Sarah Palin, Governor of the largest state in the USA, is now the Republican nominee for Vice President. The McCain campaign did a great job of avoiding leaks, so that this was a surprise until a few hours before it happened. I would trust his administration not to leak secrets. Most Americans do not know her very well, since she is far away from Washington, but I was not surprised by this pick.
Here are some things you should know about her, before the political spin machines get into action. I just looked at Wikipedia, and it is already being rewritten:
1. She was born in Idaho, but moved to Alaska as an infant. Her father was a teacher and track coach, and her mother was a school secretary. She is from a family of avid hunters, and her parents were out hunting caribou today, when the announcement came.
2. In high school, she was the point guard and captain of the basketball team. She led the team to the state championship, and hit a critical free throw in the last seconds of the game, while playing with a stress fracture. Her nickname was “Sarah Barricuda.” (I wonder if they will play the Heart song of that name at the Convention.)
3. She also won the Miss Wasilla Beauty Contest. She was second in the Miss Alaska pageant, and won a college scholarship from the competition. Here is her picture from back then:
4. Today is her 20th anniversary. She married her high school sweetheart on August 29, 1988. They eloped, and when they found out they needed witnesses for their civil wedding, they recruited two residents of the old age home nearby. It probably made the old folks’ day.
5. Her husband has worked for BP in the oil industry, and his family owns a commercial fishery. He has won the 2,000 mile “Iron Dog” snowmobile race 4 times.
6. She is now a mother of 5. Her youngest son was born with Down’s Syndrome. 80% of all Down’s Syndrome babies are now aborted when the disability is discovered. On the day she gave birth to her newborn son who has Down syndrome, Governor Palin sent an e-mail to family members and close friends. Written as if it came from God, Gov. Palin signed the e-mail, “Trig’s Creator, Your Heavenly Father.” In her e-mail, Palin wrote: “Many people will express sympathy, but you don’t want or need that, because Trig will be a joy. You have to trust me on this. Children are the most precious and promising ingredient in this mixed-up world you live in down there on Earth. Trig is no different, except he has one extra chromosome.” [HT: BaylyBlog.]
Their oldest son is now in the military, and is scheduled to be deployed to Iraq soon.
7. She got her start in politics on the Wasilla City Council, where she served 4 years. She then ran for mayor, defeating the incumbent as a critic of wasteful spending and high taxes. as mayor, she cut her own salary and reduced property taxes by 60%. She was elected President of the Alask Conference of Mayors.
8. Governor Frank Murkowski appointed her Ethics Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. This was the second biggest mistake of his career. His biggest mistake appointing his daughter to replace him in the Senate.
She served there for a short time, then resigned to protest the lack of ethics of fellow Alaskan Republican leaders. After resigning, she began to expose them.
9. She then ran for Governor on a clean government campaign. She upset incumbent Republican Governor Frank Murkowski in the primary, and then defeated former Democratic Governor Tony Knowles in the general election. She was outspent by her opponents and had little support from the state Republican Party int he general election.
10. She has spent much of her time in office fighting corruption, much of which was funded by oil money. She has gone against her own party on many occasions, including her run for office against Frank Murkowski and her support for the primary challeng to Rep. Don Young. She is very popular up there right now.