Clinton's historic race for the White House may have
ended earlier this week when she officially released
her delegates and endorsed Barack Obama as the
Democratic presidential nominee. But a woman still has
a shot at the White House in November -- this time on the
Shocking many in
his own party and passing over far better-known names,
Republican presidential nominee John McCain on Friday
selected 44-year-old Alaska governor Sarah Palin as
his vice-presidential running mate.
Palin has been
governor of Alaska for just two years, and her tendency to
clash with members of her own party and act as something of
a maverick politician makes her a smart partner in
McCain's bid for the White House, political
pundits are suggesting.
Palin was elected
governor in 2006 after defeating incumbent Frank
Murkowski in the Republican primary and former Democratic
governor Tony Knowles in the general election. Palin
was the youngest governor in Alaskan history, taking
the office at 42. She was also the first woman to be
elected governor of the state.
election as governor, Palin served two terms on the Wasilla
city council from 1992 to 1996 before moving on to serve as
mayor from 1996 to 2002. Palin failed to secure enough
votes in 2002 to win a bid for lieutenant governor.
Governor Murkowski appointed Palin as ethics
commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation
Commission in 2003. However, Palin resigned from the
position in protest the following year. She claimed
her complaints of legal violations and conflicts of interest
were ignored by fellow Alaskan Republican leaders, whom she
accused of suffering from a "lack of
Born in Idaho,
where she lived briefly before moving to Alaska, Palin is
an avid outdoorswoman and a lifetime member of the
National Rifle Association, and she was once the first
runner-up in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant.
Patrick Sammon of
the Log Cabin Republicans lauded McCain's pick of
Palin. "Alaska governor Sarah Palin can help Senator McCain
appeal to independent voters and win this election,"
Sammon said in a press release. "She's a mainstream
Republican who will unite the party and serve John
McCain well as vice president. Governor Palin is an
inclusive Republican who will help Senator McCain
appeal to gay and lesbian voters."
Many would argue
with that assertion.
Palin is often
profiled as a strong conservative who is rabidly
anti-abortion and opposes same-sex marriage equality, saying
she supports the Alaska state constitutional ban on
gay marriage that was passed in 1998.
Palin claims she
has "gay friends" and is open to gay and lesbian
concerns about discrimination. As governor, she signed into
law a state supreme court-ordered measure to grant
same-sex partner benefits. However, she publicly
stated that she disagreed with the court ruling and
supported a public vote on whether to amend the constitution
to address the issue.
"We believe we
have no more judicial options to pursue," Palin was
quoted as saying by the Anchorage Daily News on
December 21, 2006. "So we may disagree with the
foundation there, the rationale behind the ruling, but our
responsibility is to proceed forward with the law and
abide by the constitution."
pick of Palin for his running mate was a surprising choice
to political pundits and many in the Republican Party.
In making his selection, McCain passed over a string
of names he had been vetting for the slot for months,
including Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who
himself made a run for the Republican nomination. McCain was
expected to choose his ticket mate from among more
well-known names as Romney, Minnesota governor Tim
Pawlenty, U.S. senator Joseph Lieberman, and former
Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge.
In fact, the
selection of Palin came as such a surprise to some in the
party, even as she arrived in Ohio last night for
Friday's announcement, McCain staffers told the
press many believed she was still at home in Alaska.
As one of the
main points of attack from McCain against Obama has been
the Illinois senator's inexperience in national and
world politics, choosing Palin seems even odder to
some. Palin can be viewed as being far more
inexperienced on the national and world stage than Obama.
Yet, if McCain has chosen her as his running mate, it
says to the public that he believes she has the
experience to lead the country if necessary -- which
goes against McCain's attacks on Obama's
ability to lead due to his inexperience. (The
Advocate; reporting by Julie Bolcer and Ross Von