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The One appears more like anything but


Editorial: From the Right


September 10, 2008
Elections are always about contrast, but this year's presidential race offers voters even more of a choice.

It's ironic that The One, who is promising "hope and change," not to mention heaven and earth to anybody and everybody, selected a Washington insider who has spent 35 years — more than half his life — as a United States senator to be his running mate, while Sen. John McCain, with a history of being a maverick, lived up to that description by choosing a fresh, young face who has also taken on the establishment, including those in her own party, to be his.

Gov. Sarah Palin, the caribou-hunting, pro-life governor from Alaska who fought corrupt members of her own party, has lifted the spirits of conservatives who, while being good soldiers for McCain, weren't overly enthusiastic for the Arizona senator, in part because his maverick ways often conflicted with the their Republican views. However, with Palin, the idealism of Reagan conservatism, something GOP voters felt lacking in McCain, is back.

The proof is in the pudding, and in the two days after the McCain camp rolled out Palin as its veep selection, $10 million was donated to the campaign, bringing his August total to $47 million, the most of any month. Republicans to whom I talked about the selection were genuinely enthused.

Compare that to Democrats' reaction to The One's selection of Beltway Joe Biden. The One's poll numbers actually dipped following the announcement. I guess voters saw the irony of running a campaign based on change — "We are the ones we have been waiting for" — and then selecting a running mate who was first elected when The One, 47, was just 11 years old.

It's often said that voters don't vote based on vice presidential candidates, and, by and large, that's true, and likely will again be the case regarding Beltway Joe. However, McCain's pick of Palin is so inspirational to conservatives (and possibly independents) that some voters may actually cast a McCain-Palin ballot because of her.

While The One/Beltway Joe ticket has been talking a lot about changing the political landscape, they — especially The One — have little to show for it. The One's resume is thinner than the half-sheet of paper it's written on, making it laughable that the Dems have attacked the GOP's No. 2 on their ticket as being inexperienced. While it's a given that McCain is more experience than The One, an argument could easily be made that Palin, at the bottom of the ticket, is more experienced than The One, who sits atop his ticket.

By now, we all know The One's story. He was a community organizer, taught at the University of Chicago, served eight years in the Illinois State Senate, where he voted present, casting neither a "no" or "yes" vote, almost 130 times, then was elected to the U.S. Senate, taking office in 2005, and just a year later began his campaign for president.

His running mate, back before he dropped his second bid for president — the first, 20 years ago, was foiled when he plagiarized then-British Labour Party Leader Neil Kinnock during a debate, correctly said of the presidency: "It can't be on-the-job training." Apparently, Beltway Joe has since taken a U-turn now that he's The One's running mate.

Whereas The One says he has worked across the political aisle during his time as a U.S. senator, pointing to his partnership with Indiana's own Richard Lugar on nonproliferation legislation and Tom Coburn, as well as McCain, on ethics legislation, he hasn't. He hasn't had time to, considering he's been running for president since early 2006. McCain, on the other hand, has (i.e. McCain-Feingold, McCain-Lieberman, McCain-Kennedy), often much to the chagrin of the Republican base.

Palin's experience — both personal and political — prove her more worthy of the office than The One. Her detractors point out that she was on the city council for tiny Wasilla before serving two terms as its mayor, but conveniently forget her tenure as chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission from 2003 to 2004, also serving as its ethics supervisor, as well as her election as governor, where she defeated incumbent Republican Frank Murkowski in the primary and then former Democratic governor Tony Knowles.

More important, she has taken on corruption within her own party, first filing formal complaints against the state GOP chairman and former attorney general for ethics violation after resigning in protest from the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and then as governor, calling out longtime Republican Sen. Ted Stevens regarding a federal investigation into his financial dealings. Palin is also responsible for killing the infamous $398 million "Bridge to Nowhere."

But, it's also her life experiences that make Palin's resume more compelling — and thicker — than The One's. She hasn't had an eye on such lofty political real estate for years and seems to be an ordinary person. Her rhetoric isn't soaring, but is real. And she practices what she preaches.

Staunchly pro-life, Palin, a mother of five, chose to have her infant son Trig Paxson Van Palin (his middle name is a salute to Paxson, a region in Alaska that she and her husband love, and the rock band Van Halen), knowing before his birth that he had Down syndrome, at a time when 90 percent of babies with the disease are aborted.

Even the revelation that her 17-year-old daughter is five months pregnant makes Palin somehow more real. Whereas The One, explaining his pro-choice views, recently said, "If my daughter makes a mistake, I don't want her punished with a baby," Palin and her husband issued a statement regarding their daughter, saying, "We're proud of (our daughter's) decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents. As (our daughter) faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support," adding that their daughter and the father of the baby are planning to get married.

The McCain/Palin ticket may not win in November, in part because Americans are so awestruck by celebrity, which The One's campaign has enthusiastically embraced (speaking before a couple of hundred thousand Germans in Berlin and then 85,000 during his acceptance speech in Denver). However, elections shouldn't be about style, unproven rhetoric and political aspirations. Instead, they should be about substance, principle and people.

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