This blog is the result of about a month worth of research on potential Republican Vice-Presidential candidates for the 2008 election. I had been considerably less than thrilled with all of the early speculation, mostly swirling around second-tier presidential candidates, so I decided to see if there was anyone better suited for the job that I hadn't been hearing about. So, I developed the following profile for the perfect VP candidate (using Rudy Giuliani as my presumptive presidential candidate):
1) A energetic, young, fresh face who will energize the electorate
2) Not connected to the current administration
5) A woman or minority to counter Hillary or Obama and put to rest the idea that America only elects white males
One of the first names I found that fit these qualifications was that of Sarah Palin, the recently elected Governor of Alaska. I knew that I had stumbled upon a fantastic candidate for national office, but I kept looking in the hope that I could find other potentially viable choices. However, after looking at every GOP governor, senator, and congressperson, I found that Palin had only become more appealing.
She was certainly energetic and young, having become governor at only 42 years of age. Watching her speches and campaign ads, I discovered that she was definitely a new kid of leader, coming off more as a spunky soccer-mom than a stuffy career politician. As for abortion, she was staunchly pro-life; and as a lifetime NRA member she was the most pro-gun candidate in the country. Furthermore, her experiences in rural Alaska provided a perfect complement to the big-city credentials of candidates like Giuliani. Her moderately libertarian positions on most other issues also match up perfectly to Giuliani.
There was thing about Palin that initially worried me - "lack of experience". She had only been elected governor in 2006, and her only previous experience was as a two terms as a city councilwoman and two more as mayor in Wasilla, AK (population 8,471 in 2005) followed up by a failed campaign for lieutenant governor and a brief stint on Alaska's Oil and Natural Gas Conservation Commission. This didn't seem very appealing at first, but then I took the time to look closer at Palin's history. What I had failed to realize was that she had habitually knocked of powerful incumbent opponents and was a quick learner on the job. In the 2006 gubernatorial election, she rolled over scandal-prone incumbent Frank Murkowski in the GOP primary, then went on to defeat former governor Tony Knowles in the general election - pretty impressive. Further back, she had knocked off an entrenched incumbent to become mayor of Wasilla, then developed a reputation as a hard-nosed, effective mayor. Her performance in Wasilla got her elected president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors and earned her the nickname "Sarah Barracuda".
In the end, I decided that Sarah Palin had actually compiled a rather astounding record of achievements in her 42 years, and was more than capable of making the jump to the national level. So now I ask you who you would rather have as your Vice-President. You could accept conventional wisdom and choose from the lineup of old men currently being bantered about, or you could choose an inspiring leader like Sarah Palin. As for me, I'm going with "Sarah Barracuda", a candidate who will help us win the election and then deliver solid results.