A lot has been said in the waning days of the McCain Campaign about Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin. From being a diva to being a dummy, she’s been accused of just about everything. When the McCain/Palin ticket fell short on Election Day, the finger pointing from the McCain camp at Palin was even worse. So let’s chronicle her tenure in national politics, and then tell me the coverage was fair.
She was announced on Friday, August 29 in Dayton, Ohio. Immediately the pundits and the media pointed to her inexperience in her job as Governor. She was Alaska’s chief executive for almost two years, she regulated oil and gas previously, and was the mayor of her home town. Her tenure of being an executive was 12 years. However, folks questioned her capability to run the national government, overlooking the other party’s top dog had no experience running anything ever.
In the aftermath of her announcement as the VP candidate, swarms of reporters scurried up to Alaska to dig up dirt. What they found, or the lack of it, was manifested in the dominating story from the announcement to the convention, her daughter Bristol. It became public that her daughter was pregnant and the father was not married to Palin’s daughter. This error on the part of Bristol Palin was all the media needed, or had, on her mother. They tagged her as an unfit mother, and a trailer trash hillbilly.
This brought up an issue that had a refrain during her entire VP run, how could she be a mother of five and still be Vice-President? This act of blatant sexism went unnoticed by the media who played along with the charade. Her answer was obvious to many, she would raise her children the same way that Barack Obama would raise his, or Joe Biden would raise his, or any other working mom or dad on the planet would raise their children. Apparently, the media had a 1950’s flashback to when women just stayed home to watch the kids. Perhaps Todd Palin should have been the VP.
She proved many of her doubters wrong in her Convention speech. However, many were not amused. Members of the major networks were chomping at the bit to get an interview with Palin. ABC’s Charlie Gibson got the coveted interview. And with a professor’s attitude, with his glasses propped on the end of his nose, Gibson threw questions at her like it was an oral exam. The most notable response was on her supposed non-answer on the “Bush Doctrine”. Palin requested he be more specific. When he was, it was obvious that even he did not know what the doctrine was. In truth, the “Bush Doctrine” was a loose term dubbed by Charles Krauthammer before 9-11. Only after 9-11, and the Iraq war, was the term superseded onto the right of preemptive war. This encounter was used to justify another media thrashing because she was now seen as inexperienced and stupid.
Then there was Katie Couric. Couric’s interview gave another choice statement from Palin, her comment about seeing Russia from Alaska. This was used as an argument that she has no experience in foreign affairs. However, could any of these journalists cite the foreign policy experience of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, who were all Governors before taking the oath of office? Governors don’t have any foreign policy credentials. Again, she was held to an extremely higher standard for a VP candidate than any other candidate in recent memory.
All of this was made a comedic spectacle of by Tina Fey. Fey’s performance, while uncanny, was fuel for the image of this former beauty queen, Alaskan bimbo, who blurts out Sean Hannity’s talking points on a daily basis.
On to the money that was spent on her clothes. Again, an obvious sexist controversy, but still pushed down the people’s throat. The RNC spent a whopping $150,000 on the clothes. But let’s not forget where they are today at this moment, donated to charity. Palin rightfully said that those clothes are like the stage, the lights, and the water. They were just props to enhance her image. If the media wanted to play fair, why haven’t we found out how much Joe Biden’s hair plugs were?
Other controversies included the “troopergate” scandal of which she was cleared of all wrong doing and ethics violations, and her “diva” or “rogue” behavior of which is only substantiated by unnamed sources from bitter McCain staffers.
Overall, what was her real crime that started this whole thing? She wasn’t one of “them”. She wasn’t a Washington insider. She wasn’t on the media’s VP shortlist. She wasn’t an elitist who sipped her champagne at a cocktail party.
She was a normal mother, who cherished and exercised her 2nd amendment right, who was a conservative, and who is a threat to everything the Washington elite holds dear. She is principled, yet pragmatic when needed, the perfect combination for leadership. Plus she could draw tens of thousands of average, everyday Americans, energize them, and inspire them. For all of that she has been dubbed a threat. She was open for any sexist, double standard, unfairness that the media wanted to dish out. But the great thing about her is that she’ll be back. She’ll go right back into the lion’s den, and she may just exit through the door to the oval office.