Thompson Takes Palin’s Temperature

Thompson Takes Palin’s Temperature

Monday, September 01, 2008 3:33 PM
By Andrew Romano

ST. PAUL, Minn.–Fred Thompson is a talented actor, but even he couldn’t conceal the fact that he thinks John McCain’s new running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, is something of a gamble–albeit a gamble that going’s to pay off. “No nominee that I’ve ever heard of has had all the boxes checked,” he confessed this afternoon during lunch with NEWSWEEK’s convention team here at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown St. Paul, referring to Palin’s rather skimpy resume. “Whether she can survive those liabilities depends on things that haven’t happened yet. John McCain has lot riding on this. I think she’ll do very well, but it’s up to her to carry the mail.”

If today’s encounter is any indication, Thompson hasn’t changed since stepping out of the spotlight last January. He’s still the same slow-moving, sardonic, Southern-fried character he was on the trail. But it was clear during our meeting that his lumbering grizzly bear act conceals a savvy intelligence keenly attuned–at least this afternoon–to Republican talking points. Thompson’s performance, in fact, struck me as a preview of what’s to come from the GOP.

A few key exchanges. Pressed on Palin’s inexperience, the Tennessean turned the tables on Obama–as I predicted last week that Republicans would do. “I wonder sometimes what we call experience,” he drawled. “How much experience does Barack Obama have? Sitting on the floor of the Senate listening to people talk does not give you foreign-relations experience.” But McCain has always said that his VP must be able to assume the Oval Office at a moment’s notice, we reminded him. Is Palin ready? At this, Thompson groaned. “Ahhhh,” he said, pausing for a moment before finding his footing. “Yes, I do. Look, remember what the standard is. Go back and look at vice-presidential picks throughout the history of the country. Look at Harry Truman, where he stood, how much experience he had before he was chosen as vice president.” Given that Thompson was the third Republican to mention Truman since I arrived this morning, I suspect we’ll hear more about the Missourian–who went from county commissioner in 1935 to leader of the free world in 1945–before November.

But the most interesting debate–and potentially the most consequential–was about Palin’s daughter Bristol, 17, who announced this morning that she’s five-months pregnant and planning to marry the father of her child. Pushed by NEWSWEEK’s reporters and editors to say whether having a pregnant teenage daughter and five-month-old baby with Down syndrome at home will raise questions about Palin’s “priorities,” Thompson responded by questioning the questioners. “Would you be saying that about man running for office in her shoes?” he asked. “I really think you’re going to be surprised at how average people and women who are not necessarily political one way or another identify with her. I see nothing in this that will hurt Sarah Palin politically. I mean, I get that it’s a necessary part of the process to ask those questions. But we have to keep it fair. If we don’t keep it fair, it will redound to her benefit.” Judging by the reaction in the room–“I look around this table all these angry men, and I can’t believe they’re even asking this question,” quipped one female NEWSWEEKer–I have a feeling he’s right. Saying a woman can’t pursue her professional goals AND care for her children at the same time is never a political winner–whether it’s conservatives or liberals wagging their fingers.

The only part of Thompson’s appearance that may not be helpful down the road? That admission of risk. Asked how much time Palin has to prepare for the spotlight, Thompson didn’t pull any punches. “Not much,” he said–perhaps with a bit of rue regarding his own ill-fated run. “She has to be prepared to do everything, from answering the big questions to pronouncing the names of foreign leaders correctly. That’s rule No.1 now. She’s going to get tested in every conceivable way in that regard and she’s got to be able to handle it.” Part of the problem with Palin, Thompson admitted–and the promise, for that matter–is that she’s something of a Cinderella story. “This is the stuff they make movies out of,” he said, laughing. “In fact, it’s a good idea for one.”

Does the senator have any parts picked out? we asked.

“I have a couple,” he said.

To rebut rumors, Palin says daughter, 17, pregnant

To rebut rumors, Palin says daughter, 17,

pregnant

Mon Sep 1, 2008 1:07pm EDT

By Steve Holland

ST. PAUL (Reuters) – The 17-year-old daughter of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is pregnant, Palin said on Monday in an announcement intended to knock down rumors by liberal bloggers that Palin faked her own pregnancy to cover up for her child.

Bristol Palin, one of Alaska Gov. Palin’s five children with her husband, Todd, is about five months pregnant and is going to keep the child and marry the father, the Palins said in a statement released by the campaign of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

Bristol Palin made the decision on her own to keep the baby, McCain aides said.

“We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us,” the Palins’ statement said.

“Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support,” the Palins said.

The Palins asked the news media to respect the young couple’s privacy.

“Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family. We ask the media, respect our daughter and Levi’s privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates,” the statement concluded.

MCCAIN KNEW

Senior McCain campaign officials said McCain knew of the daughter’s pregnancy when he selected Palin last week as his vice presidential running mate, deciding that it did not disqualify the 44-year-old governor in any way.

In the short period since she was announced last Friday, Palin has helped to energize the Republican Party’s conservative base, giving the McCain camp fresh energy going into the campaign for the November 4 election against Democrat Barack Obama.

McCain officials said the news of the daughter’s pregnancy was being released to rebut what one aide called “mud-slinging and lies” circulating on liberal blog sites.

According to these rumors, Sarah Palin had faked a pregnancy and pretended to have given birth in May to her fifth child, a son named Trig who has Down syndrome. The rumor was that Trig was actually Bristol Palin’s child and that Sarah Palin was the grandmother.

A senior McCain campaign official said the McCain camp was appalled that these rumors had not only been spread around liberal blog sites and partisan Democrats, but also were the subject of heightened interest from mainstream news media.

“The despicable rumors that have been spread by liberal blogs, some even with Barack Obama’s name in them, is a real anchor around the Democratic ticket, pulling them down in the mud in a way that certainly juxtaposes themselves against their ‘campaign of change,'” a senior aide said.

(Editing by Howard Goller)

Laura Bush warns Dems away from anti-Palin sexism

Laura Bush warns Dems away from anti-Palin

sexism

 

First lady Laura Bush said today that sexism aimed at Sarah Palin was a very real prospect and suggested Democrats watch what they say about the Alaska governor and John McCain’s ticketmate.

“The other side will have to be particularly careful,” Bush said in an interview on Fox News from St. Paul, “because that’s something we all looked at.”

Questioned about whether Palin may face sexism from the media in the way Hillary Rodham Clinton supporters claim she did, Bush said: “I think that’s a possibility.”

The first lady, who had been planning to speak to the GOP convention tonight before Gustav scrambled the schedule, expressed pride in Palin.

“I’m going to get what I wanted, which is to be able to vote for a Republican woman,” Bush said.  “People, as they get to know her, are going to be so impressed with her grit and her sensible judgment.”
“She has shown how terrific women can be, and how strong women can be, in office.”

Bush and Cindy McCain were to visit a convention breakfast sponsored by the Louisiana delegation this morning.

See Also

 

THE SARAH PALIN CHRONICLES

Little Known Facts about the Alaska governor, culled from the PalinFacts.com blog
 
* Sarah Palin is not affected by global warming, evolution or gravity.
* Sarah Palin eats moose. Preferably live.
* Sarah Palin is so HOT that God had to send a hurricane to cool America off.
* Sarah Palin will give birth to the man who will lead humanity’s war against the machines.
* Sarah Palin knows how old the Chinese gymnasts are.
* Sarah Palin wears glasses lest her uncontrollable optic blasts slaughter everyone.
* Queen Elizabeth II curtsied when she was introduced to Sarah Palin
* Sarah Palin’s enemies are automatically added to the Endangered Species List
* Sarah Palin is what Willis was talkin bout
* When Sarah Palin attends ritual blood orgies, she always brings the most delicious ambrosia salad
* Death once had a near-Sarah Palin experience
* Sarah Palin can win a game of Connect Four in only three moves!
* In the original version, He-Man had the power of Sarah Palin, but the writers felt this would make him way too powerful
* Sarah Palin was not flown to Ohio in charter jet – she ran there as part of her morning workout.
* Sarah Palin begins every day with a moment of silence for the political enemies buried in her yard.
* Sarah Palin uses French Canadians as bait to catch giant king salmon.
* Sarah Palin once bit the head off a live Osprey snatched from the air as it tried to fly off with a fish she caught.
* When Sarah Palin booked a flight to Europe, the French immediately surrendered.
* Sarah Palin’s finishing move in the VP debate will be pulling Biden’s still beating heart from his chest & taking a bite.
* Sarah Palin isn’t allowed to wield the gavel at the convention because they’re afraid she’ll use it to kill liberals.
* Sarah Palin once won a competitive eating contest by devouring three live caribou.
* Sarah Palin once carved a perfect likeness of the Mona Lisa in a block of ice using only her teeth.
* Sarah Palin will pry your Klondike bar from your cold dead fingers.
* Sarah Palin doesn’t need a gun to hunt. She has been known to throw a bullet through an adult bull elk.
* Sarah Palin drives a Zamboni to work.
* Sarah Palin can divide by zero.

Cindy McCain Points To Russian/Alaskan Proximity In Defending Palin’s Experience

Palin Versus Obama At Landstuhl

While Louisiana prepares for Hurricane Gustav, Dems gloat and guffaw; RNC opening night cancelled; Fowler apologizes; Gustav hits land

Why Palin Is a Bee in Dems’ Bonnets

Why Palin Is a Bee in Dems’ Bonnets

By Kyle-Anne Shiver

If you’ve ever seen a lady with a bee in her bonnet, and all the crazy contortions she’ll make to get the darned thing out before it stings her lovely head, you’ll understand precisely why the Democrats are taking such crude swats at Governor Sarah Palin.

Palin may come in a perfectly lovely, innocent-looking package, a bit like a bumble bee resting in the shade on a clover blossom, but when she sees professional politicians getting fat and rich at the public trough, she is immediately transformed into one threatening, buzzing, stinging machine.

 

Pompous, polished, under-performing Democrat pols meet down-to-earth, mom-of-five, rifle-toting, corruption-shredding, tenacious Governor Sarah, the taxpayers’ best friend.

 

She’s a bee in their bonnets all right.

 

And their contortions and swats are coming fast and furious.

 

Before Senator Big-Head was able to take a break from preening and signing autographs, so that he could confer with his campaign committee, they claimed first swat at Palin with a wide-angled approach that took aim at half the towns in America. 

 

From Obama’s campaign, came this tacky swipe at Governor Palin:

 

“Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency.”

 

Out darned bee!  Out!

 

Of course, 30 minutes later, once all The One’s black-berried folks realized how desperate and low-road-politics-as-usual this was, the tune changed.  Obama’s two-step rhetoric (stupid blunder + take-back) has become such a common shtick that it is now a yawner. 

 

Obama seems so immersed in self-adulation that he doesn’t even notice how we citizens view this habitual squirming out of initial responses as a dire threat in the realm of dealing with our enemies.  I can just see him as Commander in Chief agreeing to some horrible concession with the Iranians, then reacting in shocked horror when they immediately take him at his word and launch an attack, while his Obamanoids run around in desperation trying to explain in Farsi that the President “misspoke,” phrased it “inartfully,” didn’t really mean what he said, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah, as Israel or some other country (maybe ours!) goes up in flames.  All the while our Commander in Chief is adjusting his tie, primping in the mirror and checking out a hastily-gathered focus group’s reaction to the inferno.  

 

Governor Sarah Palin is anathema to politicians whose lives revolve around image and celebrity status.  She doesn’t mince words.  She instead makes mincemeat out of greedy, self-inflated politicians.

 

Out darned bee!  Out!

 

I’ve already gotten two emails from Barbara Boxer swatting at Palin.  The first came within an hour of the formal announcement in Ohio.  The thrust of both is this:

 

“The Vice President is a heartbeat away from becoming President, so to choose someone with not one hour’s worth of experience on national issues is a dangerous choice.”

 

This from a politician, whose Party has just nominated, in the most garish display of egomania, a man with no political experience other than running for office and voting yea or nay (or present) in a legislature from time to time, who cannot even seem to remember which committees he is on in the U.S. Senate. 

 

A bee in one’s bonnet can cause even the most poised person to wildly contort and utterly lose one’s senses.  Clearly this is what happened to Ms. Boxer.

 

Both Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton took a bit more time to reflect, and issued more constrained and polite swats at Palin, congratulating her first, before declaring her the wrong choice.

 

One can only wonder how Hillary Clinton is taking this behind closed doors.  I’m not even going there.

 

But Nancy Pelosi has to be literally shaking in her Gucci pumps.  Nancy Pelosi was the one who declared in 2006 that it would take a woman (her) to “clean house” on what she called the Republican Congress of “corruption,” who once taking her imperious position as Speaker, proceeded to garner special protection for one of her financial investments on the new raise in the minimum wage.  Now she shamelessly shills for taxpayer dollars for wind farms, while owning considerable stock interest in same.

 

Pelosi, certainly, must be aware of Governor Sarah Palin’s no-nonsense approach to “cleaning house,” as her record in Alaska so far has revealed.  Nancy Pelosi, on the other hand, rumbles with Catholic Bishops over abortion doctrine while presiding over a Congress with the worst approval rating in history.

 

Sarah Palin gave birth last year to a cherished son with Downs Syndrome, the same kind of baby for which Nancy’s candidate, Obama, refused protections.  

 

Sarah Palin’s stinger is a dire threat to imperious Nancy and Senator Infanticide.

 

Out darned bee!  Out!

 

Sarah Palin may have only served two years as Governor of Alaska, but she has already put to shame the records of polished pols from coast to coast, besting their lazy, lackluster, tire-spinning, do-nothing antics, and had her fifth child at the same time.  

 

By picking Palin, John McCain has demonstrated once again his own dedication to true government reform.

 

Obviously, Senator McCain reviewed Palin’s record of accomplishments, not the number of days “present” that were marked on her report card. 

 

Anyone can claim experience just by being a body in the room and on the payroll, but as Thomas Edison once remarked, “being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”  

 

Which brings us to the matter at hand in this election.  Democrats are running on a platform of “change” that would take us hard-left towards complete socialism, with an array of new government programs and the huge tax increases to pay for them.  They will be the ones doling our money out, and they’ll do it under a President Obama, who springs from the most infamous patronage machine in American history:  Daley’s Chicago.

 

Same old greedy politics, wearing a shiny new face. 

 

Republicans, on the other hand, are running on a reform platform.  Reagan-type reform.  Scale down the behemoth federal government.  Cut the fat and pork.  Throw out the scammers and the pols getting rich off taxpayer dollars. 

 

Sarah Palin is the perfect bee for this task.

 

How do we know?

 

She has a proven record of executive “house-cleaning” accomplishments.  In Alaska, Palin has delivered powerful sting after powerful sting.  Not just at the opposing political party, but at her own. 

 

Corrupt Republicans have had a stranglehold on Alaska government for years.  Senator Stevens is just the tip of that iceberg.  Sarah Palin wasn’t afraid to go after all of them, resigning from her appointment to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in protest over the lack of ethics there.  Then she took on the Republican Governor Murkowski in the primary, defeated him and took the Governorship to higher ethical ground.  One of Palin’s first executive decisions was to sell the recently purchased state jet on E-Bay for $2.1 million, which she promptly returned to the Alaska treasury.

 

So, what’s clearly at the bottom of all the Democrat angst over Governor Sarah Palin?

 

She’s not their kind of ordinary, good-old-wink-and-nod party pol.

 

She’ll be a bee in the bonnet of every pork-laden, greedy D.C. insider the same way she has been in Alaska.  I sincerely doubt that there’s a good ole boy or gal this side of hell who isn’t squirming, swatting and contorting every which-way to take her out before her potent stinger lands in Washington next January.

 

McCain and Palin are two reformers on the move.

 

And I’d be willing to bet my own best bonnet that American taxpayers could not be happier or more anxious to see those stingers get to work on the Hill.

 

Kyle-Anne Shiver is an independent journalist and a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  She welcomes your comments at kyleanneshiver

The Coming Trials of Sarah Palin

The Coming Trials of Sarah Palin

By J. Robert Smith

Democrats and the left generally can no more accept a Sarah Palin vice presidency than they could Clarence Thomas as a Supreme Court justice.  They can no more accept a conservative woman a heartbeat away from the presidency than they can a conservative African-American interpreting the nation’s laws.  Expect the long knives to be out, and stay out.  

Since the Clarence Thomas nomination fight in 1991, conservatives and fair-minded Americans have learned a bitter lesson: for liberals, it isn’t about promoting the advancement of all African-Americans, but only those in step with their ideology and aims.  The same can be said of women.  Liberals believe they own the franchise, and it doesn’t allow for baby-making, gun-friendly, God-fearing women, who, not incidentally, fight for lower taxes, smaller government and a strong national defense.  They certainly can’t be Republicans.   

 

Aside from her xx chromosomes, Governor Palin flunks the liberal litmus test.  She presents a powerful and alluring role model for women, especially younger women, who are regularly bombarded with not just conflicting messages about their roles in modern society — careerist versus mother — but are regularly lectured by the left, politically and culturally, that if choices are to be made, then career, not family, is preeminent. 

 

Sarah Palin, an obviously remarkable woman, demonstrates that family and career mustn’t be mutually exclusive.  Yet it’s a safe bet that if need be, this wife or twenty years and mother of five would put family first. 

 

Moreover, Palin represents a threat to the left’s narrative that, due primarily to the wearing out of conservatism and generational change, voters are moving inexorably their way.  Conservatives have argued for awhile that they have no shortage of ideas, but a shortage of candidates and politicians who possess the desire and will to articulate and advance those ideas.

 

The forty-four year old Palin is in the vanguard of the new generation of conservative politicians.  Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal isn’t far behind.  The Palin nomination puts the lie to the argument that conservatism is headed for the dustbin.  The Governor’s nomination will serve as a clarion call to younger women and men who find her dynamic, upbeat personality, rootedness and strong advocacy of conservative ideas appealing.      

 

Part of Palin’s attraction is that she’s a solid conservative reformer, who’s unflinchingly tackled government corruption — corruption largely on the part of oil interests and the old bulls in her own party.  Ask Frank Murkowski, Alaska’s former governor, who lost to challenger Palin in 2006.  Or embattled Congressman Don Young, who’s heading for a recount against Alaska Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell, a Palin ally who the Governor is publicly backing. 

 

She’s also told indicted Alaska powerhouse Senator Ted Stevens to take his Bridge to Nowhere back to Washington.  Her reformist efforts have won her high approval ratings from voters. 

 

Enter the Long Knives

 

But the trials of Job lie ahead for Governor Palin. Expect Democrats, the left and their allies in the establishment media to go well beyond the initial attacks on the Governor’s inexperience and whatever they can pick out of her record.  In the coming weeks, the left’s whole political and media machine will seek not only to trip up the Governor to prove their contentions that she’s dangerously inexperienced, but will attack her character.  They’ll especially go after her motherhood, her womanhood and her honesty.

 

They’ll argue that Palin’s demanding political career undermines her strong pro-family stances.  It’s tough enough to be governor and a mother, they’ll say, much less vice president and a mother.  Certainly, Palin will need to construct a powerful counter to that argument; no doubt, she already has. 

 

Of course, the question is never asked of a man.  Case in point, Barack Obama, who has two young daughters of his own.  Don’t young daughters need a father as much as they need their mother?  If the demands of the vice presidency are great, aren’t the presidency’s demands greater? 

 

This may come as a surprise to politics-obsessed, government-centered liberals, but the perception that the presidency and vice presidency are all-consuming is overblown.  That perception owes as much to the drama and stagecraft of those offices as to the facts.

 

President Reagan didn’t live his presidency.  Why should he have? George W. Bush isn’t living his.  Why should he?  President Reagan had a life outside the office.  President Bush does too.  Indeed, there are times when the demands of both offices are great, when the holders are required to go into overdrive and burn the midnight oil.  But not typically, and Vice President Palin could well serve as a conspicuous example of an executive who makes an important job and family life work.             

 

And doesn’t an attack on Palin’s motherhood conflicting with her work life contradict longstanding feminist claims about women pursuing both?  The answer is yes, but what does that matter?  You expect logic and fairness?  The left plays mercilessly for advantage.  Contradictions are nuisances.  The messaging will aim to bury the contradictions under a blizzard of criticism and negative news stories. 

 

Palin’s womanhood will also be questioned, because it is the left which is licensed to define womanhood, just as the left is permitted to define blackness.  And make no mistake, feminism is a subsidiary of the left. 

 

By the left’s definition, a pro-life woman cannot be a woman.  A woman who seeks a family-centered society, not a government-centered society, cannot be a woman.  A woman who celebrates traditional American values, and not the secular values of Europeanized liberalism, cannot be a woman. 

 

Sarah Palin is a threat to the left’s feminist agenda.  She is an eloquent and persuasive testament to the fact that the modern woman can embrace traditional values while seeking her place in the professional world.  She can produce better than 2.2 children, love them, engage them and still make a difference in her community, state and nation. 

 

And the left will attack Palin the Reformer.  It will seek to undermine her honesty.  The left can’t help but concede that Palin has fought corruption in Alaska, but they’ll assert that her firing of the state’s public safety commissioner was a misuse of office; that when it comes to her or her family, she’s all too ready to abuse her powers. 

 

Here, again, we must expect that Palin has anticipated the argument.  That, as they might say in Alaska, she’s loaded for bear.  From available news sources, it appears that the Governor was well in her purview to replace the commissioner.  

 

Do note that when it comes to the subject of honesty, nary a word has been expended by the establishment media re-introducing Americans to Joe Biden’s law school plagiarism and his lifting of lines from a speech by British Labour Party Chief Neil Kinnock, the latter forcing Biden to exit the 1988 presidential contest.  And don’t hold your breath.    

 

Countering the Long Knives

 

With her confidence and poise, Governor Palin will be her own best advocate.  But with the onslaught of criticism headed her way, with the game of “gotcha” that the Democrats and the media will play with cunning and relentlessly, she can’t be expected to fight the good fight alone.  And it isn’t enough for the GOP and the McCain campaign to cover her back. 

 

Conservatives from all quarters will need to answer the bell.  To defeat attempts by the left and their handmaidens in the media to destroy the Governor’s character, the conservative response will need to be swift, sure and unflagging.  Conservatives will need to be smart and creative in the ways of getting their arguments and messages to average voters.

 

The battle of the narratives will begin, with the legacy media and the Democrats on one side and the new conservative media, especially talks radio and the internet, that engine of creativity, research, analysis and energy, on the other.

 

Sarah Palin’s candidacy represents not only a new and important chapter for the conservative movement and the Republican Party, but for the nation as well.  And how will you know this?  By the volume and ferocity of attacks to come against Governor Palin leading up to the November elections. 

Beyond the Palin

Beyond the Palin

By Jacob Laksin
FrontPageMagazine.com | 9/1/2008

John McCain’s selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice president last week came as a surprise, not least to Democrats spoiling for a fight. In anticipation of McCain’s two likeliest vice presidential picks, Mitt Romney and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Democratic opposition researchers had spent the week perfecting their battle plan. Barack Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffle, was all set to tar Romney as a “job-killing machine” who couldn’t be trusted to steward the economy. On Democratic blogs, the discussion was whether to cast Gov. Pawlenty as a corrupt Republican hack or, as the enterprising posters at Daily Kos urged, a corrupt Republican hack who also is soft on sex-offenders. In the event, the would-be attack dogs were rendered toothless: Gov. Palin didn’t lend herself to the readymade smears. 

Undeterred, Democratic activists have sought to diminish Palin – and by extension the McCain campaign – in other ways. One is to claim that Palin undercuts McCain’s charge that Obama is unqualified to be president. As the New York Times put it, McCain “spent the summer arguing that a 40-something candidate with four years in major office and no significant foreign policy experience was not ready to be president. And then on Friday he picked as his running mate a 40-something candidate with two years in major office and no significant foreign policy experience.”

The charge has a superficial plausibility. It is true that Palin lacks experience in foreign-affairs, though, as a state legislator, they were out of her purview. But Democrats make an issue of experience at their peril. For one thing, as vice president, Palin would have time to learn on the job. The same cannot be said of a President Obama. Although his foreign policy résumé is scarcely more impressive, he is running for the role of commander-in-chief. If, moreover, Palin’s foreign-policy inexperience makes her selection the most “irresponsible decision by any leading presidential candidate since [George H.W.] Bush picked [Dan] Quayle,” as the ever-excitable Andrew Sullivan asserts, voters should be even more concerned about Obama’s place atop the Democratic ticket.

If Democrats nonetheless have embraced the inexperience charge, one reason is their conviction that her youth makes Palin easy prey for Joe Biden who, in this account, will dominate the vice presidential debate. But one might question whether Democrats’ confidence is justified. It is based on the unquestioned assumption that Biden’s 35-years in Congress make him an undisputed expert on foreign policy. Biden’s recent decisions, by contrast, inspire no such confidence. In May 2006, he proposed partitioning Iraq into Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish regions. The plan, strenuously opposed by both American military leaders and the Iraqi government, looks in hindsight like a spectacular miscalculation. Likewise, Biden’s opposition to the successful surge of troops in Iraq does not recommend him as a foreign policy heavyweight. With this track record in mind, Palin could do worse than borrow Barack Obama’s line that while experience in foreign affairs is important, it is no guarantee of good judgment.

Stirring doubts about a politician’s experience is a traditional campaign tactic. More curious is the complaint from some Democrats that Palin is a token “chick pick.” Especially coming from those who so fervently championed Hillary Clinton’s woman-against-the-world cause, this is nothing if not amusing. For instance, Times editorialist Gail Collins assures readers that Clinton sought to appeal on the basis of her experience while Palin is a mere affirmative action pick. Where Hillary presumably would have struck a blow for womankind, Palin will be “a step back” for the fairer sex. Leaving aside the implausible suggestion that Clinton brought any substantial political experience to bear in her candidacy – other than her recent senate career, she has none – it’s demonstrably false to claim that Clinton was above gender pandering. What was Clinton’s boast about causing “18 million cracks in the glass ceiling” if not a naked appeal to feminine solidarity? No doubt there is some truth to speculation that Palin was chosen at least in part to attract women voters, including disaffected Clinton supporters. But one can’t help detecting a double standard in the Left’s support for identity politics from a Democratic campaign but not its Republican rival.

No more compelling are Democrats’ attempts to portray Palin as a servant of the oil companies. Obama spokesman Bill Burton wasted little time claiming that Palin is a pawn for the “agenda of Big Oil.” The irony is that Palin has repeatedly taken on oil companies in Alaska, sometimes over the opposition of the Republican establishment. Her successful 2006 challenge to incumbent governor Frank Murkowski centered on her opposition to a deal with three big oil companies – Alaska-BP, ExxonMobil, and ConocoPhillips. The deal would have awarded the companies rights to build a gas pipeline while exempting them from paying state revenues. Palin again outraged oil companies when she imposed higher taxes on the Alaskan oil and gas industry, leaving Alaska with the highest resource taxes in the world. Whatever one makes of the tax scheme, it reverses reality to claim that Palin does Big Oil’s bidding. And considering that Palin supports drilling for oil and gas off of Alaska’s coast – an issue with broad national resonance – it seems the opposite of a wise strategy for Democrats to dwell on the subject.

This is not to imply that all attacks on the governor are beyond the pale. She remains vulnerable on a number of fronts. For Democrats and Republicans alike, Palin’s inexperience in foreign affairs will remain an issue – at least until her views become better known. It would be interesting, too, to learn more about Palin’s peculiar support for Pat Buchanan’s 1999 presidential bid. As for her support for teaching creationism alongside evolution in public school science classes, it seems profoundly misguided, playing into overwrought Democratic conspiracy theories about a “Republican war on science.” 

There is, in short, plenty in Palin’s record that deserves serious scrutiny. It should be possible to have that debate without Democrats distorting what that record is.


Jacob Laksin is a senior editor for FrontPage Magazine. He is a 2007 Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellow. His e-mail is jlaksin@gmail.com