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Opening Arguments

Sarah tough and soft

My first impression of Sarah Palin was that she is the most libertarian-leaning of all four major-party candidates. Others are starting to weigh in with the same impression, noting that, for example, she vetoed 300 pork projects in her first year in office. She is also, of course, a social conservative. However:

Even when advocating for "moral" issues, Palin's approach is a soft sell. Palin does not support gay marriage (neither does Obama, it should be noted). Yet, in 2006, Palin's first veto as Governor was a bill that sought to block state employee benefits and health insurance for same-sex couples.

We cannot bore into Palin's soul to see her true feelings about gay couples, but, at the time, she noted that signing "this bill would be in direct violation of my oath of office" because it was unconstitutional. For most libertarians, the thought of politician following any constitution, rather than their own predilections, morality or the "common good," is a nice change of pace.

On the counterproductive War on Drugs, Palin is no warrior. Her Republican opponent in 2006 primary, incumbent Republican governor Frank Murkowski, made recriminalizing the possession of small amounts of pot a priority. Palin, though she does not support legalization, believes enforcement should not be a high priority.

"I can't claim a Bill Clinton and say that I never inhaled," Palin once said. This sort of honesty is a welcome change from the standard hand-wringing about marijuana's supposed disastrous consequences.

Tough on economic issues, soft sell on the moral issues. Not bad, not bad at all. The Republican Party itself has always been a marriage, sometimes smooth, sometimes rocky, between the economic and social conservatives. Here we see it played out in one individual.


Wed, 09/03/2008 - 10:32am

Libertarian -- right:

"PAUL, Minn. (AP) John McCain touts his running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, as a force in his battle against earmarks and entrenched power brokers.

But under her leadership, Alaska has asked the federal government for almost $300 per person in requests for pet projects this year. That's more than any other state received, per person, from Congress and runs counter to the image the GOP ticket is pushing."

William Larsen
Wed, 09/03/2008 - 10:47am

I like her. she is a "rogue" and I mean that in a very complimentary way. This is the type of person who should be on the top of the ticket, not as VP.

It is amazing how many republicans like her on the positions she has taken, yet they themselves do not have the moral fortitude to do the same.

Republicans have drifted so far from my values that I decided to run as a libertarian for US Congress. It is obvious that this year "libertarian" is sounding better every minute to a whole lot of people.

Wed, 09/03/2008 - 10:41pm

Doug ...

Governors have little control over Washington politicians that believe themselves more important than governors.

Nice try, but you cannot play Daily Kos on here.

tim zank
Thu, 09/04/2008 - 8:08am

Bob is 100% right. A Governor has the ability to control how STATE money is spent, but has no control whatsoever over the the legislative process (see earmarks) of the US Congress. She can (and has) vetoed her own STATE SENATE but she can't veto anything in the US SENATE.

After last nights performance, Democrats should be very very nervous for many years. Whether McCain/Palin is triumphant or not, she's gonna be a MAJOR player for the Republican party for some time.