the town's debt. Long-term debt went from none to $19 million. Debt service increased from $390,385 to $658,662. Sales tax increased by half a percent.

To her credit
1) She did go after political corruption in Alaska. The mere fact of her election shook out a long standing corrupt governor. The corrupt politicians in question were all, not surprisingly, Republicans. Not surprising, in part, because Republicans are so good at being corrupt and not surprising because Alaska is mostly Republican. Alaska, like Texas, is so right leaning that even the Democrats are just Republicans in a mask.
And she seems to be rooting out old corruption so she can bring in her new corruption. But isn't that always how it works?

2) She does support the use of contraception. Seems obvious to you and me, but in contrast to the Republican leadership this is a major plus.

But don't count on her to make it until election day. As of 1:45pm Tuesday, traders on the Intrade prediction market are selling the chance that Palin will drop off John McCain's ticket at 13.9. That is, as I understand it, 13.9% of the traders think she'll drop out. This is down from 18% earlier in the day.
That might be an interesting strategy. Women are already pissed that Hillary isn't the Democratic candidate. If Palin waits a few months and then leaves while blaming the Democrats for their smear campaign it'll make them look awful. McCain picks up more of the pissed off woman vote and can then pick a male VEEP from a state with lots of votes in the electoral college.

Not that I think she and McCain have a chance of winning. The last eight years have really shown the Republicans for the monsters that they are. McCain continues to run on a platform of fear and international bullying. Obama runs on a platform of hope and making the United States the good guys again.

Regardless of where you stand on the issues just remember that you should vote on the issues. Don't vote for Obama just because he's black. Don't vote for McCain just because he's got a woman on his ticket. Vote because that person takes positions that make the country and the world a better place. Don't figure that the person who shares your demographics shares your values.

To read about why some think that Sarah Palin may be covering up her daughter's pregnancy

To read about the views of Sarah Palin's preacher and her own stated religious views read

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