Palin, polar bears and the presidency

They're soft and they're cuddly and they're cute. And to quote Bill Murray from Ghostbusters, they'll "bite your head off, man."

Not talking about Gozer or Zuul (with apologies for more Ghostbusters references), but polar bears. John McCain running mate Sarah Palin has been outspoken on the topic. She's not anti-polar bear, but thinks listing the omnivore under the Endangered Species Act was a mistake.

Before the Interior Department listed the world's largest predator as a threatened species back in May, Palin wrote an op-ed in the New York Times expressing opposition to federal action.

"There is insufficient evidence that polar bears are in danger of becoming extinct within the foreseeable future -- the trigger for protection under the ESA," she wrote. "And there is no evidence that polar bears are being mismanaged through existing international agreements and the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act."

Palin argued that the State of Alaska - with federal cooperation - had done a good job in protecting the species stating that "polar bears are more numerous now than they were 40 years ago."

"The state takes very seriously its job of protecting polar bears and their habitat and is well aware of the problems caused by climate change," she wrote.

Palin lost the argument. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne won. Palin appealed.

In suing the Bush administration earlier this month, Palin argued the listing will have a detrimental impact on Alaska's economy noting oil and gas exploration, transportation, and tourism could all be affected.

While this issue did generate some media attention, it is now front-page and Sunday talk show fodder.

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry called her a member of the "flat-earth caucus" this morning on ABC News' "This Week."

"With the choice of Gov. Palin, it’s the third term of Dick Cheney," he said.  "He’s chosen somebody who doesn’t believe climate change is man-made."

Kerry seems to be accurate describing her opinion on climate change. She did tell Newsmax she wasn't convinced.

"A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location," Palin said. "I'm not one though who would attribute it to being man-made."

This position stands in contrast to the Republican platform:

"The same human activity that has brought freedom and opportunity to billions has also increased the amount of carbon in the atmosphere," it reads. "Increased atmospheric carbon has a warming effect on the Earth. While the scope and long-term consequences of this warming effect are the subject of ongoing research, we believe the United States should take measured and reasonable steps today.”

Will McCain veer over to Palin? Will Palin have a change of heart? Or will they be at loggerheads?

If the Ketchikan Daily News is right, she's every bit as 'maverick' as John McCain.

"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."
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