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Top Ten Most Disturbing Facts and Impressions of Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin was named John McCain's vice presidential nominee just three days ago, yet it seems that weeks have passed in terms of the mountains of controversy it has stirred up. An overwhelming amount of negative publicity and sometimes shocking information has come out about her and her relatively short political career.

Choosing Palin has been called alternately a brilliant stroke that reinforces McCain's maverick image and a desperate, irresponsible "Hail Mary" pass in the face of an almost sure defeat in November. The fundamental question being raised: Why Palin? True, her personal narrative has lots of color: former fisherman, NRA hunter, mother of five, small-town mayor, short-term governor of a state with a small population, etc. But that does not qualify her to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Anathema to Moderates, Liberals and Progressives

George Lakoff, in an accompanying article, lists some of the issues swirling around Palin :

She is inexperienced, knowing little or nothing about foreign policy or national issues; she is really an anti-feminist, wanting the government to enter women's lives to block abortion, but not wanting the government to guarantee equal pay for equal work, or provide adequate child health coverage, or child care, or early childhood education; she shills for the oil and gas industry on drilling; she denies the scientific truths of global warming and evolution; she misuses her political authority; she opposes sex education and her daughter is pregnant; and, rather than being a maverick, she is on the whole a radical right-wing ideologue.

Part of the shock that many are grappling with: How could a 72-year-old man with bouts of cancer choose someone who appears to be completely unqualified to become president? Thus, McCain's age and health become central issues in the campaign, as does his judgment, although it may be tricky for Democrats to raise these issues without creating some backlash.

As Democratic strategist Paul Begala notes: "It is interesting that McCain passed over Tom Ridge, a decorated combat hero, a Cabinet secretary and the former two-term governor of the large, complex state of Pennsylvania; Mitt Romney, who ran a big state, Massachusetts, a big company, Bain Capital, and a big event, the Olympics; and Kay Bailey Hutchison, the Texas senator who is knowledgeable about the military, good on television and -- obviously -- a woman."

Not Good in the Polls

Republican pollster Frank Luntz, working with the AARP, did some focus groups of "undecided" voters and found some bad news for John McCain
 They don't like his choice of Sarah Palin for vice president. Only one person said Palin made him more likely to vote for McCain; about half the 25-member group raised their hands when asked if Palin made them less likely to vote for McCain. They had a negative impression of Palin by a 2-1 margin ... a fact that was reinforced when they were given hand-dials and asked to react to Palin's speech at her first appearance with McCain on Friday -- the dials remained totally neutral as Palin went through her heart-warming(?) biography, and only blipped upward when she said she opposed the Bridge to Nowhere -- which wasn't quite the truth, as we now know.

 Then there was this, from a woman named Teresa, who went to the Democratic convention as a Hillary delegate and is leaning toward voting for McCain -- obviously the target audience for the Palin pick: "His age didn't really bother me until he picked Palin. What if he dies in office and leaves us with her as president? Also she leans toward the rigid right, and I always thought he was a moderate. ... You know, I change my mind almost every day, but right now I'm wondering where the John McCain I really liked in 2000 went. What happened to the moderate? This John McCain has the look of someone who is being manipulated -- probably by Karl Rove."

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