The Republicans’ "hockey mom," Sarah Palin, will make her prime-time debut tonight. The reaction to John McCain’s veep pick falls along partisan lines, according to a Rasmussen poll. While the bloom is off the rose, 52 percent still have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of Palin. Thirty-one percent view her very favorably.
Among Democrats, 63 percent think Palin was a bad choice. Thirty-six percent have an unfavorable view of the Alaska governor, including 16 percent with a very unfavorable view. By contrast, 69 percent of Republicans think Palin is all that.
Diddy should stick to hip-hop videos and fashion because he doesn’t know diddly-squat about blacks in Alaska or Palin.
According to the Census Bureau's 2006 American Community Survey, 3.2 percent of the population of the “Land of the Midnight Sun” was African American. That's 21,476 black folks out of a total population of 670,053.
Richard Benavides is an Alaska resident and political observer. He first met Palin in 1988 at KTUU-TV in Anchorage, where she was an intern and he was the sports director. I asked Benavides whether he agreed with Diddy that McCain’s choice of Palin is "completely irresponsible":
That depends of course on your political views. From a conservative standpoint, she hits quite a few of the areas that energize that base when compared with the lukewarm reception McCain’s presidential bid had with them previously.
As a local observer of Gov. Palin, I can say this much: She is incredibly savvy in the world of public relations. She knows how to speak publicly to the media in a nation where how you look, how you come across on TV and your ability to smile and stay on point is more important than the issues. She is a godsend to many Republicans who have had to watch others who put forth the same ideological message as Gov. Palin does without her "gosh, gee, I’m just a normal person like you" persona.
So, is Palin all that:
As to her job as governor, it depends on who you ask. The public still loves her, although her high approval rating (80% to 90%) has dropped over her dismissal of popular Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan allegedly for not firing a state trooper who is her ex brother-in-law over issues that paint a poor picture of both the trooper’s actions and Palin's family and staff's handling of the situation.
Several state legislators and members of the capitol press corps perceive her as not having a good handle on her policies or departments’ missions. Some feel she has been focused on the pipeline contract to the detriment of all the other major issues the state faces such as rising health and social service budgets.
There are many who on Friday were stunned and proud of the pick. As time passes and we learn more, some of that excitement has abated. Many still like her but feel she is being used. Others feel she knows a good chance for national exposure for her future ambitions win or lose.
While the McCain camp says Palin was fully vetted, time will tell whether the selection was half-baked.