The Sarah Palin I Know

September 3rd, 2008

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Twenty-four years ago, I had my first paying political job. I performed data entry for the Massachusetts Democratic Party. I was paid $5.25 an hour, and I was in heaven. Hey, it beat making mediocre pizzas for $4.75 an hour. The chairman of the state party was Chet Atkins – a great guy and a member of Congress. But as chairman of the party, he was criticized because no African-Americans were on the state party payroll. So he called Mel King, an African-American city councilman and mayoral candidate from Boston and asked Mel to send him his best person to be field director of the Party. “I’ve got just the guy,” said King. “Jim Spencer.” Atkins interviewed Spencer on the phone and he hired him on the spot. That Monday, Jim Spencer showed up for work. He was White.

Like John McCain, six days ago I wouldn’t recognize Sarah Palin if she sat next to me on a bus. In November, we could literally be a heartbeat away from Palin as President.

So this is the Sarah Palin I know. She’s a climber. She befriended political leaders and then removed them from office. Perhaps she’s a crusader for justice – a Republican Ralph Nader – perhaps she’s other-worldly ambitious. I don’t know. Neither do you and neither does John McCain.

She’s very religious. I would say the same thing about Barack Obama. But unlike Obama, I don’t know if she’s tolerant and open to other religions and other viewpoints. I don’t know. Neither do you and neither does John McCain.

She tried to ban certain books from the Wasilla public library. I have no idea what kind of books – were they books about sexual positions or was it The Grapes of Wrath. It sounds a bit creepy to me. But I really don’t know. Neither do you and neither does John McCain.

She’s a self-described “hockey mom.” I know there is a lot of spin out there that she faces typical American family problems, but in my book I don’t think the typical American family has a pregnant teenage daughter. I think it’s an insult to the typical American family, frankly. But the truth is, I don’t know what’s going on in that family. Neither do you and neither does John McCain.

She doesn’t seem to have many views outside of some core, old-school, conservative culture war beliefs. She hasn’t said much about Iraq. She hasn’t really had much of a profile on anything at all. Maybe she has some very interesting and provocative views on the issues of the day. But I’ve never heard them. Neither have you and neither has John McCain.

She loves her state. I love mine. Hey, I’m from Philadelphia and I even love my city! But I never entertained the notion that Pennsylvania should secede from the union. Maybe you have, but I haven’t. We’re not really sure where she has been on the Alaska secessionist movement. I don’t know. Neither do you and neither does John McCain.

Troopergate. She’s had people fired because they didn’t follow her orders about former family members. Her sister’s husband (the trooper) sounds like a creep. But then again, we are left to trust Palin’s version of events. We don’t know if she was acting in the interests of the state or her own personal vendetta agenda. I don’t know. Neither do you and neither does John McCain.

Sarah Palin is a total stranger. McCain has barely met her. She was vetted quickly and sloppily. McCain is not exactly a spring chicken and he’s not a picture of health. Back in 1984, Jim Spencer was hired by Chet Atkins who assumed he was black. As it turns out, the very white Jim Spencer did a helluva job. Maybe Sarah Palin will do a great job. Maybe. But I don’t know. Neither do you and neither does John McCain.