How a person goes about endeavoring to pander to a religious, ethnic, orientation, or gender minority tells a lot about them. It tells a lot about how that person feels about that minority or minorities. Who can forget James G. Watt, Secretary of the Interior under Ronald Reagan, who attempted to appear diversity minded by saying about his staff:
"I have a black, a woman, two Jews and a cripple. And we have talent."
Such a person obviously has no respect for African Americans, Jews, women, or the physically handicapped. Republican elected officials and appointees often have problems with diversity. They either are insulting, like former Virginia Senator George Allen who called a dark Indian-American "macaca" an ethnic slur meaning 'monkey', or, you have the people like Watt and now McCain who are trying to appear diversity minded but come off as completely disrespectful.
When you appoint a minority that has no interest in furthering the issues of that minority, it is insulting and disrespectful. The Clarence Thomas appointment to the Supreme Court is a perfect example. African Americans are concerned about opportunity, good education, equality and fairness, gentrification of their neighborhoods, affirmative action, etc. Clarence Thomas is not interested in any of those things and never has been. He is a white person with a tan as far as politics is concerned. McCain selecting Palin is a similar pick. Women are concerned about equality, being treated as they are the intellectual equals of men, equal pay for equal work, having the right to determine what will happen with their bodies, education for their children. Women are concerned about the treatment of animals. Palin is not interested in any of those issues. Palin is into guns, hunting, and putting trophies of her kills on the wall (who does this anymore anyway? You want to hunt, fine, but who puts animal heads on a wall? What kind of special talent does it take that you would want to display to take a high-powered rifle and kill an animal?) (1). She is against giving women the right to choose what will happen with their own bodies. She has never made any effort to work for a woman's right to have equal pay for equal work. Her main educational issue is to have "intelligent design" aka Biblical creationism, taught alongside evolution in science class (2). Politically, Palin is a middle aged Republican White Male who looks young and doesn't have a penis. As far as this selection being groundbreaking, didn't the Democrats do this 24 years ago when Walter Mondale selected Geraldine Ferraro to be his running mate? Not only are Republicans crass dolts when it comes to diversity, they are a quarter of a century too late.
One of the more interesting aspects of Palin's selection as GOP Veep is the experience and intelligence issue. McCain and others have tried to attack Obama on experience, but there is a world of difference in the education and experience and intelligence of Obama and Palin. Elected officials who are members of Palin's own party in Alaska and who know her are raising red flags. Alaska' State Senate President Lyda Green, a Republican, said of Palin, "She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president?" (3) Palin has been the Governor of Alaska for around a year. Alaska is a beautiful state, but it has less than a quarter of the population of Brooklyn, New York (683,000 residents of Alaska to Brooklyn's 2.5 Million). She has a Bachelors Degree in Journalism from the University of Idaho. That isn't the same level of education or intellect as a Harvard educated lawyer who was named to the University's law review. Her Gubernatorial experience isn't equivalent to being a Senator from Illinois who deals with national level issues. A month ago, Palin had this to say about the position of Vice President, "But as for that VP talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day?" (4) Palin makes Dan Quayle look like a Rhodes Scholar.
What we know of Palin's judgment and ethics is not encouraging. As reported in the Anchorage Daily News on October 22, 2006 that Palin admitted being in favor of continuing to fund and build the $400 Million Gravina Island Bridge, which was known in the press as "The Bridge to Nowhere". She continued to be in favor of the bridge until it received wider scrutiny in the Alaskan and national press. Palin likes to fire people for political and/or personal reasons. When she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, she fired the police chief for supporting the election of her opponent in his personal time. (5) She was sued for this and she won the suit because the relevant law said that she had the power to fire people for any reason. As Governor, she is in ethics trouble for trying to have her ex brother in law, Alaska State Trooper Mike Wooten, fired because he is in a difficult divorce and custody battle with Palin's sister. She tried to have Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan fire Wooten, but Monegan refused and as a result, Palin fired Monegan. Palin is being investigated by an independent investigator hired by the Alaska State Legislature to determine whether this firing of Monegan constitutes an abuse of power. (6) Palin has admitted that her staff had made over 25 contacts with public safety officials about firing Wooten.
In making a desperate move to stay competitive with Obama, McCain has shown that he does not have the judgment to be President. McCain has displayed a disgusting cynicism with regard to women and women's issues by appointing a lightweight inexperienced woman to be his running mate that has no interest in furthering women's issues when better choices abound within the Republican Party. For McCain to have appointed someone who has issues with ethics and abuse of power before they even attain a national office shows that he makes decisions with a wanton disregard to their potential effect on the country. McCain’s choice will backfire and deservedly so.
1 - KTUU, NBC's Alaska Affiliate, "Wolf Hunters Offered Reward", http://www.ktuu.com/Global/story.asp?S=6262720
2 - The New York Times, "Woman in the News, Palin, an Outsider Who Charms", http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/30/us/politics/30palin.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin
3 - The Anchorage News Daily, "Choice stuns state politicians", http://www.adn.com/news/politics/story/510249.html
4 - NBC's Kudlow and Company, "http://www.cnbc.com/id/25970197"
5 - The Anchorage Daily News, "Foes back off their Choice to Push Mayor", http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=AS&p_theme=as&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0F79408854D0C20B&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM
6 - The Anchorage Daily News, "Hired help will probe Monegan dismissal" http://www.adn.com/monegan/story/478090.html