Lingle and Palin have nothing substantial in common
Gov. Linda Lingle introduced Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to the GOP convention as the party's nominee for vice president.
GOV. Linda Lingle artfully mirrored the Republican Party's vice-presidential candidate with herself - a female GOP governor of a noncontiguous state who had been a nonmetropolitan mayor. If Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin were such a Lingle clone, the Hawaii governor would have been the preferred veep. Palin was chosen at least as much to energize the party's conservative base as to attract the female vote.
Lingle is a centrist Republican, which has annoyed some of Hawaii's conservatives. Palin is an unequivocal libertarian, an evangelical conservative whom Rush Limbaugh has been raving about for months.
The delirious approval of Republican National Convention delegates in St. Paul, Minn., to Palin's fiery acceptance speech is strong evidence that presidential nominee John McCain can be assured of support from the party's conservative base. Palin's attraction to women and blue-collar workers who preferred Sen. Hillary Clinton to Democratic nominee Barack Obama remains to be tested. Palin and Clinton are poles apart on issues.
Palin gave an electrifying delivery of a speech that had been prepared by the McCain campaign team prior to her selection and then fashioned to fit. She enthusiastically ripped into the Democratic presidential hopeful, which is the traditional role of the ticket's No. 2. She went over the top in belittling Obama's post-college work as a "community organizer," perhaps not aware of the noble role of helping people struggle with poverty and find ways out.
In the four days after her selection, Palin was secluded in preparation of her speech. Meanwhile, news reporters sought information from Alaskans about the little-known governor. They at first found that those who were the most logical sources of information from the McCain vetting crew had not been contacted, and that alone caused a reporting frenzy to find out more.
McCain described Palin as a maverick, like him, who had taken on the machine politicians of her own party and won, ousting an incumbent mayor and governor. Contrary to tradition, she also became known for firing people from the previous administration, including a Wasilla town librarian who had told Palin she would "resist all efforts at censorship." On the city council, Palin had brought up the idea of banning some books.
Palin's husband, Todd, has been a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, with a goal of Alaska's secession from the union, and she has encouraged the party as recently as this year. "Keep up the good work, and God bless you," she told AIP convention delegates in a video shown on the party's Web site.
However, the association of Palin with the AIP should not be exaggerated. Walter J. Hickel was re-elected governor on the party's ticket in 1990 but said he did not agree with its goal of secession. The party has positions on a wide range of issues.