It’s always safer in politics to avoid risk – to just kind of go along with the status quo. But I didn’t get into government to do the safe and easy things. A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not why the ship is built.
Politics isn’t just a game of competing interests and clashing parties. The people of America expect us to seek public office and to serve for the right reasons. And the right reason is to challenge the status quo and to serve the common good ... We are expected to govern with integrity, and goodwill, and clear conviction, and a servant’s heart ... Governor Sarah Palin, 29 August, 2008.
Senator John McCain has just made the most brilliant decision of his political career by announcing that he has chosen Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, as his running mate.
The left will find, or manufacture, all manner of criticisms of Governor Palin over the next two months. Yet Governor Palin, despite the ‘shortcomings’ they will choose to invent or magnify, represents everything that has been sorely lacking in Washington for the past twenty years: integrity, ethics, a belief in limited government, a reverence for the United States Constitution, a belief in the sanctity of life and the citizen’s right to keep and bear arms, a call for domestic oil drilling in ANWR and elsewhere, fiscal responsibility, a disdain for the power of special interests, and a reverence for truth over political expediency, no matter the cost of expressing it.
The main objection to her candidacy that will be voiced from the left will be her lack of experience. Some on the right (NRO in particular) have voiced that opinion already as well.
I see her 'lack of experience' (only in foreign policy) as something of a plus.
She has had experience in an executive capacity, as a mayor and as a governor. Although her former position was ‘only as a mayor’, during that tenure she succeeded in reducing government salaries, and reducing property taxes by more than sixty percent. I don’t care where one serves as a mayor –- be it a large metropolis or a small rural township -- those accomplishments are extraordinarily difficult to achieve, and not only did she achieve them but she won re-election by an overwhelming margin as a result. She was also elected President of the Alaska Conference of Mayors. She was ‘only a mayor’, but she was respected sufficiently by her fellow mayors to be elected their leader and spokesperson.
That alone speaks well for executive ability on any level.
As governor, she successfully targeted corruption by passing a broad-ranging ethics bill, reduced the size of the state government -- in part by firing dozens of last-minute political appointees made by her predecessor and shelving state-funded construction projects that she deemed frivolous, defeated both democratic and republican pork-barrel proposals, promoted oil exploration, negotiated the go-ahead for a $40 billion natural gas pipeline (the largest private-sector infrastructure in American history), returned large portions of the state’s oil and gas profit-related surplus to the people of the state, and sold the governor’s 'frivolous' jet on ebay for $2+ million and deposited the money in the state treasury.
Palin also served as Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, but resigned because she was disgusted by the 'lack of ethics' of other Alaskan republican leaders. She had blown the whistle on ethics violations and conflicts of interest, and met with great resistance. After she resigned, she exposed the ethics violations of several republican leaders -- among them the state Attorney General and the chairman of the state's republican party--and all of those leaders were forced to resign. Sarah Palin is not a party-over-principle leader, a welcome anomaly in today's political climate in which almost all politicians' allegiances are tied to the power structure that places them in office. The antiquated phrase 'of the people, by the people and for the people' appears to ring true to Governor Palin. She has been a public servant, rather than a panderer to special interest groups, or a feather-my-own nest power seeker, all of her political life. Refreshing, to say the least.
Some will undoubtedly say that her less-than-full-term stint as Alaska’s governor renders her a greenhorn politician. I say that the success she has experienced in accomplishing many of the things at the state level that we desperately need accomplished at the federal level renders her a superb executive.
A governor must exhibit far more critical, everyday decision-making abilities than a senator. Successful executive decision-makers wear many simultaneous hats, do significant research, and make decisions, both small and far-reaching, almost on a daily basis. Their job is comparable to that of a CEO, and is similar to that of a president, yet on a smaller level. Senators/legislators deliberate, in a group atmosphere, sometimes for weeks, months, or years. Being a successful governor prepares one significantly better for the presidency/vice presidency than being a senator. And the fact that one's 'apprenticeship' took place in Alaska rather than Washington D.C. is simply a matter of logistics.
If Sarah Palin is well-versed in foreign affairs (which many Americans are, despite not having served in public office), eager to learn, and willing to surround herself with advisors of high caliber, I do not see her lack of experience in that area as a detriment. Far more important than being an encyclopedia of detailed knowledge are good judgment, trusted advisors, and proven decision-making abilities.
Most American conservatives have been calling for ‘new blood’ inside the walled-off-to-non-elites Beltway. So many of our principled, idealistic conservative leaders, of the caliber of J. C. Watts, have left the arena in disgust. Others, of the caliber of Rick Santorum, have been forced out by the dishonest nature of the system. Special interests, media bias, big money, and voter ignorance and apathy all have the loudest voices in today's perverted political climate. The large majority of those who remain in power are simply entrenched, well-oiled cogs in the corrupt, self-perpetuating monster we call Washington D.C.
While the Obama camp calls for change and new blood, it continues to promote the same (if not a ratcheted up) vision of big government that the democrat party has embraced since FDR. Obama’s choice of running mate – a 40-year veteran, and often author, of the corrupt, big-government status quo -- reveals just how genuine his calls for change are.
The Obama camp’s claims of Palin's 'inexperience' had better fall on the electorate’s deaf ears, since their presidential candidate has no executive experience, and no foreign policy experience. The top spot on their ticket belongs to a freshman senator who, in his short tenure on the hill, has sponsored no meaningful legislation, and has a record of absenteeism from senate sessions and committee meetings that would be the envy of any young truant. As far as claims of inexperience are concerned, if the appearance of blatant hypocrisy is to be avoided, the democrats had better not go there.
A related aside ... Let's look at the top of the democrat ticket:
Barack Obama's resumé:
- (1) Nonexistent legal career (as a matter of fact, he brags about not accomplishing anything in the legal arena, as if doing so would have served as a negative).
(2) Temporary adjunct part-time lecturer in law at the University of Chicago -- not a 'professor', as he claims.
(3) 'Community Organizer' in Chicago. No definitive accomplishments ever mentioned.
(4) Illinois State Senator (1997-2004). No successful legislation authored or sponsored.
(5) United States Senator (2004-present) No successful legislation authored or sponsored.
In contrast to the other three candidates running for the highest offices in the land, and almost all other serious candidates running for national office, Sarah Palin is not a product of the Washington bureaucracy. She is not tainted. She answers to no one. She panders to no special interests. She is indeed new blood. She is not afraid to speak her mind, to buck the system (even if it means dissention in her own party). She recognizes that leadership is stewardship, not ownership. She is the real thing.
In these days in which self-serving ideologies are the primary focus of the ruling elite, a reverence for honesty, allegiance to the Founders’ vision, and the desire to be a genuine public servant stand at the brink of extinction. When we come across a leader who possesses those rare qualities, in addition to a sterling record of accomplishments at the state and local level, we cannot allow claims of inexperience (a half-truth) to hold us back from providing our full support.
Until today, I did not believe I could cast a vote for John McCain, despite the frightening alternative. After today’s announcement, I intend to do all that is within my power to ensure a McCain/Palin victory in November.
May the Lord prepare and strengthen Governor Palin for the barrage of hostile political and media attacks that lie ahead of her. The hits will be appalling, precisely because this strong lady of high ambitions and goals, and equally high principles, is exactly what America needs at this historically unprecedented point in our history.
I ask all readers here to take four minutes out of your day and watch this video. It integrates photos, music and video and paints an accurate picture of perhaps the major foreign policy difference between the republican and democrat tickets this year. Pay close attention to the final twenty seconds. They accurately depict, in symbolic microcosm, not only Barack Obama's opinion of America's troops, but the extent of his foreign policy 'expertise'.
McCain and Palin: Supporters of Our Troops in Word and Deed