Friday, August 29, 2008


I hate to stomp on that adorable video of my kids, but I'm too stunned not to speak immediately. Here are my immediate reactions to McCain's choice of new Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.

As an American:
I am horrified. McCain is very old - if elected he would be oldest President ever inaugurated - and he is not well. His Vice President needs to be ready to take the reins from day one, if necessary. Palin was the mayor of a city of 9000 in a remote state distant from the rest of the union in more than mere geography before serving as governor for under 2 years. With no national or foreign policy experience, in no way is she ready to be the President of the United States of America.

As a woman:
I am offended. In 2008, when there are more accomplished and experienced women in executive and legislative positions than ever before, the Republicans choose an inexperienced former beauty queen and think we'll vote for her just because she's a woman? This shows a profound lack of respect for women. (I felt similarly about Harriet Miers when Bush nominated her for the Supreme Court.)

As a mother of a child with Down syndrome:
I am saddened and confused. After facing the difficult news she did during her recent pregnancy, followed by having a child with special needs, surely she understands that it can be dark and difficult sometimes. Having been in the same position, I simply do not understand the desire to legislate (rather than educate) women into making better choices, let alone the strange belief that one knows what's right for all families. I simply do not believe that forcing women to have children they do not want is what's best for my child and others like her.

As a parent:
I am concerned. Most parents need to work to support themselves and their families. Others enjoy it and choose to work, which is wonderfully, incredibly fortunate. But choosing to go back to a very demanding job three days after giving birth, then launching an all-consuming run for the vice-presidency 4 months later, concerns me in any candidate, male or female. Especially with a child who has special needs. [Edited] What are family values?


KBO said...

Well put!

Sarahlynn said...

Thank you! I'm still just . . . breathlessly horrified. They actually thought this was a good idea!

Stephanie said...

I'm a big fan of Sarah and I hope you don't mind a little friendly disagreement! 1. She's far more experienced and accomplished than Obama. 2. She has asked for our vote based on her record of reform, not based on her sex. 3. Her pro-life position is a matter of conscience and the recognition that the state has an interest in protecting human life-even the youngest- and not a matter of control. 4. And since when do modern American women have to choose between career and children? Wasn't that historically the point of the feminist movement?

Anne said...

Hi Sarahlynn,

I was dying to know what you thought of this choice, so am so glad that you've chimed in.

It strikes me as a very cynical choice.

I guess I'm willing to reserve judgment on women becoming VP w/infants: it seems mad to me, but, as a working mom, well, I just think I'm willing to reserve judgment.

On every other issue, however, I am disappointed in McCain and, at the same time, really psyched for Obama.

(The baby--2+--now says OBAMA as an expression of joy!)

Sarahlynn said...

I never mind friendly disagreement!

1) Unlike, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin has no national experience and no foreign policy experience. Obama has served as a US Senator and before that served in the Illinois state legislature, where he helped govern a large state with huge urban areas, industry, and significant agriculture. Illinois is, in many ways, a microcosm of America. How do you quantify this vague "far more accomplished and experienced" claim?

2) "Reform" isn't enough for me in a president; it's not enough if she's suddenly thrown into complex and delicate international situations when her previous focus has been exclusively local.

3) It is control when you decide for others what's right for them, rather than sharing your opinion and trying to help others choose the path you espouse. As a woman who's been in Sarah Palin's position (pregnant with a baby diagnosed with Down syndrome) the fact that I chose to have my wonderful daughter was significant to me. I believe in educating others so that they don't decide to abort because of ignorance and fear. I am personally pro-life, but I will never vote for someone who wants to take that choice away from me.

4) Never did I suggest that a woman should choose between career and children. Never would I suggest such a thing. I think we all know what running for national office entails. It's hardly a 40-hour work week in the same town where your family lives.

And, to be clear, what I said was this: "choosing to launch into an all-consuming run for the vice-presidency 4 months after giving birth? I'd be concerned about any parent choosing to do that, mother or father."

It is both my right and my responsibility as a voter to define family values for myself and vote accordingly.

Sarahlynn said...

Anne! Hi! Since I don't read blogs very often anymore, I've missed you!

I agree that it's a terribly cynical choice.

Both of my girls say "Obama!" with the same excitement they use for "Bump-Set-Spike!" I think they just like how happy it makes me. ;)

Lady Liberal said...

AMEN, sister!
Here's something else my Mom and I are perplexed by... every bio says she's pro-life, but pro death penalty. Does this strike anyone as a bit hypocritical? If life is sacred to you, life is sacred to you.
This choice, unfortunately, is very shrewd where unthinking voters are concerned. She's young, female, pretty, and hasn't been in politics long enough or on a big enough scale to generate any real controversy. I fear she'll make McCain look safe and palatable to undecideds who don't want to think too hard or deep.

Sarahlynn said...

"pro-life, but pro death penalty"

That has always struck me as hypocritical. Just like "I'm for smaller government! But same-sex marriage and abortion should be illegal! And flag burning!"

The disability community, especially parents of children with Down syndrome are also very excited about this choice.

Which is too bad, because while we might get to see the occasional picture of a child with DS in Washington, raising awareness and hopefully acceptance, Republican policies are hardly disability-friendly.

Kathy said...

I am offended. In 2008, when there are more accomplished and experienced women in executive and legislative positions than ever before, the Republicans choose an inexperienced former beauty queen and think we'll vote for her just because she's a woman?

Exactly. I feel insulted, especially as an early Hillary supported.

Sarahlynn said...

But, Kathy, what's the difference? They're both women!

--Sarahlynn (early AND late Hillary supporter)


Kelly said...


If I may also disagree,

I think that there are many women out there who are so happy to see Sarah Palin on the ticket. They are the women who believe in many of the same things Mrs. Palin does. Does it not count if a non-democratic woman gets to the Whitehouse, even though she represents 50% of women?
It is my understanding that she has more executive experience than Barak Obama, but we are probably not getting our information from the same place, so discrepancies are sure to occur.
As for her returning to work so soon after giving birth, don't a lot of working mothers have to do that? Why are you making a judgement call on her when thousands of new moms return to work quickly, and many of them don't have the luxury of bringing their child to the office like Mrs. Palin did. All the better reason to understand the term working mom so much more profoundly than someone like Joe Biden.
Maybe her return to work highlighted her child's need for care and with that in mind, seek to secure quality care for all kids and work toward gaining better assistance for kids with special needs.

What have you got from Obama? Did he ever go to an inclusive classroom? Did he visit a group home? Did he enquire into work programs for people with developmental disabilities?

Or is it just his word your going on?

Just a friendly little shout out from the other side of the fence.

Stephanie said...

I know we disagree on the particular issues. What I can't understand is why the pick is horrifying, offensive, saddening, and concerning. Wouldn't you expect McCain to choose a VP that agrees with him on major conservative issues? Bonus - the pick is accomplished, beautiful WOMAN! For those of you who don't get the whole pro-life/pro-death penalty thing, we are making a clear distinction between innocent life and guilty life, that's all.

RobMonroe said...

Sarahlynn, I'm with you. As is every single person I've spoken to since the announcement, even my republican friends.

If he is pandering to the disgruntled Hillary supporters, shame on him. He continues to attack Obama based on his lack of experience, but he's certainly been under more scrutiny in the last 4 years, and moreso in the last 19 months, than the governor of Alaska.

If he dies in office, which I believe is a real possibility given his age, family history, and routine (a daily nap!!??), then this VP would become president. No questions asked.

She has much less experience than Obama, and that's another two-step dance that is just stupid. Either McCain needs to say that he things that Obama has enough experience to lead and pull out different ammo, or he needs to be beaten soundly with a stick until he does admit it.

I've now begun to work with Abby on "Obama!" :o) Can't be too much harder than "belly button" which she is working on...

Orange said...

Stephanie: Except for the people who are actually innocent but on Death Row. It happens. Illinois's last Republican governor stopped all executions for just that reason. As for "innocent life" = fetus, what of the woman whose body it is inside of? Doesn't she matter?

I see on Wikipedia that Palin is pro-contraception. It's a shame the party she belongs to and the man she's running with are less fond of it.

Sarah, thanks for your post. I liked what you had to say.

Orange said...

(Er, make that Sarahlynn.)

Sarahlynn said...

Stephanie, I explained why I find the pick to troubling, point by point. Clearly, you disagree, though you haven't provided any concrete refutations here. As for the candidate's beauty, well, that hardly qualifies her to be president, in my book.

Kelly, I would hope that every voter votes her conscience. We live in a democracy. I thank God for that, and for the fact that all of our voices are equal on election day.

As far as the issue of experience, I don't believe that facts should actually vary depending on source: data are data, though interpretations can certainly vary. I looked at the candidates' own biographies and the stories they tell about where they've been and what they've done.

In your mind, less than two years leading a state of relatively small population qualifies a person to be president of a the most powerful nation in the world, in a time of great global upheaval? If so, then we disagree.

As far as policies that support working families and children with disabilities, I'm looking at legislative records and the campaign issues that candidates highlight and promise. You use words like, "maybe her" and "did he" when postulating about which candidate suits you better.

I prefer not to guess, not to hope that just because a candidate has a child with the same number of chromosomes as mine, just because a candidate has two X chromosomes as I do, that that candidate will necessarily speak in my best interest or in the best interest of my child.

Of course, I do believe that it's long past time for a woman to be President. I would prefer, however, if she were qualified.

If you're honestly interested in Obama's disability politics, you can find out more here:

Sarahlynn said...

Thanks, Orange. : )

Rob, lovely to hear from you, as always! I'm sure you can get Abby on board.

Note to all: I'm going to be offline for a several hours.

Kelly said...

I would not be one to belittle a woman who ran the largest and most oil rich state. In those two short years she has already shown she is an agent of change by beating the incumbant governor and facing down the status quo of the oil companies. She then shared a portion of the oil income with all of her constituents.
Obama cannot show he is an agent of change through his voting records, just his speeches and if that is enough for you, than you should be feeling good right now.

McCain has already written adopted legislation in one of the four areas Obama is promising to.

The McCains adopted a daughter with a disability from Bangladesh, so both McCain and Palin have real life experience with disabilities, and that is worth something in my book. A lot actually.

I cannot put all my hopes in the promises of a man who has no track record on disabilities.

Although I cannot vote in this election, I do have a voice for my son, who was born here.

Stushie said...

I've been advocating for Sarah Palin for two months. She's the perfect choice and perhaps as Presbyterians, she may be the predestined choice.

This will be the most phenomenal election in the history of our great nation. I am rejoicing that so many people are involved.

Both Freedom and Democracy are great winners in this race, no matter who wins.

Chris said...

Thanks for this post.

When I heard McCain's choice, I was pretty happy.

1. It will make the election a bit more interesting. Think of how boring it would be to see Biden debate Mitt Romney?

2. It will bring Down syndrome into the spotlight--hopefully in a positive light. I'm anxious to see if Palin is an immediate advocate for those with disabilities.

3. A woman's voice will still be part of the dialogue; even if she will be saying some things I disagree with.

4. I still think the Democrats will win. Despite her experience as governor of Alaska; Palin has no foreign affairs experience, and in this world, you need to have foreign affairs experience to be President.

5. I had to laugh at McCain. Could his pandering to women Democrats who voted for Hillary be more obvious? He is totally using Sarah Palin. It is so obvious it is almost laughable.

6. If by some miracle McCain/Palin do win, at least there will be a women in the Executive Office and she will hopefully be a valuable and positive voice for those with special needs.

Aren't politics fun?

Jennifer said...

I am a huge Sarah Palin fan! I know that she has a huge responsibility with her newest son, but when she went back to work after she was born, she didn't go back full time, and took him to every doctor and therapy appointment he had, and even took him to the office at times. He was there today, and who says she won't have him and his nanny with her at work? I commend her for what she has done in Alaska, and it sounds like she has it together and can do it all!

stljoie said...

Amen Sarahlynn. He met her once and spoke to her on the phone once and that scares me...just like McCains well documented short temper scares me..not a good person to answer the call at 3:00 am. As far as Obamas executive experience I think his campaign speaks for that...he out organized the Clinton's for Gods sake...and what appeals to me the most is his knowledge and understanding of the American Constitution, which he was a professor of, and which as a 65 year old I was required to study in depth in grade school. It has been trampled on. I hope you don't mind, I sent your post to my friends.

Homer said...

People who say "Obama isn't experienced" and "Palin has more executive experience" are not telling the truth and many of them know it.

- Obama worked as a community organizer in Chicago, helping unemployed steel workers and elderly people get back on their feet. He did this instead of taking a high-paying legal career.

- At Harvard he supervised the staff of the Harvard Law Review, somewhere around 80 people (the same number that the part-time Mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin, supervised).

- At a state legislator and a US Senator, Obama has supervised many staff members.

- Obama has managed a national election campaign and won against a brilliant opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I am sure Sarah Palin is a fine person. But she is not qualified to be the Vice President. There were many other Republican women who meet the qualifications- Olympia Snowe, Elizabeth Dole, and Kay Bailey Hutchinson come to mind.

Kelly asked about Obama's views on disabled people. I suggest she watch the following Youtube video to hear his opinions in his own words:

the squeaky mouse gets the cheese said...

I like the choice; it'll make the election far more interesting. As an independent it would sway me to the republicans a lot more IF she was pro-choice, and I agree there should be concern over the experience, but still, she does have a lot of good points that she brings to McCain's campaign (youth, energy matters,non-Washington experience, a grass-roots appeal he lacks, a working mother of 5. She's very non-McCain). I think the gambit will fail him ultimately, but it showed more bravery than just picking Romney.

On experience, I think governing a state as big as Alaska, with all its challenges due to size, natural resources and international neighbors, is comparable to Barack's experience. If she were running heads up with Biden it would be a huge mismatch, but she's not. Call me crazy, but it seems like a double standard that much of the country has no problem with a minimal-experienced male taking our highest government office, but they do with a minimal-experienced female taking the second-highest one. (They're comparable, I'm not saying they're the same.)

Regardless of who I vote for, I hope she can hold her own in the debate. Biden's been around the block a lot and while he's a Washington insider, his background isn't any more silver spoon than hers. Maybe it will be a cordial discussion? Maybe he will crush her? Hard to say.

MaineCliffDweller said...

I'm sorry, but I could never vote for someone who wants to legislate what a woman chooses to do with her body AND who wants to write hate into the American Constitution by banning me from marrying the person with whom I have chosen to spend my life.
And this from the party who wants smaller government!
Lets protect the sanctity of marriage by banning divorce...oh, can't do that cause John McCain is on his second, sugar momma, wife

Vertigo said...

You forgot to mention that Palin is trying to ride in Clinton's wave! She is, of course, forgetting that in terms of policies they agree in nothing. I hope McCain doesn't think we are that stupid!

Jennifer said...

I don't agree--Palin isn't trying to "ride on Hillary's wave" as you put it. She has her own views, and won't even try to convince people she is anything like Hillary! She was chosen by McCain because he is hoping she will draw Hillary's supporters. Sarah is truly being herself, and is a strong enough personality that she will not try and portray herself as something she is not!