Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Look past distractions when considering Palin’s new position

Can she? Should she?

Alaskans, and the rest of the world, are moving past the initial shock of Gov. Sarah Palin’s debut as GOP presidential hopeful John McCain’s running mate and on to other issues.

Well, we’re trying to, anyway. It’s been a whirlwind since the announcement, with new developments cropping up daily to feed the frenzy.

The initial reaction had all the depth of analysis of a spit take: “He named Sarah?! From Alaska? Really?”

Just as people started to put some thought into why Alaska’s governor was invited onto the national political scene, and what ramifications the selection has for the presidential race, the country’s jaw dropped again.

Is she qualified... Wait, her daughter’s pregnant!?!

Hopefully, but probably not realistically, this distraction won’t draw attention for long, and the focus can go back to what’s really important in all this: Is McCain-Palin what’s best for the country?

With a selection this colorful, unexpected and controversial, it’s difficult not to be drawn off track. Even Alaskans are chuckling at the prospect of snowmachines parked on the White House lawn.

Palin is doing wonders for Alaska’s image. For once, we’re making headlines for something other than corruption, pork barrel spending or the wacky “Alaskana” stories the media in the Lower 48 likes to use to represent our state, generally involving wild animal high jinks, somebody freezing or ethnic food choices.

Palin proves we’re more than just that. Alaska, and our governor, is a serious political force grappling with issues of relevance to the entire world.

That’s why it’s so important to get over the surprise and consider the real issue: whether Palin is capable and qualified to be vice president.

Her lack of governmental experience dogged her during her gubernatorial run. If McCain has to count her PTA experience as a qualifier for vice presidency, that’s a bad sign.
But she beat that stigma once and proved she can function well enough as governor to get her party to sit up and take notice.

Can she do it again? Would the country benefit if she does?

That remains to be seen.

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