The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Western Tribune Column October 15 2008

My Western Tribune column from October 15, 2008

McCain's ace in hole turns out a joker

The John McCain campaign was a hand of cards just waiting to fold under the up swell of support that Barack Obama expected after his acceptance speech in Denver. But McCain chose Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, in hopes that her experience in the Governor’s office and her fundamental Christian beliefs would excite Republicans as well as attract independents.

That strategy worked, as long as American voters were kept uninformed about her. Over time, we have learned a lot, and I could produce a long list of misstatements and missteps that she made, but the ethics violation announced on Friday trumps them all.

A bipartisan Alaska legislative panel found Palin in violation of the state ethics law. The statute says that holding office is a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal interest is a violation of that trust. In common language, she abused her power as an executive officer of the state.

Sarah Palin has been hammering the voters with questions about Barack Obama in an attempt to cast doubts on his trustworthiness. Now that she has been shown to have violated the public trust, should she be casting stones at Obama?

In past weeks Palin has claimed that her executive experience has prepared her to lead the country. Now, when we think about her executive experience, we are reminded of her abuse of power. Do we really want to send someone to Washington with that record after enduring eight years of Dick Cheney?

Moving up the ticket to John McCain, questions have been raised about his judgment. Barack Obama highlighted this argument effectively during the second debate when he questioned McCain’s judgment in voting for the war in Iraq.

Now we can really question his judgment in choosing his vice presidential pick. The investigation was authorized in July, well before he announced his choice. He or his staff had to know that the investigation was underway.

McCain is known to be a gambler, but why would a candidate take a risk with the most important decision he makes during his campaign? What does it tell us about the kind of forethought that might go into his selections for cabinet members?

McCain’s ace in the hole has turned out to be a joker, and it’s time for the voters to call his hand.

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