Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Could She? Would She? Do Not Rule Her Out

We all know who she is. Her name is Sarah Palin, and she is the current governor of Alaska. Ann Althouse is talking about her today, and some of the merits she would bring to Senator McCain's ticket should he decide to take her as his vice presidential candidate. The notion of her being on the ticket has been posited before and Allah @ Hot Air raised attention to it on a tip from Kevin @ Wizbang regarding Senator McCain's VP search team being spotted in Juneau at the end of May.

Why pick Governor Palin? As Ann Althouse and Kevin note, she would be a fine pick because of her record, but also because she could be the key to Senator McCain picking up disillusioned supporters of Senator Clinton. Fred Barnes wrote a glowing profile of her last year in which he pointed out her strong points:

In 2006, she didn't hesitate. She ran against Gov. Murkowski, who was seeking a second term despite sagging poll ratings, in the Republican primary. In a three-way race, Palin captured 51 percent and won in a landslide. She defeated former Democratic governor Tony Knowles in the general election, 49 percent to 41 percent. She was one of the few Republicans anywhere in the country to perform above expectations in 2006, an overwhelmingly Democratic year. Palin is unabashedly pro life.

With her emphasis on ethics and openness in government, "it turned out Palin caught the temper of the times perfectly," wrote Tom Kizzia of the Anchorage Daily News. She was also lucky. News broke of an FBI investigation of corruption by legislators between the primary and general elections. So far, three legislators have been indicted.

In the roughly three years since she quit as the state's chief regulator of the oil industry, Palin has crushed the Republican hierarchy (virtually all male) and nearly every other foe or critic. Political analysts in Alaska refer to the "body count" of Palin's rivals. "The landscape is littered with the bodies of those who crossed Sarah," says pollster Dave Dittman, who worked for her gubernatorial campaign. It includes Ruedrich, Renkes, Murkowski, gubernatorial contenders John Binkley and Andrew Halcro, the three big oil companies in Alaska, and a section of the Daily News called "Voice of the Times," which was highly critical of Palin and is now defunct. ...

"She's as Alaskan as you can get," says Dan Fagan, an Anchorage radio talk show host. "She's a hockey mom, she lives on a lake, she ice fishes, she snowmobiles, she hunts, she's an NRA member, she has a float plane, and her husband works for BP on the North Slope," Fagan says. Todd Palin, her high school sweetheart, is a three-time winner of the 2,000-mile Iron Dog snowmobile race from Wasilla to Nome to Fairbanks. It's the world's longest snowmobile race. ...

At 32, she was elected mayor of Wasilla, a burgeoning bedroom community outside Anchorage. Though Alaskans tend to be ferociously anti-tax, she persuaded Wasilla voters to increase the local sales tax to pay for an indoor arena and convention center. The tax referendum won by 20 votes. ...

The biggest issue in the campaign was the proposed natural gas pipeline from the North Slope that's crucial to the state's economy. Murkowski had made a deal with the three big oil companies--Exxon, BP, ConocoPhillips--which own the gas reserves to build the pipeline. But the legislature turned it down and Palin promised to create competition for the pipeline contract.

She made three other promises: to end corruption in state government, cut spending, and provide accountability. She's now redeeming those promises.

Palin describes herself as "pro-business and pro-development." She doesn't want the oil companies to sit on their energy reserves or environmental groups to block development of the state's resources. "I get frustrated with folks from outside Alaska who come up and say you shouldn't develop your resources," she says. Alaska needs to be self-sufficient, she says, instead of relying heavily on "federal dollars," as the state does today.

Her first major achievement as governor was lopsided passage by the legislature of the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act, which is designed to attract pipeline proposals this summer. The state is offering $500 million in incentives, but the developer must meet strict requirements. The oil companies have said they won't join the competition.

Palin's tough spending cuts drew criticism from Republican legislators whose pet projects were vetoed. But her popularity doesn't appear threatened. "It's not just that she's pretty and young," says Dittman. "She's really smart. And there's no guile. She says her favorite meal is moose stew or mooseburgers. It wouldn't shock people if that were true."

We know that her pro-life stance might be a turn-off for Senator Clinton's supporters, or at least a few of them. But with her on the ticket, it is another incentive for those supporters to step over to our side of this fight for the presidency. She brings a lot of experience to the ticket, not that we really need it. But she is a solid conservative who has shaken up Alaska since she took office. Her popularity is still in the high 80s -- 86% to be exact as of mid-May. In fact, just six months after her election she was identified by people polled across the country as "the most popular governor" after the walloping handed out by Democrats in the midterm elections of 2006.

Could she be the one? Would she accept the offer? We are not sure, but we know this: We could do worse with what we have. There is speculation that California's newest "residents" are the Romney family just in time to gain the residency needed for a run at the governorship in 2010 when Governor Schwarzenegger is set to leave the governor's mansion. With Senate seats up for grabs, and a possible shot at helming another state, Mitt Romney's possibility on the McCain ticket is slipping away. (This would also help bolster Governor Romney for another run at the presidency possibly in 2016.) Governor Palin would be a perfect fit for John McCain, so we are definitely not ruling out this possibility. Also, her presence there could also entice conservatives to get behind him, and end this petty, internecine fighting.


UPDATE and BUMP: Over at Real Clear Politics Jack Kelly has similar thoughts and a similar argument for Governor Palin so we are not the only ones having these thoughts.


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