The electorate has a mere 66 days to figure out whether Sarah Palin has the ability to lead this nation, which is a shorter time than any other V.P. candidate in my memory. She has emerged from a political backwater by the selection of one man who had met her once before making a decision. This man, John McCain, hopes to become the oldest person inaugurated President, at an age in which his father and both grandfathers were already deceased.
Every other candidate on the national tickets have been in federal office, penned memoirs and been campaigning for years. Only Palin is unknown, which is why her speech this week was an important introduction to her candidacy and was the most watched spectacle of its kind.
And how did Gov. Palin greet her would-be loyal minions? Answer: With all the typical Rovian half-truths and outright lies to which we have become accustomed these past several years.
To wit: She began by bragging that she stopped the federal funding for the "bridge to nowhere" which gained international acclaim as the most egregious example or pork barrel spending. Palin smirked that if Alaskans needed a bridge, they'd fund it themselves, thus portraying her state as the self-sufficient stalwarts who eschew handouts from the feds. Unfortunately, Ms. Palin failed to divulge that she backed the funding until it was publicized, i.e., she was for it until she was against it, and then even when the bridge project was cancelled Alaska kept the money anyway.
The second falsehood involved Palin's snarky rejoinder about Senator Obama "writing two memoirs but not a single major law or reform, even as a state senator." Unfortuantely, again, the good governor failed to learn that Senator Obama has infact co-sponsored several bills in both the US Senate and Illinois Senate on a host of issues including disclosure for federal funding, ethics reform, police brutality, and democracy promotion in Africa.
Thirdly, Gov. Palin used the same tired scare tactics about taxes that Republicans have been abusing for decades. If current taxes need to be raised it's only because the current GOP administration, backed by GOP congresses until 2006, have spent us into an economic coma. But the fact is that when Palin says that Obama will "raise income taxes", she is speaking only to the top 2% of wage earners. In fact, for the vast majority of taxpayers, the taxes paid under the McCain and Obama plans are almost identical. Those making over $250,000 will pay more under Obama, but everyone else pays less. Under McCain, everyone pays less tax, but the high earners pay a lot less.
The other interesting factoid about the two tax plans is that the McCains stand to save almost $400,000 in taxes under his tax scheme and only $6000 under Obama's, so how come nothing is made of this apparent vested interest?
Sure, the convention is a time of raucus partisan sparring and all is meant in good fun. The problem I have as a voter is that Sarah Palin has very little time to present herself as a serious chief executive. Senator Obama has run a stellar campaign, held a US Senate seat and penned those pesky memoirs, so his introduction is considerable. The other two Senators have been in national spotlight for decades and their records and histories are a matter of record.
Perhaps the McCain/Palin ticket is not interested in pursuing my vote, and I'm okay with that, but if they do feel a need to appeal to me, then I would suggest that Governor Palin dispense with the cute rhetoric and start a serious discussion about the manner in which she would govern.
Sixty-five days... and counting.