The crack McCain team-- are they on
crack?-- has rushed up to Alaska to see how deep the doo doo is that surrounds Palin. One wonders why they didn't do this carefully and systematically over the last two months-- or even last week
? Although Walt Monegan
, the Alaska Public Safety Commissioner she fired when he refused to fire her ex-brother-in-law, has already started talking, they also want to get the nitty gritty from Alaska GOP chairman Randy Reudrich, who seems to have come to the conclusion that Palin should probably be impeached. And then there's Andrew Halcro
, who knows a lot-- and has written a lot-- about why Palin fired Monegan
So why was Walt Monegan fired out of the blue? Why would Governor Palin send a surrogate to fire her Public Safety Commissioner and then not have a decent explanation for the public? And why would Monegan's replacement be telling people three days before Monegan got fired, that he was going to become the new Commissioner of Public Safety?
Walt Monegan got fired for all of the wrong reasons. Walt Monegan got fired because he had the audacity to tell Governor Palin no, when apparently nobody is allowed to say no to Governor Palin.
Monegan said no, he couldn't cut his budget because his State Troopers were already being stretched to the limit and public safety suffering. He said no, he couldn't cut his budget because fuel costs for planes, boats and patrol vehicles soaring, while crime in rural Alaska was putting more demands on the Troopers transportation system.
But more alarming than any budget battle, Monegan said no to firing a State Trooper who had divorced Governor Palin's sister because the guy was being maliciously hounded by Palin's family.
And not just that; Monegan's firing came after his Colonel had to reprimand the governor's office for meddling in department personnel affairs.
The mainstream media keeps talking about how wildly popular she is in Alaska. And maybe she is. Or maybe they're just happy she's not as overtly corrupt-- and headed to prison-- like most of Alaska's other top office holders. The Republican corruption up there goes way beyond just Ted Stevens and Don Young, even if they profited most from it. Nevertheless, Alaska newspapers don't seem as enthusiastic about McCain's choice as the TV news anchors are all indicating. Many, in fact, are now worrying that the choice has shown incompetence and unbridled willingness to put the country's best interests in jeopardy for a couple of imaginary polling points.
In an editorial
, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
points out that Palin "has never publicly demonstrated the kind of interest, much less expertise, in federal issues and foreign affairs that should mark a candidate for the second-highest office in the land. Republicans rightfully have criticized the Democratic nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, for his lack of experience, but Palin is a neophyte in comparison; how will Republicans reconcile the criticism of Obama with the obligatory cheering for Palin?…Most people would acknowledge that, regardless of her charm and good intentions, Palin is not ready for the top job. McCain seems to have put his political interests ahead of the nation's when he created the possibility that she might fill it. It's clear that McCain picked Palin for reasons of image, not substance."
The Anchorage Daily News
is the biggest newspaper in the state (by far) and they're not detecting universal celebration
for their native daughter's ascension to national prominence. "She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president? said [State Senate President Lyda Green
, a Republican from Palin's hometown of Wasilla]. "Look at what she's done to this state. What would she do to the nation?"More
from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Lately her reputation within the state has been bit by allegations of mixing political and family business, and by mistreating one of the state's premier marine mammals. Palin's catch-phrase of "openness and transparency" has been tarnished by revelations that staff members tried to have Palin's former brother-in-law fired from his job as an Alaska state trooper. Also, the governor of the only state with polar bears has adamantly opposed listing the animals as a threatened species, despite strong evidence that global warming has devastated their sea ice environment off Alaska's coast. Dermot Cole, a longtime columnist for Alaska's second largest newspaper, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, called McCain's choice of Palin "reckless" and questioned her credentials. "Sarah Palin's chief qualification for being elected governor was that she was not Frank Murkowski," Cole said of her enormously unpopular predecessor, who lost favor with Alaskans in part because of unpopular budget cuts. "She was not elected because she was a conservative. She was not elected because of her grasp of issues or because of her track record as the mayor of Wasilla."
Her lies and flip-flips on the notorious Bridge to Nowhere aren't going over all that well in certain parts of the state either. Kate Golden in the Juneau Empire
noted that some in Ketchikan recated to the nomination with concern and ire
: "In her acceptance speech as McCain's running mate Friday morning, Palin held up her opposition to the bridge from Ketchikan to Gravina-- the 'bridge to nowhere'-- as an example of 'the abuses of earmark spending.' …When campaigning in Ketchikan in September 2006, Palin promised Ketchikan residents the bridge."
And, obviously, it isn't just in Alaska, where thoughtful newspaper editorial boards are scratching their heads with dismay at McCain's bizarre choice. The Denver Post
pretty much sums up
how most everyone across the country is reacting:
Palin an odd choice for VP; Alaska guv's inexperience is glaring-- and a probe into the firing of her public safety chief is due just before Election Day: "I served with Hillary Clinton. I know Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is a friend of mine. You, Sarah Palin, are no Hillary Clinton." Sorry to steal Joe Biden's thunder, but we didn't want to wait for the vice presidential candidates' debate to say the obvious. Yes, John McCain, who argues with a straight face that Barack Obama's 12 years in the Illinois legislature and U.S. Senate aren't enough to qualify him to run for president, has picked a running mate who just two years ago was serving as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, population 5,470. In short, the presumptive Republican nominee, an Old Soldier in all senses of that term, drafted the political equivalent of the Unknown Soldier as his co-pilot. McCain's pick of Palin jettisons his attack that Obama isn't ready to lead and looks more like a desperate "Hail Mary" campaign tactic aimed at female voters.
Perhaps playing on McCain's gambling problem, the Detroit News
calls his choice a roll of the dice
-- for us. The Kansas City Star
judged the pick by the same criteria
that they had earlier applied to Obama's choice of Biden. "[T]he most important question in evaluating a vice-presidential pick is whether that person is prepared to step into the Oval Office. Palin, with no national political experience and only a couple years in the Alaska governor's office, is a very tough sell for the Republicans on that score. McCain's age-- he turned 72 on Friday-- certainly doesn't help. The Republican presidential candidate has emphasized the importance of military and national security issues, and taken shots at Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama the Democratic presidential nominee for having only four years of experience in the U.S. Senate. Yet McCain now suggests that someone halfway through her first term as governor is "exactly who this country needs" only one step away from the presidency." And the Tampa Bay Tribune
just flat out calls it a risky choice
"that stunned even some party leaders who fear that voters will have trouble imagining the former beauty queen as commander in chief, if it should ever come to that." The Bangor Daily News
called it puzzling
and concluded that the "pick makes no sense." What you read all over the country are descriptions like "not ready
" (and here
" (and here
), "lack of experience
," and inexcusable
David Gergen, on CNN, pointed to McCain's stark, bare hypocrisy
: "But what surprises me so much is, that John McCain again and again and again has said the transcendent issue of our times is the fight against terrorism and that we live in a dark, dangerous world. And the most important thing is to have a commander in chief that's ready. So, here to reach out-- and he's criticized Barack Obama as not being ready-- to reach out to Sarah Palin who has no national security experience, no national security exposure, and say you're my standby and I'm 72 years old and I've had some bouts with melanoma, I think that's a very large gamble and I wonder how it's going to play out with the American people."UPDATE: MORE REPUBLICANS DISMAYED WITH McCAIN'S HORRIBLE CHOICE
The denunciations are coming in so fast and furiously that I can't even keep up with them. Right wing shill Charles Krauthammer calls McCain's pick "near suicidal
" from a tactical point of view. Noah Millman, who's not even opposed to Palin says "she's totally unqualified
to be President at this point in time. If McCain were to die in February 2009, I hope Palin would have the good sense to appoint someone who is more ready to be President to be her Vice President, on the understanding that she would then resign and be appointed Vice President by her successor." And Mark Halperin at Time sums it up
nicely for all of America: "McCain has failed the ultimate test that any presidential candidate must face in picking a running mate: selecting someone who is unambiguously qualified to be president."
Labels: GOP vice presidential selection, McCain's cynicism, McCain's gambling, McCain's judgment, McCain's mental health, Sarah Palin