On Aug. 29, Senator John McCain announced that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would be his running mate. From that point forward, Palin and her family have been the subjects of nonstop media bashing. You may think the media would want to celebrate a woman like Palin, but you would be wrong. She has been accused of many things from hating women to faking the birth of her fifth child. Putting aside the media’s unfair treatment of her, Palin’s political rsum, thick with executive expertise, makes Senator Barack Obama’s look frail.
Palin rose through the ranks of Alaskan politics with no previous connections. She served two terms as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. In her six years as mayor (1996-2002), she was responsible for cutting property taxes, improving sewers and roads, putting in bike paths around Wasilla and stopping pointless spending.

At age 42, Palin became the first female governor of Alaska. She governed with a budget of $12 billion and 16,000 full-time employees. In 1992, when Bill Clinton took the White House, the Arkansas state budget was $2 billion. An article in the New York Times states, ‘Alaska is harder to govern than a smaller, more settled realm in the Lower 48.”

Political scientist Thad Beyle from the University of North Carolina rates various states’ institutional powers on factors ranging from appointment and budgetary authority to veto power. For the year 2008, Alaska was ranked 4.1 on a 5-point scale. The average for the U.S. is 3.5. Even forgetting the fact that she raised five children, this woman has handled a great deal of responsibility in her years.

To compare her lifetime achievements to Obama’s is unfair; not to her, but to him. He is running for the presidency and she for the vice presidency. Senator Hillary Clinton once said, ‘I think I have a lifetime of experience that I will bring to the White House, I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience that he will bring to the White House and Senator Obama has a speech he gave in 2002.” Aside from his law degree, Obama was a community organizer for a few years. It is unclear what he accomplished or organized during this time. He spent seven years in the Illinois senate and three-and-a-half years in the U.S. Senate. He was sworn in as senator on Jan. 4, 2005. Obama announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency on Feb. 10, 2007. I’m not too good with math, but it seems as though he has been running for president for about half of the time he has been in the U.S. Senate.

With all this talk of book banning, let’s get the facts straight. While mayor in Wasilla, Palin inquired about the possibility of censorship. The bottom line is that she never banned any books. Let’s not forget Senator Joe Biden’s propensity for using others’ words as his own. While at Syracuse University, he pulled portions of text that were not his for a law review article. Again, in his failed 1987 bid for the White House, he plagiarized a speech by Neil Kinnock.

Palin has received flack because she was for the ‘Bridge to Nowhere” before she was against it. But the fact remains that she stopped construction of the bridge and saved her citizens hundreds of millions of dollars. In the U.S. Senate, both Obama and Biden voted for the $223 million earmark for the bridge. Unlike Palin, Obama cannot admit when he is flat out wrong. In a recent interview, Obama stated that the surge has succeeded in ways that nobody anticipated. But instead of admitting that he was wrong, he dipped and dodged around the question like the skillful politician he is.

As mayor and governor, Palin has proven herself to be a powerful instrument for change and reform in Alaska. She adds another level of executive experience to McCain’s already hearty rsum. Obama, although he has the capacity to do so, still has yet to establish himself as an agent of change. Hopefully in November, Americans will stop being hypnotized by Obama’s lofty speeches and high rhetoric and choose the most qualified ticket.

Ciszewski is a member of the class of 2011.

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