Sunday, August 31, 2008

VP Thoughts

Well, both major party candidates have made their vice presidential choices with Obama choosing Delaware Senator Joe Biden and McCain picking Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. I have to say that both picks surprised me a little bit, but the more you look at each choice, the more you see why each candidate went in the direction they did.

Obama's pick of Biden was a pretty obvious one: Biden is a long-time Senator who sits on the Foreign Relations committee in Congress. Since Obama lacks both Congressional and foreign policy experience, it only makes sense that he choose a running mate who has substantially more experience in those areas. That said, Obama's message of "change" took a major hit to me by picking a long-time politician who's been part of the status quo Obama is claiming to try and change, though I wasn't exactly convinced Obama's "change" was anything new. McCain's pick of Palin was a bit more surprising to me, though like Obama's pick of Biden it has its own ironies. McCain's biggest criticism of Obama is Obama's lack of experience, yet Palin is equally inexperienced and even more so on the Federal level. Interesting how the VP picks seem to contradict each candidate's main message, huh? Anyway, at first I was a bit disappointed McCain didn't pick Mitt Romney as I'm still a big Romney fan. Him being a fellow Mormon is an added bonus, but I think Romney's business skills and his experience as governor of Massachusetts were valuable tools that could've been used to the country's advantage, particularly in balancing the budget. That said, the more I've read about Palin, the more I like her. For one she has delivered on her campiagn promises as governor of Alaska. While Alaska is hardly the most populous state (ranked 47th), nevertheless fulfilling things that a candidate has promised is something I haven't seen a lot of in politics, especially in regards to ending corruption and reducing spending. She was able to do both in Alaska, even going after members of her own party to reduce wasteful government spending. Her not being afraid to call out members of her own party is something I think is a rare strength in politics today. How often to we see corruption brushed under the rug by people in the same party as the offender? Can you say Lewinsky scandal (among others on BOTH sides)??? Her being a mother of five is a big plus for me too as she understands the pressures and importance of motherhood. I think that plays into her no-nonsense attitude about wasteful spending and corruption as well. About the only thing I disagree with her on is her abortion stance. While I also oppose "abortions of convenience," in cases of rape, incest, or the mother's life is in danger I believe that is a place where the woman should have the choice to abort or not. When people just fool around and then the girl gets pregnant, that was a conscious choice she made (to have sex); rape and incest are not choices; they are violations, so having a choice is something I think should still be available (meaning abortion shouldn't be completely illegal, but it also shouldn't be widely available and promoted as an alternative to common sense and responsible living). Even in cases of rape, incest, or the mother's live being in danger, that is still something that is a very personal choice for the mother and shouldn't be a definite yes or no for every case. So I guess I'm pro-life and pro-responsible choice. =)

The one important thing that Palin brings, albeit very little, is executive experience. As little as she has as governor (two years), she still has two more years than anyone else in the field as McCain, Obama, and Biden have all been legislators. Being Governor is much closer to being President than being a Senator is since they involve much of the same skills in leadsership. I think the ideal candidate for me would be someone with both legislative and executive experience so they not only have the skills to put together a good cabinet, but also understand the legislative process and what needs to go into it to be successful. Senator Voinovich of Ohio comes to mind as he has had extensive experience in both the executive (Mayor of Cleveland and Governor of Ohio) and legislative (Senator). The important thing to keep in mind, however, is that we're voting for President, not Vice President. True, if the President dies the VP takes over, but when you look at history, that isn't exacly a common occurrance. Democrats keep harping on McCain's age like he could die in office just from natural causes-- he could indeed-- but Obama unfortunately has just as much chance of dying from natural causes or even being assassinated as McCain does. It's the sad truth that I hope never happens, but it is certainly possible.

In the end, as someone who is pretty much assured of voting for McCain at this point since I agree with his stances more than Obama's, I'm happy with the choice of Palin as VP. I think she could truly help bring about the real change we need in Washington (responsible spending, accountability). My one concern is the charge against her related to abuse of power. I hope it's not true, but if it is she needs to face the consequences of it. One thing is for sure: whichever tandem wins this election in November WILL make history. Who would've thought that a few months ago? I've also noticed that no matter who McCain or Obama would've chosen, those who are opposed to them would find major faults with their selection. It's just the way we work as humans! And lastly, no, I don't think Obama choosing Clinton would've been an "unstoppable" duo as my experience tells me too many Americans view Obama and Clinton as too far left (I've found most Americans are pretty close to the center politically--moderate-- maybe leaning a little to the right) and Clinton embodies the status quo even more than Biden does, so it would've stood even more in contrast to Obama's message of "change" to have her on the ticket.

No comments: