My turn: Empire columnist proposes preposterous Palin hypothesis

Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2008

After days of Outside editorials from far-left newspapers lambasting Gov. Sarah Palin as having insufficient experience (based upon Alaska being the third smallest state in population), the Juneau Empire capped it off with a column (not listed as a My Turn) of outrageous content to persons of any faith.

In Sunday's column, Joe Mehrken questions Sen. John McCain's wisdom in the selection of Palin as his running mate and poses the totally unfounded hypothesis that Palin's motivation is religious in nature to fulfill a "manifest destiny."

Mehrken then provides two direct (and unreferenced) quotes, "I believe and thus I have been put in this place of power because it has been destined." He further quotes: "If I believe and strive, I will thrive." Since these are pretty powerful quotes, that might be assumed by some as having been originally stated by Palin, I researched their origin on the Internet. Interestingly, both quotes appear only in Mehrken's column in the Juneau Empire.

I can recall the presidential election in 1960, when Jack Kennedy was a victim to ridiculous religious discrimination. Now we have a bit more nuanced and veiled discrimination based upon a person's Christian faith.

Why are people who are "fundamentalists" in faith inherently unqualified and unprepared? Would 20 years at a church that promoted anti-Americanism and racism provide a superior qualification and preparedness? Do two years voting in the U.S. Senate trump two years leading and making decisions as a governor? Does eight years in a state legislature often deciding on issues by voting "present" provide qualification and preparedness for decision making, whereas years governing a small city are irrelevant?

On what basis does Mehrken claim that Palin is "wired right" to be McCain's reform partner warrior?"

President Abraham Lincoln once said, "I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord's side."

Palin's paraphrase is termed by Mehrken as "just a wrongheaded sense of humility and duty." On what grounds does he base this? Perhaps he simply bases it upon his own concluding postulate that: "Clearly she is willing to lead us somewhere and let God sort it all out." If Mehrken had used logic in his conclusion he would have stated: "Clearly she is willing to lead us somewhere, and that it should be on the side of right and the side of God."

Regarding Palin's selection, I suggest Mehrken was actually feigning his "dismay" and wonderment about "what were they thinking?" Mehrken's stated near his conclusion that "I am confident that the Karl Rove types will try to hijack this election by electing a mere image. It is hard work to listen to the issues and work out solutions. Moreover the Rove types know that many voters are tired and have not fared well for a long time. As such it is easy to be seduced by a "reformer," whether a preacher or a politician."

Wow. If this statement were reiterated substituting the Democratic National Committee for Karl Rove it would be more germane, as the Republican vice presidential candidate is clearly much better prepared overall by prior experience than is the Democratic presidential candidate.

It would be refreshing to read editorials pro and con about the actual plans and solutions that are being proposed by both presidential candidates. I'd like to see the sound bites stripped away and true focus on issues. Whether those bites are solving our energy shortfalls by properly inflating tires, or the true meaning of lipstick on a pig, or the fundamental strength of American economy (which improved more than 3 percent last quarter), they don't provide long-range plans for deep national problems such as the energy crisis or the collapse of the mortgage housing market. In any event, no person should be disqualified for office based upon their faith.

• Jack Cadigan is a Juneau businessman and charter boat captain.

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