Once again, the topic of the day comes to being about Sarah Palin, that backwater candidate from Alaska, who has a heart of gold yet a head full of nuts (at least that is what people want you to think). The idea of her being VP (even the possibility of President) rattles even the most measured of people. “Why McCain? Why?!” Some are still pondering that question on the selection of Palin. How could McCain, with all his “judgment”, select a Sarah Palin to be his running mate? Rumors amok, credibility ripped to shreds, Palin still stands and still draws crowds. Why you ask? Because, she appeals to a certain segment of the population.
These people coming out for her are socially conservative, they are proud of who they are and of their country. They feel betrayed, betrayed by not only Washington, but of the perception many place on them. That they are naive, that they cling to their “guns and religion.” Who is a better representative of that than Sarah Palin? A NRA member who can not only shoot a moose, yet can field dress it too. A bible thumper who is not ashamed to say, “God bless you!” to even the most vile of characters. This woman is the mythical heartland, that area of the country that makes even a candidate like John Kerry in 2004 go goose hunting. It is not only a region, but also a temperament among Americans. Their leaders include Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal (a star in waiting), and yes, the late Ronald Reagan. They are unashamed; yet do not like being shamed. They are a voting bloc of the American people and politicians seek them out.
In 1960, John F. Kennedy picked Lyndon Johnson to be his running mate. Not because he liked him, yet because of what he brought (i.e. Texas). In 1980, Ronald Reagan picked George H.W. Bush to be his running mate. Not because he liked him, yet because there were still those in the Republican Party who felt left out (i.e. those country club types). These choices were made in part to win elections, something politicians do and need to do in order to lead.
Upon looking at Sarah Palin, what doesn’t fit here? John McCain, who has a strained relationship with the socially conservative members of his party (among others), picked someone who personified their values. He picked someone who could fill seats at his rallies, and drive up his fundraising. Was it a political move? Yes. His possible choice of Lieberman, no matter how “perfect” it might have sounded, would not have worked. Lieberman might be able to speak at a Republican convention, yet seek their acceptance to become their vice presidential candidate? Dream on.
Sarah Palin is the choice, take it or leave it. I personally like Palin for her strengths, such as her political independence and her grasp of the energy issue, and was drawn to her for those reasons. I considered her a long shot candidate who despite having negatives was still a possibility. Now someone may say, “what about her socially conservative views?” I say, oh well. As an independent, I do not have a party who represents my views fully, so for each candidate I have to do a cost benefit analysis. Some views I disagree with, others I approve of, with the case of Sarah Palin, it is no different. I would considerably vote for Bobby Jindal if he were to ever run for President (given the alternative option is worse). Not everyone likes the VP selection; sometimes it rubs him or her the wrong way, but eventually they need to accept it. It is politics, I have learned to live with it, and so should you.
Is the alternative better, a President Barack Obama? Who would abandon a country in civil war (i.e. Iraq in 2006)? Who would lead a filibuster proof Democratic majority Congress? Someone who people say “isn’t that bad” or “he’ll come around to my views eventually.” To that, I offer this obscure Obama quote from one of his books highlighted in an article from 2006, “I serve as a blank screen…on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views." Is that really a risk worth taking? It is either that or McCain/Palin. You decide.
Standing firm, I am still voting for McCain.