August 29, 2008

A Sarah Palin Primer.

Here’s what’s at stake: Roe v Wade (the Court is currently at 5-4, if McCain appoints even one new Supreme Court Justice it’ll end abortion rights, which he’s on record as aiming to do).

Here’s what’s at stake: Global Warming. If, in the next few years (scientists agree that we must go to renewable, clean sources in next two years) we don’t reverse course—if our attack on the causes of Global Warming is anything less than full-on, we’ll have gone too far down Unsustainability Road to give our children the fully-functioning world that we take more-or-less for granted.

Here’s what’s at stake: as the oldest Presidential nominee in American history, McCain’s VP choice takes on particular importance—Palin would be one 73-year-old heartbeat away from the Oval Office, as a (conservative) pundit pointed out this morning.

And so, if you told me McCain was gonna pick…

> an inexperienced (she’s served two years thus far), young VP (undercutting his central criticism of Obama, that he “shows promise but is too inexperienced),

> a VP who came from a state so conservative they just re-nominated a Senator currently under trial for corruption charges,

> a VP who was anti-abortion and pro-drilling in the Arctic (something McCain opposes)

…I’d tell you you were nuts. If you then told me his nominee was the anti-abortion first-term Alaskan “Sarah Palin,” it’d come clear: McCain’s going after any Hillary fans who were left unswayed by Hillary Clinton’s and President Bill Clinton’s full-throated and honest speeches in support of Obama at the just-completed DNC.

But will disaffected Hillary supporters go with a ticket that promises to end abortion rights? That’s the question of the day.

The question of last night was whether Obama could deliver a speech to 85,000 fans 30 miles away from where I’m writing this post that would 1) show he’s tough and wise on national security and foreign affairs and 2) show he understands and cares for ordinary Americans (did you know Obama-Biden is, financially, the poorest duo in recent political history, by a mile?). I watched the speech in the backyard of a friend’s 40th birthday party–there were children all over, dogs (including mine, sorry) barking and wrestling, good food and drink, and a big little movie screen hanging from one of the house’s walls. We all gathered for Obama’s speech, and with the exception about his support of nuclear energy and “clean” coal, it hit every base. Half the audience in the Bronco’s stadium (we’ll call it Mile High for old times’ sake) were in tears. Given on the 45th anniversary of MLK Jr.’s I Have A Dream speech on the Mall in Washington, DC, Obama’s speech marked the first time since 1776 that we Americans have seen fit to nominate a black man for President.

More importantly, perhaps, is the character of the man, and his family, and his VP and his family, that we just nominated. He’s the first candidate I’ve seen in my life who combines genuine-ness—actually meaning what he says, being relaxed and spontaneous in his movements and interactions instead of like Kerry and Gore being so over-advised that he loses his own human-ness…with statesmanship—actually caring enough to learn about and move on the issues of our time. Given that, as Gore has famously said, we’ve been borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Middle East to pollute and warm our air and water, it is indeed time for a Change we can Believe in. And so for the next 60 plus days I’ll do everything I can to help Obama get elected in what promises to be another bareknuckles election decided based on a few thousand votes in a few states.

I was so juiced by the speech that I couldn’t go to bed until 3 am, which is saying something, ’cause I’m a tired boy. 

From the NY TImes: The audience estimate of 38.3 million means that Mr. Obama’s speech reached more viewers than the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing, the final “American Idol” or the Academy Awards this year, the Associated Press notes.

Here’s a video where Palin talks about suing the government for trying to protect the Polar Bear at the expense of drilling in ANWAR—drilling that would give the US enough oil for a year, at best. That’s not energy independence.

Here’s a rebuttal, of sorts:

Here’s a constant update from NY Times, including this:  Senator Barbara Boxer sent a strongly worded statement calling Mr. McCain’s choice “dangerous.”

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.

If John McCain thought that choosing Sarah Palin would attract Hillary Clinton voters, he is badly mistaken. The only similarity between her and Hillary Clinton is that they are both women. On the issues, they could not be further apart.

Senator McCain had so many other options if he wanted to put a women on his ticket, such as Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison or Senator Olympia Snowe – they would have been an appropriate choice compared to this dangerous choice. In addition, Sarah Palin is under investigation by the Alaska state legislature which makes this more incomprehensible.

Here’s McCain, announcing the pick as VP of a woman who could be his daughter, age-wise, on his 72nd Bday.

Environmental organizations are beginning to weigh in:

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has been selected by Sen. John McCain as the vice presidential candidate for the Republican ticket.

As a Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund supporter, you are no doubt aware of Governor Palin’s dismal record, from her staunch support for special interests and Big Oil to her terrible assault on wolves and other wildlife.

As much of the nation wonders just who Sarah Palin is, I wanted to pass along my statement that I’ve just released:

Shocking Choice by John McCain

WASHINGTON– Senator John McCain just announced his choice for running mate: Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. To follow is a statement by Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.

“Senator McCain’s choice for a running mate is beyond belief. By choosing Sarah Palin, McCain has clearly made a decision to continue the Bush legacy of destructive environmental policies.

“Sarah Palin, whose husband works for BP (formerly British Petroleum), has repeatedly put special interests first when it comes to the environment. In her scant two years as governor, she has lobbied aggressively to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, pushed for more drilling off of Alaska’s coasts, and put special interests above science. Ms. Palin has made it clear through her actions that she is unwilling to do even as much as the Bush administration to address the impacts of global warming. Her most recent effort has been to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the polar bear from the endangered species list, putting Big Oil before sound science. As unbelievable as this may sound, this actually puts her to the right of the Bush administration.

“This is Senator McCain’s first significant choice in building his executive team and it’s a bad one. It has to raise serious doubts in the minds of voters about John McCain’s commitment to conservation, to addressing the impacts of global warming and to ensuring our country ends its dependency on oil.”

### The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund (www.defendersactionfund.org)

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