Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska
Since yesterday's shocking arrival of Gov. Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate there has been the usual cable news and print blathering about the pick from those who know little about her. But what about the journalists close to home -- in Alaska -- who know her best and have followed her career for years?
For the past 24 hours, the pages and web sites of the two leading papers up there have raised all sorts of issues surrounding Palin, from her ethics problems to general lack of readiness for this big step up.
A reporter for the Anchorage daily, Gregg Erickson, even did an online chat with the Washington Post, in which he revealed that Palin's approval rating in the state was not the much-touted 80% but 65% and sinking -- and that among journalists who followed it might be in the "teens."
Here are excerpts from the editorials in the two leading papers.
From the Daily Miner in Fairbanks:
Sen. John McCain's selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate was a stunning decision that should make Alaskans proud, even while we wonder about the actual merits of the choice....Alaskans and Americans must ask, though, whether she should become vice president and, more importantly, be placed first in line to become president.
In fact, as the governor herself acknowledged in her acceptance speech, she never set out to be involved in public affairs. She 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?And from the Anchorage Daily News:
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.
[I}t's stunning that someone with so little national and international experience might be heartbeat away from the presidency.
Gov. Palin is a classic Alaska story. She is an example of the opportunity our state offers to those with talent, initiative and determination...
McCain picked Palin despite a recent blemish on her ethically pure resume. While she was governor, members of her family and staff tried to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from the Alaska State Troopers. Her public safety commissioner would not do so; she forced him out, supposedly for other reasons. While she runs for vice-president, the Legislature has an investigator on the case.
For all those advantages, Palin joins the ticket with one huge weakness: She's a total beginner on national and international issues.
Gov. Palin will have to spend the next two months convincing Americans that she's ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency....