While the media, pundits, insiders and know-it-alls continue to blab endlessly about the pros and cons of new McCain running mate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, there is a fair amount of blabbering going on up in Palin's home state as well.
Surprised, shocked and stunned seem to be words thrown about most often in describing first reactions to hearing the news. In fact, Alaska's Attorney General compared it to landing on the moon. Not Palin landing on the moon. Although if it polled well - and chances are the McCain team has already polled it - she'd be giving her speech next week from orbit.
Regardless, the headline of the day came from an article written by a disaffected writer named Alan Suderman in Juneau admonishing the national media for mispronouncing Governor's last name. His headline, "Note to nation: Palin rhymes with Van Halen" sets the record straight.
"The most notable gaffe was the mispronunciation of her last name on television and radio," Suderman writes. "Several pundits called her PAL-IN, instead of PAY-LYN (rhymes with Van Halen) as Alaskans call her. Even McCain's spokesman, Tucker Bounds, got her name wrong."
Other media commentary from the 49th state include:
McCain's choice of Palin was somewhat surprising because she most definitely is not a standard-issue Republican. She worked with liberal Democrats in the Legislature to pass a multi-billion-dollar tax increase on Alaska's oil industry. She went back to Democrats again to win approval of her natural gas pipeline deal, which bypasses Alaska's major oil companies in favor of a Canadian company.
In fact, Palin is almost totally alienated from the Republican Party establishment here. She tried and failed to get rid of ethically compromised party Chair Randy Ruedrich; they're not on speaking terms. In the August primary, Palin urged fellow Republicans to desert long-time Congressman Don Young in favor of her inexperienced and uninspiring lieutenant governor, Sean Parnell.
Most people would acknowledge that, regardless of her charm and good intentions, Palin is not ready for the top job. McCain seems to have put his political interests ahead of the nation’s when he created the possibility that she might fill it.
It’s clear that McCain picked Palin for reasons of image, not substance. She’s a woman. She has fought corruption. She has fought the oil companies. She’s married to a union member. These are portrayals for campaign speeches; they are not policy positions.
In a few short years, Sarah Palin moved from small-town mayor with a taste for mooseburgers to the governor's office and now - making history - to John McCain's side as the first female running mate on a Republican presidential ticket.
She has more experience catching fish than dealing with foreign policy or national affairs. Talk about a rocketing ascent.
Selecting Palin is a maverick move for McCain who isn't known for lockstep marching with his own party. But Palin herself doesn't march to the drum of anyone but Palin. She is a servant to what she believes in.
She believes in God and family and heralds her simple roots in Alaska. Raised in small towns by a teacher and a school secretary, she married young and had five children, the latest of whom was born in the spring with Down syndrome. Religious conservatives will welcome her anti-abortion stand.
Like so many Alaskans, I heard the news about Palin first thing in the morning, and wondered what crazy world I had woken up to. I also finally realized Lehrer wasn’t joking.
McCain pulled a stunt today, the kind I thought American politics had gotten past.
To me it looks like McCain, a politician I have long admired, chose Palin just to have a woman on the ticket.
Sally and Chuck Heath had no idea what they were about to learn today. That was before they got a call early this morning telling them to turn on the news. On the screen their daughter, Gov. Sarah Palin, was standing before a raucous crowd in Dayton, Ohio, accepting Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain’s offer to become his vice presidential running mate.
“I didn’t know,” Chuck Heath said in an interview at his home later Friday morning. “Sarah didn’t say a word to us.” The news has created national buzz over just who Palin is and has brought Alaska to the forefront of media reports across the country. It has also brought the media to the Heath home in Wasilla, where Palin’s parents were still adjusting to the news.
“On a one to 100 scale, it’s about 101,” Sally Heath said of her excitement level.