Opinion | Columnists

Can Palin make a difference?

With this bold choice, McCain brings in an anti-establishment reformer.

  • By Eliana Benador, Special to Gulf News
  • Published: 23:54 September 1, 2008
  • Gulf News

 

In the aftermath of the Democratic National Convention, last week, presumptive Republican nominee to the Presidency of the United States, Senator John McCain, shook the rakes introducing a barely known running mate to be his vice-president, Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.

Palin, a compelling, charismatic figure, with a winning personality albeit little known, appeared like a shining star next to a beaming McCain. She has taken on corruption in Alaska; she has taken on her own Republican Party.

My intention here is not to advocate the Republican agenda, as I am independent, politically speaking. I'd just like to shed some light on this woman that we all are discovering.

Palin does not come from wealth and riches; she is a working woman, unionised, married to a working man, unionised. They have five children. Now, that, if you ask me, is courageous already, because nowadays one of the flaws of families in the Western world, is they have only one or two children, because they cannot 'afford' to have more. That is already an example not only for American families, but also for families in Europe.

The fact that Palin and her husband went ahead and gave birth to their "beautiful baby boy", as she introduced him, in spite that they knew he had Down syndrome, is even more courageous. Choosing to be the parent of a disabled child is not easy and requires infinite courage.

Palin is pro-life and she stood by her beliefs. The role of a vice-president is a major one. First of all, almost one in every three vice-presidents throughout American history has become president, most of them due to death or assassination or the resignation of the president.

In recent years, the office of the vice-presidency has become even more powerful, especially since Walter Mondale.

With this bold choice, McCain brings in an anti-establishment reformer, a maverick corruption fighter who took on her own party, the corrupt Republican hierarchy, in Alaska and who has appealed to Democrats and independents as well as her co-party men, the Republicans, to work together with her.

Of course, there is the Hillary Clinton topic, and how Palin has put an end to corruption, and so much more, but there is a very important point to bear in mind; it's the biggest value she brings to the ticket, which is her expertise in energy. That is her comfort zone.

It is noteworthy mentioning that, although Alaska is in the farthest North of the United States, it is a region with one of the typical, non-white, American populations, Eskimos and Ya'ki Eskimos. The 800-mile-long Trans Alaska Pipeline System is one of the largest pipeline systems in the world, and which, since it started functioning in 1977, has successfully transported more than 15 billion barrels of oil.

Palin made a very compelling case when she was interviewed by the celebrated anchor Maria Bartiromo recently, regarding the coastal plain of Anwr, which is America's most prospective area for another giant oil field, and where she is advocating a responsible oil development of 2,000 acres, out of a 2 million acre zone.

One of her goals is to make the nation become more energy independent and become more secure. Comparatively, it's a small swap of land, says she, which will not jeopardise the fauna, but could make a huge difference in America's energy policy.

Palin comes offering a more human face to the Republican Party; she brings in a fresh, honest and daring attitude. Her presence will re-energise the whole electoral process. Some may agree with her. Some will disagree.

Bottom line

While she undoubtedly will be the star at the Republican convention, bottom line is how many voters she will actually bring in? Be it as it may, probably one of the most delicate issues she will have to share with the American public is how McCain and she would protect the country faced with a threat to the nation; whether she would support another war, for instance against the Iranian regime?

Because Americans do not want anymore wars. And, will she be able to stand up against the likes of George W. Bush (with his connections to Saudi oil) and Dick Cheney (with multinationals like the giant Halliburton)?

There are 66 days left until the election. And Palin has a lot of explaining to do. She and McCain owe that much to the American public.

 

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