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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sarah Palin: "Fire and Nice"

This is third in a series of articles following Sarah Palin's meteoric rise from governor to vice presidential candidate and onto the national stage.

June 04, 2008

McCain Should Pick Sarah Palin for VP

By Jack Kelly
Real Clear Politics

Who? When?

Republicans including, I imagine, Sen. McCain himself are asking these questions about his selection of a vice presidential candidate.

Ideally, a presidential candidate wants a running mate who will help him or her win the election, and (maybe) to govern afterwards. But most will settle for a veep who isn’t a drag on the ticket, as Dan Quayle was for the first President Bush.

Traditionally, a presidential nominee has chosen a running mate to balance the ticket geographically, or to appease a faction of the party. The most successful example of this was when John F. Kennedy picked Lyndon Johnson, though neither liked the other, and LBJ joined the ticket only because he thought Kennedy would lose.

Bill Clinton broke with this tradition when he chose another young (purported) moderate from a neighboring southern state. By picking Al Gore, he hoped to reinforce his campaign theme of generational change.

Which way will Sen. McCain go? The potential running mates most often discussed have downsides nearly as great as their upsides. Gov. Tim Pawlenty helps only in Minnesota, and not enough, according to current polls, to make a difference there. Sen. McCain’s friend Sen. Joe Lieberman would bring in some moderate Democrats, but could further antagonize conservatives already suspicious of Sen. McCain. Gov. Romney would have little appeal to working class whites unhappy with Sen. Obama, and evangelicals fret about that Mormon thing. A Huckabee nomination would irritate economic and foreign policy conservatives as much as it would please evangelicals.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is a rising star. But he’s only 36, and he’s been governor for less than a year.There is one potential running mate who has virtually no down side. Those conservatives who’ve heard of her were delighted to learn that McCain advance man Arthur Culvahouse was in Alaska recently, because they surmised he could only be there to discuss the vice presidential nomination with Gov. Sarah Palin.

At 44, Sarah Louise Heath Palin is both the youngest and the first female governor in Alaska’s relatively brief history as a state. She’s also the most popular governor in America, with an approval rating that has bounced around 90 percent.

This is due partly to her personal qualities. When she was leading her underdog Wasilla high school basketball team to the state championship in 1982, her teammates called her “Sarah Barracuda” because of her fierce competitiveness.

Two years later, when she won the “Miss Wasilla” beauty pageant, she was also voted “Miss Congeniality” by the other contestants.

Sarah Barracuda. Miss Congeniality. Fire and nice. A happily married mother of five who is still drop dead gorgeous. And smart to boot.

But it’s mostly because she’s been a crackerjack governor, a strong fiscal conservative and a ferocious fighter of corruption, especially in her own party.

Ms. Palin touches other conservative bases, some of which Sen. McCain has been accused of rounding. Track, her eldest son, enlisted in the Army last Sept. 11. She’s a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association who hunts, fishes and runs marathons. A regular churchgoer, she’s staunchly pro-life.

Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal said Sen. McCain should run against a corrupt, do-nothing Congress, a la Harry Truman. If he should choose to do so, Gov. Palin would make an excellent partner “The landscape is littered with the bodies of those who have crossed Sarah,” pollster Dave Dittman told the Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes.

Sen. Barack Obama’s support has plunged recently among white women. Many Hillary Clinton supporters accuse him — I think unfairly — of being sexist. Having Sarah Palin on the ticket could help Sen. McCain appeal to these disgruntled Democrats.

Running mates usually aren’t named until the convention. But if Sen. McCain should name Gov. Palin earlier, it would give America more time to get to know this extraordinary woman. And because she’s at least a dozen feature stories waiting to be written, she could help him dominate the news between now and the conventions.

Another reason for selecting Sarah Palin early would be to force Barack Obama to make a mistake. He’d have to rule out choosing someone like Virginia Sen. Jim Webb as his running mate, for fear of exacerbating charges of sexism. And if he chose a woman other than Hillary, the impression Democrats are wimpy would be intensified.


Palin Backs Miss Calif., Blasts 'Liberal Onslaught'

Sarah Palin came to the defense of Miss California, Carrie Prejean, who like Palin, was the target of a liberal onslaught because she stood up for her beliefs in a public forum. Both women are representative of the attacks the radical left are making against those who express views and opinions different from their own. Both are women of faith who believe in walking the walk in spite of the consequences. Here is a FOX news report on the story:

Palin Backs Miss Calif., Blasts ‘Liberal Onslaught’

In a strongly worded statement relased late Wednesday, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin defended Miss California Carrie Prejean and ripped into “the liberal onslaught of malicious attacks” against Prejean for her response to a question about gay marriage.

“I can relate as a liberal target myself,” Palin said. “What I find so remarkable is that these politically-motivated attacks fail to show that what Carrie and I believe is also what President Obama and Secretary Clinton believe — marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Prejean created a stir with her response to a question about gay marriage at last month’s Miss USA pageant, questions about her work with gay marriage opponents and nearly nude photos taken of her when she was a teenager put her title in jeopardy.

PHOTOS: Click to view photos of Carrie Prejean.

“I applaud Donald Trump for standing with Carrie during this time. And I respect Carrie for standing strong and staying true to herself, and for not letting those who disagree with her deny her protection under the nation’s First Amendment Rights,” the former vice presidential candidate said.

“Our Constitution protects us all — not just those who agree with the far left,” Palin said.

On Wednesday, former Miss USA Shanna Moakler resigned as co-executive director of the Miss California USA pageant, saying she no longer believes in the organization because of pageant owner Donald Trump’s decision to let the state’s controversial title holder keep her crown.

RELATED: Click here for all of FOX’s coverage of Carrie Prejean.

At a news conference, Moakler angrily accused Prejean of violating the contract she signed with pageant organizers, but Trump announced Tuesday that Prejean would keep her title.

Moakler, the Miss USA of 1995, said she decided after Trump’s news conference to quit.

“I cannot with a clear conscience move forward supporting and promoting the Miss Universe Organization when I no longer believe in it or the contracts I signed committing myself as a youth,” she said in a statement issued by her publicist. “I want to be a role model for young women with high hopes of pageantry, but now feel it more important to be a role model for my children.”

Trump’s senior executive assistant, Rhona Graff-Ricci, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prejean, the first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant, created a brouhaha when she responded to a question by celebrity judge Perez Hilton by saying, “I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.”

After gay rights advocates took her to task, California pageant officials said Prejean asked for permission to elaborate on her answer and they agreed. But then, they said, she began speaking without their permission in front of crowds opposed to gay marriage, including her San Diego church and the National Organization for Marriage.

Keith Lewis, the state pageant’s co-executive director, said Prejean also began missing Miss California events she was contractually obligated to attend.

Trump on Tuesday said there had been miscommunication among Prejean, pageant organizers and the outside groups, but added that “the communication problem, I believe, is totally solved.”

Trump defended Prejean’s statements that marriage should be exclusive to men and women, saying her position was similar to President Barack Obama’s.

Photos of Prejean in her underwear, taken when she was 17, emerged after the Miss USA pageant.

Moakler said Monday that pageant officials were not as unhappy with what the photos of Prejean showed as they were with the fact she didn’t disclose their existence, as the contract she signed required.

Trump, however, while acknowledging the photos were “risque,” said he didn’t think they were bad enough to get her booted.

Lewis said Wednesday he was saddened by Moakler’s resignation but “would always respect the convictions that brought her to this place.”

Prejean spokeswoman Melany Ethridge said Prejean, who turned 22 on Wednesday, was traveling and hadn’t had a chance to speak with pageant officials since Moakler’s resignation.

Moakler, an actress and model, posed nude for Playboy magazine but not until several years after she was Miss USA. The December 2001 Playmate of the Month said in her Playboy bio that her turnoffs include, “People who lie, cheat and are dishonest.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.