Monday, September 08, 2008

A Conservative Viewpoint
- Why Did McCain Choose Sara Palin?

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

Last week I had the opportunity to be on the floor at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul. On Monday with Hurricane Gustav bearing down on the Gulf Coast, the RNC scheduled a three hour abbreviated session for the assembled delegates. Everything was on hold. The momentum, gained the previous Friday with Sen. John McCain’s surprise selection of Alaska Gov. Sara Palin as his running mate, appeared in jeopardy. Fortunately, the impact of the storm was much less severe than originally anticipated. Good news for those living on or near the Gulf and good news for the convention.

The buzz clearly was all about Palin. Delegates were very familiar with McCain, but like the rest of America, we knew little about Alaska’s chief executive. Was this a political ploy on the part of Republican’s in hopes of attracting disillusioned Hillary voters? Or was this proof positive that when Senator McCain said he intended on shaking up the establishment in Washington he really meant it?

The candidate of change is supposed to be Barrack Obama. While a great campaign theme, it appears an Obama presidency would create little change from the political status quo and gridlock that has Washington in a virtual state of paralysis. Obama has absolutely no history of effectively working across party lines in the U. S Senate.

His running mate, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, is a 36 -year member of the Senate. His voting record indicates he is equally averse to real change. Both he and Obama seldom, if ever, buck the wishes of liberal interest groups or promote bi-partisanship.

McCain is no newcomer to Washington either, having served four years in the U. S. House of Representatives and the last 22 years in the U. S. Senate. But McCain has the habit of irritating members of his own party on occasion by working across party lines on legislative initiatives dealing with subjects like campaign finance reform, immigration and climate change. This habit has not endeared him to many of the party faithful. In fact his “maverick” image almost cost him his party’s nomination for president earlier this year.

McCain’s first choice for Vice President was unquestionably Sen. Joe Lieberman from Connecticut, a former Democrat who is now an Independent. Lieberman, like McCain, has a bit of that free -wheeling spirit that McCain feels comfortable with. His selection as McCain’s running mate however, would have led to disaster at the polls in November. The conservative base-essential to a Republican victory in November- would have been completely turned off.

Former Governors Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee would have been very acceptable to conservatives as McCain’s running mate- but not this year.

McCain ultimately realized if he were to win in a year when the odds seemed against him, he would have to shake things up. His announcement of Sara Palin- a maverick in her own right who has also taken on the Republican establishment in her state as well as the big oil companies-would be the perfect choice. McCain-ever the non-conformist- appears to have struck gold not only in the Alaska foothills, but across America.

The talk from the Democrats about Palin’s selection being nothing more than a political stunt was put to rest when she electrified the convention on Wednesday evening in front of a nationwide television audience almost equal to that of Obama’s acceptance speech in Denver the previous Thursday evening.

Something very special was taking place that can only be compared to what many American’s felt when the Democrats nominated the first black candidate to ever run for the presidency six days earlier. Even those who are not enamored by Senator Obama’s positions on the issues should be proud of this historic achievement. It is a giant step forward, not just for black Americans, but for all Americans to have finally crossed another racial divide.

Now, to Hillary supporters I’ll be the first to say that Palin is no Hillary Clinton. They are two uniquely different individuals, who have differing views on many political and social issues of our times. They are, however, both women, and as a man I came to realize Wednesday evening in St. Paul why it is so important that we as a nation once and for all cross the great gender divide as well.

Observing many of the women gathered in the hall-young and old- listening to Palin’s address, I sensed I was witnessing more than history. It was as if we as a nation are finally nearing the end of the epic struggle for women’s rights and equality in America. And with all due respect to Sen. Clinton - and I sincerely mean that - it may be more fitting for that glass ceiling to be broken by a woman, not born of privilege, but someone who represents an average American with old fashioned American values.

As a wife and mother who has achieved great success in a man’s world, her story is resonating with women - and men - everywhere. She represents a combination of the innocence of the ‘50s with the realities of today. As a mother of five, she must be focused on the future and in the process is focused on ours as well.

Young girls today are in desperate need of role models other than those provided by pop-culture stars. Here is a role model who has risen from a very humble background, achieving personal and professional success not by becoming an overnight sensation with the recording of a song or acting in a movie or MTV video, but by remaining committed to beliefs and a value system that are at the core of America’s strength - the family. Getting back to those basics are the real change America needs for the future.

Senator McCain is betting America will agree with him that Governor Palin is up to the task. If they do, the Republican Party and American politics will never be the same again.

Ever since I worked for Arnold Schwarzenegger in his first campaign, I have been frustrated with the future of conservatism and the Republican Party. The implementation of our claimed agenda was abandoned by George Bush and the Republicans in Washington. It became clear that Party leadership was paying lip service to freedom and free enterprise, but was as willing as the Democrats to enlarge the federal government bureaucracies which destroy freedom. This was not conservative, or even American as far as I am concerned.

Governor Palin’s track record so far indicates someone who is not a big government person. She seems more practical and common sense oriented . . . and clearly hates the corruption that destroyed the Republican Party in 2006.

The selection of John McCain for our candidate this year is as much a repudiation of Bush-Hastert-Delay quadrupling pork barrel spending as it is an alignment with the strategy on defending our nation against the Islamo-fascist threat. The Republican Party is composed of people who are ethical and patriotic. Palin seems to reinforce both those views while proving with her life choices that she is a moral traditional pioneer American. No wonder Republicans are excited.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home