While many Democrats are laughing at McCain's “folly,” my interviews with local Alaskans in the last 24 hours suggest McCain’s selection was smarter than they perceive. If Democratic attacks on Palin are to gain traction, they won’t be about inexperience. They’ll be about how much she could be like Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzalez.
Sarah-- everyone in Alaska just calls her Sarah, "just like Hillary," is VERRRRY popular, with ratings as high as 90%.
She's known as a populist reformer, since she took on Randy Rudrick, the head of the state Republican party. Rudrick was fined because of her intervention. It seems he was, working for the state, and on state time and pay, making Republican party calls, sending out emails on state-owned computers. Sarah reported him. He's still the Republican party head and needless to say, they don't get along well.
Sarah, her husband Todd and four of the five kids live at home in Wasilla, just under an hour from Anchorage. The fifth son enlisted to fight in Iraq.
She commutes to Juneau, but doesn't go there often because she's set up an office in Anchorage. There has been pressure, from corporate interests to move the capitol to Anchorage, so her practice serves their interests well. The easier to meet with lobbyists, perhaps?
No wonder everyone loves her.
The chink in Mrs. average's armor may be “troopergate.” She fired the supervisor of her sister's former policeman husband when the man refused to fire her brother-in-law. Seems her brother-in-law was in a nasty divorce with her sister.
Now, it turns out that this isn't the first time Sarah fired someone. When she was the Mayor of Wasilla, (about 5,000 population at the time,) she fired the Chief of Police. This led to a lawsuit and an out of court settlement paid for by the public.
More than one leader in the Alaska Democratic party told me, off the record, that her reputation was "my way or the highway. "When she ran the city of Wasilla-- she was the same way—“reward friends, punish enemies, get personal."
These sound like the kinds of personality characteristics Dick Cheney could relate to. And let's not forget dear, pliable, ever cooperative Alberto Gonzalez and his team of partisan players who hired and fired based upon the most illegal criteria. Sarah might fit in very nicely and, with that pretty face, she just might evade comparisons to Darth Vader or Cruella, even though her history shows the potential to be worse.
The problem is, this pretty mom, whose husband Todd is such a regular union guy (funny how his employer BP Oil has let him take off time as needed, what with his wife being gov and all) will be very likable to millions.
Patti Higgins, head of the Alaska Democratic party, told me she fills in a lot of gaps for McCain. “He's old. she's young. He has a lot of houses. She has one.”
He's filthy rich, thanks to his wife. She's average income.
He's become an obedient suckup to the Republican, neocon, evangelical powers that be. She's a reformer who turned in the head of the Republican party.