My turn: Who are the conservatives?

Posted: Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Whatever happened to the "conserve" in conservative?

All I've heard from the McCain-Palin ticket is more drilling; drilling in ANWR, drilling on the coasts of California, Florida, the Atlantic coast, the Gulf coast. Does the McCain-Palin plan include drilling off the beaches in Alaska? Are we willing to put at risk our wild salmon and crab fisheries for more oil?

Sarah Palin claims that Alaska can end the U.S. dependency on foreign oil. I recall it reported that the North Slope could supply enough oil for six months of Lower 48 use. What is the accuracy of her statements? She questions that global warming is causing the retreat of polar ice. Where does she get the science background to make that determination? And what would Alaska look like with oil wells and pipelines crisscrossing the state? What effect would that have on moose, caribou and salmon populations? How does drilling for more oil fit into a "conservative" philosophy?

Palin recently mocked Sen. Barack Obama for recognizing the need to raise taxes. Just how does she think we will pay for the billion dollar a month Iraq war? Who does she think will pay off the $700 billion debt to let the sub-prime lenders off the hook? She seems to want to pass on the debt to our children, grandchildren and beyond. Is that the American way? We need politicians willing to step up and acknowledge this debt, not duck it to future generations.

I watched the recent interview with Palin. What, in Palin's past, would ever make her think she could sit in the White House and be the leader of the Western world? A recent letter compared her credentials to those of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. I'd like to point out that Jimmy Carter had graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and had been an officer on a submarine for seven years. He had been governor of Georgia for a four-year term.

But even then, his presidency gets only very mixed reviews. He was unable to overcome the problems he confronted - very high interest rates and the challenge of the hostage situation, and was fired in the next election. Can we risk another mediocre president? After these past eight years can we afford another weak administration?

Clinton had been attorney general of Arkansas and was that state's governor of Arkansas for 12 years. He had been a Rhodes Scholar after college and before obtaining a law degree from Yale. Comparing Palin's weak resume with Clinton's is absurd.

And finally, was Ronald Reagan wrong? When he announced that he wanted to get government off the backs of Americans I now realize he wasn't talking to you, me and the other 99.4 percent of us. I think Reagan meant that he wanted to get the regulatory agencies and government rules off the backs of the corporate rich. Those agencies were hamstrung and deregulated, and Sen. John McCain was the head of the Senate committee in charge of deregulation. As a result, we have the worst Wall Street situation since the Great Depression.

The American taxpayer is likely to be saddled with a $700 billion debt that may run to a trillion dollars. The very rich got richer over the years, paying themselves millions and even hundreds of millions in bonuses, perks and golden parachutes and now they walk away. Dick Cheney's friends at Halliburton have demonstrated their loyalty to America by moving their headquarters to the Abu Dhabi in the Middle East. I wonder how much in tax they avoided by that move.

Vote for McCain-Palin? They have said they will continue those same Bush policies that got us to where we are today. McCain is quite rich, owning nine residences at a time when so many Americans can barely afford one. Does anyone really think McCain is going to do anything for you and me, other than mouth a few platitudes to get our vote?

This is a very important election. I urge you to consider the above and vote for Obama.

• Steve Wolf is a Juneau resident.

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