Posted by: Kristy | August 29, 2008

In this humble opinion …

Another woman is in the running for the White House.

Sen. John McCain this afternoon announced his decision to choose Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate on the Republican Party’s presidential ticket.

Virtually flying under the radar in the speculation leading up to McCain’s pick (I haven’t heard much about her until now), Palin is considered by some to be a long-shot due to her relative inexperience in national politics, and by others a welcome addition due to her gender, her socially conservative constructs and her track record of pushing for governmental spending reform.

What she’s got going for her:

• She’s a woman, and a strong, outspoken woman at that. McCain seems to be shooting to grab the voters left to sea when Sen. Hillary Clinton was denied the Democratic presidential nod.

• She supports selective drilling in Alaska, while McCain supports expanding off-shore drilling. Palin’s experience on the Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission gives her a different perspective on the safety and regulation surrounding the issue, while also opening a fresh view from a state that, let’s face it, is going to play heavily in this country’s fuel problem as we pursue alternative energy resources.

• She is outspokenly “pro-life” and opposes same-sex marriage. This could go either way. This election, I’m less concerned with legislating morality (as long as we don’t legislate against morality) and want to focus on other issues more pressing. I am very much of the opinion that a fetus’ human rights begin at conception. I hate the idea of abortion. But I don’t think we should legislate against it because then we go back to people finding alternative and more dangerous ways of producing the same results. I’m all about legislating mandatory education. We can’t stop a woman’s decision, but she should be required to weigh every aspect and repercussion before. I think we should be showing the gruesome abortion videos in high school sex education classes. But I digress.

• Her track record is with the working class. She was a mother who worked as a broadcast sports journalist for years. She has a degree in journalism, not law or public administration. She’s just a woman who had ideas and worked to implement them, which may sit well with other blue-collar workers who see her as coming from a different angle.

She served on city council and as city mayor, which means she’s dealt with issues close to working-class America’s heart.

Potential hangups:

• She is outspokenly “pro-life” and opposes same-sex marriage. Again, this could go either way.

• With so many voters expressing concern over McCain’s advanced age, a large question looms in will Palin be prepared to take over running the country if the president dies? Her lack of play in the national arena could hurt her in this area, though we have to remember that the president’s pull only extends so far. We still have a governing body called Congress.

Also, let’s not forget that Sen. Barack Obama does not have decades of national experience behind him, either. He’s still in his first Congressional term. McCain and Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden (D-Delaware) have the years in national office their counterparts lack.

Though, unfortunately, I think Biden’s too much of a career politician to have fresh perspective, and though I agree with him to a degree, some of his social policies are too left-leaning for me to jump behind (I happen to want Supreme Court Justices who interpret the Constitution more strictly). I like some of his position on energy, the economy, health care and education, though from a personal economic and business perspective I do think privatized social security has benefits.

One of my biggest issues with the Democratic ticket is while I agree that historically the health of the economy reflects the health of the middle class, I don’t know if the proposals to supposedly assist the middle class will do that much good right now

The Obama campaign’s proposal to give $1,000 in energy rebates to families, then tax large oil companies’ “windfall profits” in order to invest millions of dollars in energy research. OK, I’m all about alternative fuels research. I’m not necessarily all about taxes, especially on large companies. Let’s look at this from a business perspective for a moment. First of all, there really is no such thing as “windfall profits” to a business. You can’t have someone tell you that you made too much money, that’s just silly. But let’s say they did make too much money, for sake of argument. If we tax those profits, costing the company more money, what’s the first thing they’re going to do? Raise their prices to cover increasing costs incurred by said tax. Who do these higher prices hurt? The middle class.

Also, when it comes to the cost of health care, where is the idea to cut malpractice lawsuits? People keep talking about the high costs of health care, but the McCain ticket is the only one to address the idea that medical malpractice lawsuits contribute to these higher costs.

TORT REFORM: Passing Medical Liability Reform. We must pass medical liability reform that eliminates lawsuits directed at doctors who follow clinical guidelines and adhere to safety protocols. Every patient should have access to legal remedies in cases of bad medical practice but that should not be an invitation to endless, frivolous lawsuits.” ( Johnmccain.com.)

From an economic perspective, the more physicians are being sued frivolously, the more their costs must increase to cover insurance costs and legal fees. Everyone deserved legal support in the case of true malpractice, but something needs to be done to keep people from taking a chance on a lawsuit on a hope and a prayer because they might come out ahead. This article is from 2005, and I’d like to find more current numbers, but it still provides good thought fodder.

I like the changes Obama presents for healthcare — expanding coverage for children, looking at mental health care more seriously, and implementing a small business tax credit. The thing is, how are we going to pay for all of these good ideas? Just asking.

So what do I think of Gov. Sarah Palin? Well, I was kind of hoping for Sen. Joe Lieberman. Still, she bears watching. Let’s see how she campaigns.

In this humble opinion … can I pick things I like from both tickets and make a third option? No? Sigh.

(This Times op/ed is worth a look.)

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