Seeing Sarah through two completely different lenses


A political discussion between Red State conservative Dave Simpson — a former reporter, editor, publisher and columnist — and Greg Bean, Blue Stater and executive editor of Greater Media Newspapers.

Dear Greg:

Let’s see if I can box you in on John Mc- Cain’s selection of Sarah Palin for his running mate. You’ll no doubt say that she doesn’t have the experience to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. You’ll probably be giggling when you say it, which I’ve always found really irritating. Why do liberals giggle, Greg? Can you explain that to me?

But the funny thing is that as governor of Alaska for 20 months, duking it out with some of those oil companies you hate so much, and a political career of challenging corruption in both parties, she’s got more real experience than — don’t look now, Greg — BARACK OBAMA.

Your guy is always telling us how he opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning, back when he was a state senator in Illinois. I don’t remember the Illinois Senate playing a key role in our getting into that war, do you, Greg? I don’t remember sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to hear how state senators like Obama and Emil Jones Jr. and Deanna Demuzio and John Cullerton felt about the war, do you? That’s because their opinions had about the impact of — as we say in the West — a fricative in a feedlot.

While your guy was busy being the most liberal man in both the Illinois and U.S. senates but not doing much anyone can remember, Palin was challenging the good old boys, even GOP potentates like Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young.

At least our relatively inexperienced person is running for the VICE presidency, not the PRESIDENCY.

You’ll probably say she’s just another pretty face, and can’t hold a candle to Joe Biden, who said this weekend she’s easy on the eyes. (Now there’s a studied appraisal of her abilities.) I’d add that she’s clean and articulate as well, but Biden probably won’t make that mistake again.

Your guys better be careful about trashing another woman, though, Greg. It’s starting to look like there might be a little gender problem with that party you like so much, and I think the gals are noticing.

You might even point out that Palin’s 17- year-old daughter is pregnant — which had the media all ga-ga for a while there. How could John McCain pick a vice presidential candidate who had a pregnant daughter? Didn’t he order rabbit checks run on all the women-folk?

But if you said that, I’d point out that having a kid who doesn’t do what you say is an experience with which most parents I know can really relate.

In short, Greg, the prospect of a vice president who got into politics to “cut waste and reduce property taxes” is a miracle I never thought I’d see. She’s got the keys to my heart, and I’d think you poor, overtaxed, shot-full-of-fiscal-holes New Jersey residents would certainly agree. You guys could use a governor like Sarah Palin.

To be even more short, when it comes to Sarah Palin, I think Elvis said it best, Greg:

“I’m in love — I’m all shook up!”

Your smitten pal,

Red State Dave

Dear Dave:

I’ve known you for almost 30 years, and you’re one smart guy. You’re tough and cynical, and you never take politicians at face value without asking the hard questions. Which is why I am completely baffled by your crush on Sarah Palin.

I agree that her daughter’s pregnancy is a red herring, and I agree with Barack Obama that children should be off-limits. Sarah Palin couldn’t have prevented her daughter getting pregnant. No parent could do that, unless we lock the little darlings up in the attic.

What we can hold Sarah Palin responsible for are her goofy philosophical ideas. I’ll leave it to others to discuss her pro-life stance, and unlike some, I applaud her position on the Second Amendment.

But there are two issues that are simply deal breakers for me.

One is her idea that we ought to be teaching creationism in schools. Creationism is a religious notion, not a scientific one, and we have no more business teaching that in school than we have teaching about Noah and the flood. That’s an appropriate theory to teach in Bible study after Sunday services, but not in public schools. If people want to believe in creationism, that’s their right, but I don’t want it being taught to my kids before chemistry class.

Second are her ties to the Alaskan Independence Party. Granted, she might not have been a formal member of that party, but her husband was a longtime member, and Sarah attended their conventions and made videos for them. And these people are seriously kooky. Joe Vogel, the nutball who founded the organization, said on its Web site that “I’m an Alaskan, not an American,” and elsewhere on the party’s Web site, he said, “I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions.”

This guy, who wanted Alaska to secede from the U.S., and whose organization still wants to put secession to a statewide vote, wouldn’t even be buried in our country. He was buried in Canada so he wouldn’t have to be buried under an American flag.

I’m having a tough time with the notion that American men and women are fighting and dying under an American flag that Ms. Palin’s husband repudiated, at least until 2002.

And if looking up to a goof like Vogler isn’t enough, there’s always the pastor of the church Sarah attended for many years. That guy said people who voted for John Kerry were probably going to hell. Ed Kalnins, the senior pastor of Wasilla Assembly of God since 1999, reportedly also claimed that the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the war in Iraq were part of a war “contending for your faith” and said that Jesus “operated from that position of war mode.”

You were mighty quick to condemn Obama’s slow denunciation of his own weird pastor, but I don’t hear you asking Palin to denounce the pastor of the church she belonged to for most of her adult life. For consistency’s sake, shouldn’t you be asking that?

And that says nothing about her own weird religious ideas, including it being God’s will to build a $30 billion natural gas pipeline in her state. Last I heard, God didn’t get involved much in whether we ought to build natural gas pipelines. But what would I know? I’m already on his bad side and apparently going to hell because I voted for John Kerry.

Your not-so-smitten friend,

Blue State Greg