"Tougher in Alaska" host Geo Beach discusses Sarah Palin

Geo Beach

What are they saying way up north in Alaska about Governor Sarah Palin getting the nod as John McCain's running mate?

One person you can bet is never afraid to share his opinion is popular History Channel TV host of "Tougher in Alaska," Geo Beach. Geo, who is also an award-winning columnist, reached out to us this afternoon (morning in Alaska) and offered an exclusive 'Top O' th Planet' dispatch for "The Vote" blog.

Well, get this: He definitely has an opinion. We welcome all opinions here at "The Vote," so don't be shy to give us the opposite point of view, either in a column or a comment. We love it when everybody gets to talk. With that.....here's Geo:

About last night

by Geo Beach

Yesterday on the eve of Barack Obama's official nomination, John McCain sent what the New York Times called "a Valentine" campaign ad to Barack. Today McCain has pulled off the biggest coup of the election season with his selection of Alaska Gov Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Um, about last night -- this morning's announcement was Cupid's arrow shot through that heart.

McCain gets a running mate who is young (diminishing the perceived negative of his age), female (snookering Obama for Hillary's hold-outs), executive (to his legislative) and most important, both by her deserved reputation and by the impact of the choice itself, re-establishes McCain's eroded credentials as a genuine maverick candidate. That appeals to the middle voters who will decide the election.

Plus, McCain's choice of Palin achieves what McCain himself can never do -- it took the words right out of Obama's mouth.

The acceptance speech that was so essential to Obama has been filed in the dusty back drawers of political history, as if the text had never been given voice. Media are addicted to the new and the now, and now the Labor Day Weekend will be all I Dream Of Sarah and no echoes of I Had A Dream. Magic.

Forget political analysts -- they were wrong again, saying that veep selections don't make electoral difference.

Obama, agent of change, picks an old white senator who failed at presidential politics twenty years ago. McCain, an old white senator who failed at presidential politics eight years ago, picks a fresh, pro-life, NRA-packing governor from the wild West. Maverick.

And Mom. Who's changing politics today?

Obama's campaign had originally even targeted Alaska -- which hasn't gone Dem in a presidential election since '76 -- as a potential swing state. Their figuring was based on the iconoclastic nature of this state’s electorate. But the cross-over mentality Obama's campaign identified will cut the other way now, with many Democrats here going to Sarah. There's no longer a left wing or a prayer for Alaska going blue.

Obama missed his best chance for the presidency when he skipped Janet Napolitano, governor of Arizona, as running mate. She would have brought gender, executive experience, and Western states credibility to the ticket. Not only is she a former attorney general, something that would have enhanced the ticket's centrist appeal, she's been elected in John McCain's home state -- and re-elected.

Red, right, return – the mariner’s mantra home to safe harbor.

Any way you play the political checker-board, Janet jumps Joe Biden -- and McCain plus whoever. If Obama had named Napolitano, it would have been just a few moves to "King Me".

Instead, we have guaranteed change at the highest level of government -- courtesy of John McCain. Not just maybe a black president, but for certain either a woman or person of color at the top of the executive branch.

But there's another first. The 2008 election will put either a Hawaiian or an Alaskan at the pinnacles of Washington DC fifty years after statehood for the 49th and 50th states.

Don't forget to forget political analysts.

Cokie Roberts recently dismissed Barack Obama because he vacationed in his home state of Hawaii, which Roberts called "some sort of foreign, exotic place". Cokie thought Barack should have been in Myrtle Beach. That's as ridiculous as ridiculing Barack as a weird name when we have a Cokie on ABC's This Week.

Memo to Mrs Roberts -- Hawaii isn't foreign. It's been American territory since 1898.

Cokie should know better. Her father, Hale Boggs, was killed in that other discontiguous state when he was campaigning for Rep Nick Begich's reelection in 1972.

In Alaska.

Now, in another display of dynastic politics, Nick's son Mark is running to take out Sen Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the history of the US Senate. It's a central race in this year's national political landscape.

So don’t make Cokie’s mistake. Alaska's neither exotic (no palm trees – some places no trees at all!) nor foreign (it’s been American for 141 years). And it's no longer off the upper left-hand corner of American consciousness.

With Sarah Palin on John McCain's ticket, Alaska isn’t just hot. It’s right in the middle of America.

Good Morning!

Geo Beach recently received the best columnist award from the Alaska Press Club. Previously, as national affairs commentator for Monitor Radio, Beach was awarded the SDX medallion from the Society of Professional Journalists. Email geobeach@columnist.com

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