The Waiting Pit Bull: The Palin Factor and It's Nightmare Scenario

Sarah PalinIn just over a months time, Americans will go to the polls and elect their 44th President. Current polling has shown Obama pulling away after a short period of deadlock, with the dire state of the economy seeming to work in his favour.

The general consensus of opinion outside of America is in favour of Obama, but it will be in swing states such as Virginia, Ohio and Florida that the election will be decided.

John McCain’s choice of the little-known Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his VP pick back in August threw a lot of people off guard. Palin seemed to appear from another planet, let alone from left field. The "Pit Bull with lipstick" shored up wavering evangelical voters and undoubtedly swung some women away from Obama and towards McCain.

It was cynical, but at first it appeared to work. The right in America had a new hero.

However, some of the sheen has begun to wear off. Palin’s lack of foreign policy experience - she only travelled outside of America for the first time last year and thinks that Alaska’s proximity to Russia is a qualification of some knowledge of the country - and the Troopergate allegations have cast a shadow over the campaign.

If you were a betting man you’d put your money on Barack Obama. But, let's say that McCain pulls off an unlikely victory (a debate gaffe or scandal could change everything).

At 72, he would be the oldest ever occupant of the White House. To put it rather crudely: he’s old. He could die in office and that would mean that Sarah Palin would become President.

When you look at her views and life story, this thought should make you shudder.

While Social Conservatives have occupied the position before, Palin’s views on social issues are pretty extreme. She is staunchly pro-life, even in cases of incest and rape. She believes in Creationism and thinks it should be taught in schools.

She is highly sceptical of global warming - going against the views of John McCain - despite all the evidence that supports the view that at least some of it is man made.

On foreign affairs, she is hawkish, and as Jaak mentioned in the News Conference yesterday morning, has threatened Russia with war. War with Russia would be an unmitigated catastrophe that would destabilise the world. It would be the last thing we would need at a time of financial turmoil.

Asked in an interview with Katie Couric of CBS News what she reads to get an overview of world affairs, she replied: “Um, all of them.”

While it may sound patronising, it is hard to see how being governor of Alaska can prepare you for national office. The Republicans have jibed at Obama that the position of president doesn’t allow for "on the job training", but the same can apply for Palin, who has only two years experience in national office.

Tim made a very good point in yesterday morning’s News Conference about political ideology and parties. It is important not to demonise and hold prejudices against an ideology because you believe it is wrong, as you wont ask the right questions as a journalist.

But I just cant see the thought of Palin in the White House as being anything other than frightening.

Many people in this country may think that the US election doesn’t matter to them, and some question the prominence newspapers such as the Guardian give to the race. But the position of US President is the most powerful in the free world and who gets elected in November is worth considering as each candidate would have a very different effect on the world if they won.

In the case of McCain, there could be a very scary looking Pit Bull waiting in the wings.

Comments

When talking about scandals, for Palin, there have been now three that I can think of. Does anybody remember the times when Bush administration was accused of going past elected laws for the government official to use the official mailing servers/lists/services to send official data inter-institutionally? Huge drama and all sides accusing each other and Bush getting slapped on the wrist about it.

When reading tech-related newssources (like Wired, Slashdot, etc), you often get scandals related to techs. So, the first three of Palins were about her email accounts (some newssources published articles about this aswell, but they were often tiny and hidden away between the dying toads and local car accidents). And the email accounts being used as a tool for government work. Which in a sense, is completely outrageous (her private email account was hacked - extremely easily, I must mention) and easily breachable. Both of her private email accounts were opened up by hackers and the third one was revealed to be including senators, campaign workers and close friends (a mailing-server which was created during the campaigning for the campaign-group).

This complete lack of knowledge of (internet) safety, standards and government laws just shows how incompetent Palin is when it comes to even regular topics.

Yet the whole thing has seemed to be swept under the rug. Who knows why.

By jaakpardi

I remember the hack was given quite a bit of coverage when it first happened, but after that it slipped under the radar a bit.

Quite a few of the little intricacies and nuances of the campaign are largely ignored by the press over here, but in America I think she has been put under a lot of scrutiny. 

The Washington Post investigaged her accounts a few weeks back, and come out with some potentially damaging stuff.

By AlanMcGuinness

I agree with 99% of what you've said. Just there may be some argument that evidence gained from scientists and researchers investigating the idea that natural processes are behind Climate Change, including Plate Tectonics moving on magma and causing glaciers, shaping oceans and rising sea levels therefore as a natural process which has shaped our countries/continents since time began, has maybe got something to do with it. As well as the political hype and the "Green Taxes" that surround climate change, I do believe it is something we should be concerned about, as humans as you say do contribute to a large extent, despite the idiocy of Palin's rambles.

Anyway, YES, we should care about the election because - despite it's Premiership Title race and competitive nature, which the media always loves to commentate on, like some neverending melodrama - the election can influence trade pacts/economic decisions, foreign policy, war agendas (don't we know it in the past few years with Bush, though the Iraq war I stand by, but not Afghanistan particularly) and climate change with America's gross number of emissions affecting our country.

Right, rant over, time to button my lip!

By stuartwilson

I haven't heard of the research you mention, is there anywhere I could find out more about it?

By johnsaunders

To be honest, all I'm saying is, you only have to read Geography textbooks (like Global Futures and Natural Disasters which I used for my A-Levels) to read that it isn't a direct effect from humans in opinion of researchers. Perhaps my examples are limited, but there are enough people who debate the issue on the net and elsewhere, like myself, who suggest climate change is not entirely human related and it is a matter of opinion.

By stuartwilson

Sorry, but are you saying that you think climate change is mostly caused by us, but there are other factors involved, or that the effects of anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations aren't the main reason for global warming? Climate change may not be 'entirely human related' as you put it, but to what degree our responsibility extends is a very important issue, I think, with regards to future government action/inaction and policy.

By johnsaunders

Don't worry that's fine, personally I think it is mostly caused by us, but there are other factors involved. Apologies for not making this clearer and yes I believe it is important and we do not need Palin to say that humans aren't to blame because we are, as like you say, 'with regards to future government action/inaction and policy', there is the most responsibility enforced on her and McCain to act intellectually regarding the issue, if elected. They need to provide necessary sanctions on US emissions, what with the US' downfall as being the world's second largest carbon emitter behind China.

Furthermore, my opinion is that politicians can over-exaggerate the impact of global warming with green taxes for their own benefit, which ultimately affect us the taxpayers.

By stuartwilson

over-exaggeration is itself an exaggeration.

see this link below, from what looks to be a good instant style guide

By richardpendry

Yeah sorry Richard, poor journalism there. Cheers.

By stuartwilson

Just poor spelling. The journalism -- and your writing -- was good. Well done

By richardpendry

Why thank you, though in this instance, Alan should be given the credit overall :). But thanks, not quite Oxford Dictionary standard spelling though I agree.

By stuartwilson

Thanks for that. It's a very interesting issue looking at what politicians say about climate change. As with a number of issues (taxes, child poverty, etc.) they will state very strong opinions with the knowledge that it will gain them favour with voters, but then fall short of the mark when it comes to acting on what they say.

As for green taxes, I don't know very much about their implementation, though it wouldn't suprise me in the least if what you're saying is true. 

By johnsaunders