Usually vice presidential candidates don’t demand much focus. But in an election in which senior citizen John McCain could easily die in the White House if he gets there - since he looks like he is about 90 - we have to review Sarah Palin’s record. And that record is as shallow as the Republican Party’s platform.
The Anchorage Daily News recently wrote of Palin at http://www.adn.com/opinion/story/518451.html that as governor of Alaska she has used “her charisma and a simple, clear vision to mobilize mass support for her agenda, then leaves the details and heavy lifting to others.” In other words, she is about as shallow as, or maybe even more shallow than, the present White House occupant.
Can I say it? Yes, Palin is worse than Bush.
As governor, Palin has focused almost exclusively on issues that don’t matter as much to most people as whether they have a job and health insurance. Those issues include oil tax reform and state incentives for building a natural gas pipeline. Even Bush as Texas governor, lifted a few fingers to try to get more people jobs and health coverage.
Alaska’s unemployment rate in July was one of the highest in the nation at 6.9 percent, well above the national rate of 5.7 percent. Alaska’s rate has gone up almost a percentage point in the past year. What has Palin done to create jobs beyond supporting the Bridge to Nowhere?
Alaska ranked third highest behind South Dakota and Wyoming for the rate of young people residing in juvenile detention and correctional facilities in 2006. Some 430 youth per 100,000 were incarcerated in 2006, well above the U.S. average of 295. What has Palin done to keep young people from going to jail beyond insisting that young women have babies even if they are rape or incest victims?
Alaska also has a higher than average percentage of children living in families in which a parent does not have full-time, year-round employment, at 42 percent. And Alaska has a higher than average percentage of people without health insurance, at 18.2 percent. What has Palin done to help people gain health insurance and decent jobs besides try to ban books from the local library?
Then there is the reported racist side. Reports say Palin called Obama "Sambo" and Hillary Clinton a “b----.” They also say she regularly calls Alaska’s Aboriginal people racial slurs. For one such report, click here.What was Palin's record on appointing minorities and women to positions in her administration as Alaska governor and mayor of Wasilla? Does she support affirmative action? Did she ever help increase the pool of loans given to minority and women owned businesses? These are important questions that need to be answered in any report on her positions.
According to author and political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Palin has made no mention of what she has done as governor to enforce Alaska's affirmative-action plan on her Web site or campaign materials. The plan had been in place since 1998.
Alaska’s Eskimos, Indians and Aleuts comprise more than 15 percent of the state's population. Indian activist groups have protested discrimination and disparities in health and education. There is no record that Palin has spoken out on their behalf, according to Hutchinson [see http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/09/05/EDFG12NLTV.DTL&type=printable].
In photos of Palin signing bills and posing with others on her Web site at http://gov.state.ak.us/photos.html, I could find only one minority face.
As mayor of the town of Wasilla, she pushed to build an ice hockey stadium rather than schools and roads. She left Wasilla millions of dollars in debt because of the project.
Palin has made some disturbing statements that show her ignorance, such as not knowing what the vice president of the United States does. Hint: the present one pretty much runs the Bush administration. Palin has said that the war in Iraq is “God's task.” Palin has actively sought the support of the fringe Alaska Independence Party, which wants the state to vote on secession from the U.S.