Palin an inexperienced VP candidate

It’s official: McCain’s newly anointed running mate, Sarah Palin, is the least experienced candidate to join a major-party ticket in the modern era. As mayor of Wasilla (then pop. 5,000) and during a year and a half as Alaskan governor, Palin has had time to acquire a taste for moose burgers and get tangled up in an abuse-of-power scandal, but apparently not to formulate a coherent position on a raft of national policy issues. According to, Palin has yet to express significant opinions on drugs, families, foreign policy, free trade, government reform, immigration, jobs, or technology.

When it comes to energy and the environment, however, Palin’s views are less of an unknown quantity. Palin is the product of Alaskan politics, where Big Oil is king, and is married to an oil worker; in Juneau, she’s reliably pushed for increased domestic drilling as the only necessary solution to America’s current energy crisis. “I beg to disagree with any candidate who would say we can’t drill our way out of our problem,” she told Investor’s Business Daily earlier this year.

Palin isn’t quite a climate change denier, but she says she doesn’t believe that global warming is manmade; that’s led Palin to oppose the federal government’s decision to list polar bears as an endangered species, a move she dismissed as “nothing but interference from outsiders," and to cut state funding for renewable energy projects. It’s also led her to push for the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve to be opened for oil exploration, a move that even John McCain opposes. Palin says she hopes to change his mind, a stance that could make it harder for McCain to distance himself from the Bush administration’s energy policies.

It’s not all bad news; Palin first rose to prominence fighting corruption as member of a state oil and gas commission, and has apparently managed to keep her nose clean despite her cozy relationship with Alaska’s oil giants. It’s evident, too, that she has a genuine love for the Great Outdoors, and her huntin’ and fishin’ persona will go down well with the bait-and-bullet crowd across the country.

Back in Alaska, though, even Republicans are questioning the wisdom of John McCain’s selection. “She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president?” said Alaska’s State Senate President Lyda Green - a Republican from Palin’s home town - when she heard the news. “Look at what she's done to this state. What would she do to the nation?” In the lower 48, greens are hoping they don’t have to find out the hard way.