Why not Murkowski for McCain’s VEEP?

Republican presidential nominee-to-be John McCain left many voters scratching heads on Friday with his choice of a vice presidential running mate.  McCain’s choice, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, caught just about everyone by surprise. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It certainly sent the news media into a frenzy as it scrambled to gather details on Governor Palin. Speculation surged. In terms of political experience though, Palin has been Alaska’s governor for just two years. Before that she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, an Anchorage suburb with about 7,000 residents.

McCain’s choice of Palin also had two leading Alaskan newspapers wondering on Saturday.

From the Anchorage Daily News:

“It’s stunning that someone with so little national and international experience might be heartbeat away from the presidency. Gov. Palin is a classic Alaska story. She is an example of the opportunity our state offers to those with talent, initiative and determination…For all those advantages, Palin joins the ticket with one huge weakness: She’s a total beginner on national and international issues.

Gov. Palin will have to spend the next two months convincing Americans that she’s ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency….”

From the Daily News-Miner in Fairbanks:

Sen. John McCain’s selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate was a stunning decision that should make Alaskans proud, even while we wonder about the actual merits of the choice…. Alaskans and Americans must ask, though, whether she should become vice president and, more importantly, be placed first in line to become president.

What I find hard to understand about McCain’s pick from Alaska? A more qualified female Republican politician serves the great state of Alaska.

Alaska (R) Swen. Lisa Murkowski

Alaska (R) Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Lisa Murkowski is Alaska’s junior U.S. senator, the first woman elected to Congress from her state and the first senator born in Alaska. Her political experience alone would make more qualified than Governor Palin to be McCain’s running mate.

Ten years ago Murkoski was elected to Alaska’s House of Representatives where she served as House Majority Leader during the 2003–2004 session. Murkowski sat on the Alaska Commission on Post Secondary Education and chaired both the Labor and Commerce and the Military and Veterans Affairs Committees.

Murkowski is married and a mother of two. Her father, Frank Murkowski, was Alaska governor from 2002 to 2006 in addition to being her immediate predecessor in the Senate.

Murkowski, like Palin, has had some political controversy.  In July 2007, Murkowski said she would sell back land she bought from an Anchorage businessman, a day after a Washington watchdog group filed a Senate ethics complaint against her, alleging that she was sold the property well below market value. The Anchorage Daily News noted, “The transaction amounted to an illegal gift worth between $70,000 and $170,000, depending on how the property was valued, according to the complaint by the National Legal and Policy Center.”

Oh well. Palin is McCain’s choice. It’s his call, his presidential victory or defeat.  McCain’s choice certainly got many Americans talking about McCain again.

Say what you will. Think what you want. Before you write Palin off, stay tuned for the vice presidential debate between Palin and Democratic rival Sen. Joe Biden. It will be held at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, at 8 p.m. CDT, Oct. 2. Video available.

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About Bernard McCoy

My views are my own and not a reflection of my employer. I'm a professor of Journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I've also been a working journalist for the past 29 years. I have covered news stories in war zones, reported on human and natural disasters, presidential conventions, a presidential inauguration and the September 11th, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. My career experiences include work as an award-winning documentary producer, television news reporter, photographer, producer, and anchor. I worked at WIBW-TV, Topeka, KS., KCTV, Kansas City, MO, WKBD-TV, Detroit, MI., WILX-TV, Lansing, MI. and WBNS-TV, Columbus, OH. I have also worked as a contributing reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, Associated Press, CBS, CNN, the Ohio News Network and lecture at the Kosovo Institute of Journalism and Communications. I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in telecommunications management from Michigan State University.
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