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When John McCain chose Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, as his vice-presidential nominee in August, the sound that accompanied his selection might be called the snigger heard round the world.

Who was this woman with the vast family, the Neanderthal views on abortion and gay marriage, the empty CV and the voice that sounded as if she'd never stepped outside the 5,000 population town of which she had once been mayor?

Her signal achievements, the media reported, were as an aggressive player on her high school basketball team (nickname: Sarah Barracuda!), winner of a local beauty contest and loyal wife to the winner of the Alaskan snowmobile racing championship.

Then, as reporters descended on the state and filled their notebooks with takes from the burnished grudges of everyone she'd ever crossed, the story changed. The picture of pretty backcountry ingénue was torn off the front pages and hastily replaced by something much more sinister: the ruthlessly ambitious huckster, up to her eyes in corrupt state politics, a chancer heartless enough to expose her pregnant 17-year-old daughter to the horrors of a national political campaign. By the time the media has the final story straight - contemptible thick hick from the sticks or scary manipulator of helpless innocents - they might get to notice something else. People like her.

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March 22nd, 2011
11:03 PM
I just discovered this magazine and this section. I've read a few pieces and find them solid. But this one? Clearly the exception. Everyone must admit that had McCain chosen a reasonably intelligent republican woman, he could very well have beaten O. Instead, he played to the lowest common denominator. Let's quit these defenses of a third-rate (or below) leader. Give your publication more credibility, please. Whom will you defend next? Limbaugh? Glen Beck? Michael Savage? Michelle Bachman? And if you're looking for someone to overrate, try David Brooks. he's ubiquitous in American news media which could use some real variety in its punditry.

October 26th, 2008
10:10 AM
So does that mean that Biden or Bambi are 'ready to hold the fate of the free world in their hands?'

Terrence Cole, Professor of History University of Alaska
October 10th, 2008
8:10 AM
While I like Sarah personally and as Governor of our State think she did some good things. it was beyond reckless and irresponsible for Mr. McCain to choose her as his running mate. She is not ready to hold the fate of the free world in her hands. I wish it were otherwise.

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