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McCain is the change we need

Posted: September 11, 2008 10:34 p.m.
Updated: November 13, 2008 5:00 a.m.

All things considered, the 2008 Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minn. was about John McCain. It was carefully structured to show the American public that his experience, heroism, and independent spirit uniquely qualifies him to lead our country. It was truly the "John McCain Show", but the piece de resistance of the entire conference was the speech delivered by his vice presidential running mate.

On the Friday prior to the convention, McCain stunned nearly everyone by overlooking the two perceived favorites, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota. Instead, he announced Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his choice for vice president. Sarah who?

The critical, liberal media was kept at bay over the weekend as Palin remained under wraps, presumably preparing her acceptance speech. The media scrambled to find Palin negatives. Ultimately, they seemed to decide she was unqualified and had not been properly vetted. Believing their own rhetoric, many suggested that McCain should make another selection.

Meanwhile, some behind-the-scenes Republican genius, perhaps McCain himself, masterminded an aura of Palin mystique. Is moose stew really her favorite dish? What about her pregnant daughter? Speculation about her grew, and by the time Sept. 3 rolled around, almost 40 million viewers were salivating to see and hear Sarah Palin.She was greeted with thunderous applause that set the tone for the rest of the evening. Although her speech gave a down-to-earth picture of her family, philosophy, and political history, Palin began and ended by praising John McCain.

We learned that her oldest son would be deployed to Iraq on Sept. 11. She talked about her three daughters and her 5-month-old son born with Down syndrome. We were introduced to her husband, Todd, and her parents. Palin described herself as a PTA and ice hockey mom with a family similar to most other American families. She then took aim at the liberal media, the Washington establishment and Barack Obama himself.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani had laid the groundwork earlier. He described Obama as a gifted, Ivy League-educated man who worked as a community organizer in Chicago, and later "immersed himself in Chicago machine politics."

In the world of sociology-speak, community organizers are often political machine employees that identify people who may benefit from government programs, and then get them registered to vote. This work may be helping the poor, but it also reaps rewards for lifelong politicians by keeping them in power.

As an Illinois state senator Obama avoided taking definite positions on issues by voting "present" almost 130 times. Giuliani said that a neutral stance is not good enough because presidents must make clear decisions.

Giuliani further said this about Obama: "He's never run a city. He's never run a state. He's never run a business. He's never run a military unit. He's never had to lead people in crisis. He is the least experienced candidate for president of the United States in at least the last 100 years."

In contrast to Obama, Palin has a history of executive service as a city councilwoman, mayor and governor. She has an 80 percent approval rating, which is by far the highest of any governor. When comparing her experience with Obama's, Palin said, "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities."

Palin also had some barbs for the media who criticized her for not having connections in Washington, D.C.
"Here's a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country," she said. "Americans expect us to go to Washington for the right reasons, and not just to mingle with the right people."

Liberal Democrats, curiously, have a myopic view of Republicans as being one-dimensional. For me, the most appalling injustice to Palin has been done by those Democrats who attack her for having the audacity to run for vice president while she has children at home. What hypocrites! Are they suffering from short-term memory loss?

In the 1970s and ‘80s, I was working at Hanna Barbera as head of the Animation Checking and Computer Animation departments. My boss was Jayne Barbera, vice president of production. Only four of the 10 department heads were men. We were all very conscious of equal pay for equal work, and for women's rights in general.

I remember marching in an Equal Rights Amendment rally in Century City. My green T-shirt had these words written in white: "A man of quality is not threatened by a woman for equality." I remember a sign on Jayne's assistant's door saying, "Girls can do anything." I remember because I was lucky enough to marry that girl.

In McCain's closing speech to the convention, he admitted that reforming Republicans had become corrupted by the very system they had vowed to change. They were behaving like the Democrats they had criticized. They became big spenders who reneged on their pledge of accountability. They had increased entitlements and earmarks, without eliminating duplicitous and failed programs. As president, John McCain promises to shed those inside-the-Beltway chains and return to his maverick roots. Let's hope his fellow maverick, Sarah Palin, proves to be as unsinkable as Molly Brown.

The change they promise is the change America needs.

Paul B. Strickland Sr. is a resident of Santa Clarita. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal. "Right About Now" runs Fridays in The Signal and rotates among several local Republican writers.


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