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A Fish Called Sarah

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Now I love Monty Python as much as the next guy. They are always good for a belly laugh. But John McCain's vice presidential pick falls more in line with Spamalot than the glory days of Camelot.

As a yellow dog Democrat, I returned from the Denver Convention full of pride from listening to great speeches by Bill and Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Brian Schweitzer, Tim Kaine and many more. The energy in the Pepsi Center, the panopoly of people from across our great nation gathered together for change we can and do believe in was infinitely moving and created memories I will cherish forever. Finally, as I watched Barack Obama, I saw the promise of the future for our country--as did America.

Of course, I, like many others, was curious to discover who John McCain would pick for his running mate. Imagine the shock and surprise when he announced his choice: Sarah Palin, a little known Governor from Alaska .I spent 4 months in Alaska a few years ago. It is a beautiful state with very few and very particular people. It is definitely NOT the norm, or representative of middle America. To live in Alaska you must like the great outdoors and a long winter. Towns are mostly small and people generally do their own thing.

The pundits are speechless, and trying to be polite. The best quote came from the editor of the Anchorage paper who said that Palin had less experience than Dan Quayle, but he got elected vice president anyway.

And as for balancing a budget, Alaska is the only state that pays you to live there.

The Republicans say Palin has as much experience as Obama. Not so !

Let's compare. This is what they say is inexperienced and unprepared:

Obama: Ivy league undergrad, 47 year old Harvard trained attorney, President of the Law Review who has spent years teaching constitutional law, working as a civil rights attorney and community volunteer, State senator, US Senator and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Palin: 44 year-old mother , undergraduate degree in journalism from Idaho, runner-up to Miss Alaska, mayor of a town of 7000, no national OR international political experience.

Since when does being a mayor of a small suburban town qualify a person to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency of the free world? When does a lack of education in political science, law or business and no graduate level education at all signify the readiness to be commander in chief?

The irony here is that there are many qualified women McCain could have chosen. Think Kay Bailey Hutchison, think Liddy Dole. But he doesn't get it.

Or does he just think independent female voters are stupid? This choice is cynical and disrespectful. If you ever doubted McCain's critical thought process this is a perfect example of why he would be dangerous. Where was the thoughtfulness in this selection of a running mate ? And as for the soccer mom analogy , you can toss that out the window. This woman is a snowmobile riding, gun toting Alaskan version of Annie Oakley. Here's an excerpt from a letter by a woman who lives in Alaska and knows a lot more than we do about Governor Sarah Palin.

The most accurate description of her is red neck. Her husband works in

the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay and races snow mobiles. She is a life

time member of the NRA and has worked tirelessly to allow

indiscriminate hunting of wildlife in Alaska, particularly wolves and

bears. She has spent millions of Alaska state dollars on aerial

hunting of these predators from helicopters and airplanes, dollars

that should have been spent, for example, on Alaska's failing school

system. We have the lowest rate of high school graduation in the


She has been a strong supporter of increased use of fossil fuels, yet

the McCain campaign has the nerve to say she has "green" policies. The

only thing green about Sarah Palin is her lack of experience. She has

consistently supported drilling in ANWR, use of coal-burning power

plants (as I write this, a new coal plant is being built in her home

town of Wasilla), strip mining, and almost anything else that will

unnecessarily exploit the diminishing resources of Alaska and destroy

its environment.

When you line Palin up with Biden, the comparison would be laughable

if it weren't so serious. Sarah Palin knows nothing of economics

(admittedly a weak area for McCa in), or of international affairs,

knows nothing of national government, Social Security, unemployment,

health care systems - you name it. The idea of her meeting with heads

of foreign governments around the world truly frightens me.

In an increasingly dangerous world, with the economy in shambles in the US, Sarah Palin is uniquely UNqualified to be vice president. John

McCain is not a young man. Should something happen to him such that

the vice president had to step in, it would destroy our country and

possibly the world to have someone as inexperienced and inappropriate

as Sarah Palin. The choice of Palin is a cheap shot by McCain to try

to get Hillary supporters to vote for him. when McCain introduced her

today, Palin had the nerve to compare herself with Hillary and

Geraldine Ferraro. Sarah Palin, you are no Hillary Clinton.

So there you have it. An offer of hope and change, or a cynical vote for "More of the same?" All I can say is if the McCain -Palin duo is elected the American people will get what they deserve. As for me, I'll be in New Zealand.