My turn: Palin not qualified to be VP

Posted: Thursday, September 04, 2008

As an Alaska resident for many years, I was appalled by Sen. John McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate.

In light of his continued criticism that Barack Obama lacks foreign policy experience and is not qualified to be commander in chief it seems like a bizarre move to choose a person with less than two years of leadership as governor of one of our least populated states. Yes, she was mayor of a small Alaska town. I was also a mayor of a small Alaska town, and it was after a 100-year storm that took out much of the road and trail system and many houses.

I dealt with the National Guard, FEMA and the governor's office during the rebuilding of our community. I know that being a mayor, even in the time of a major disaster, does not qualify one for vice president, and living near Russia and Canada gave neither of us foreign policy experience.

Palin is in no way qualified to take over the presidency should, God forbid, McCain die in office.

McCain is a 72-year-old man with a history of several melanomas, the deadliest of skin cancers. He has out-lived his father, who died of a heart attack, by two years. The chances of his living through a four-year presidency are possibly slim.

Perhaps McCain is attempting to get the dissatisfied Hillary vote. As one of my friends in Alaska wrote, the only thing that Sarah and Hillary have in common is their plumbing! Any Hillary supporter that would vote for Palin and McCain is voting for the gender not on the issues. They are polar opposites on most issues.

I am a mother of grown children and gave up personal aspirations during their formative years, because my job was to raise them. I am wondering why a woman, who claims to be a staunch conservative evangelical Christian with supposed strong family values, who is also a mother of five children, is not being their mother.

How can the demands of campaigning and governing the state of Alaska allow her to take care of these young people, especially the latest child, a 4-month-old baby with Down syndrome? This child will need a mother's extra attention and love in these next formative years. How can Palin give any of these children the love and attention that they need and deserve from a mother and also give our country what it needs and deserves from a leader?

I keep hearing in the news about Palin's "unusual story." Her story is not unusual. Many of us women that did not settle in the bigger communities of Alaska and probably women through out the rural west, have lived some version of the same exciting life.

Being a gun-toting, moose-burger eating, caribou-hunting woman is interesting to much of the country. It does not qualify Palin for the vice presidency. Palin is not vice presidential material!

I keep having a bad dream about McCain's choice and in that dream I keep hoping that this is a big joke and that during the convention McCain will actually present his real nominee, someone qualified to take over the presidency should the president be incapacitated or die in office.

• Diane McCarty lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., and was mayor of Tenakee Springs in 1984 during the Thanksgiving Day storm.

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