Palin on Obama
By Philip Gourevitch
The New Yorker [September 8, 2008]
This was two weeks ago, at the statehouse in Juneau. After persistent reports, in July, that Palin was on McCain’s short list of potential running mates, her name had faded back into obscurity. Nobody in Alaska seemed to take her seriously as a national prospect, and she had shrugged the whole thing off on television, telling CNBC’s Larry Kudlow that, before considering the job, she would want to know “what is it, exactly, that the V.P. does every day.” Now, at the statehouse, she sat, unattended by aides, curled up in a cardigan, and explained that what she had done every day since becoming governor was to stick her thumb in the eye of Alaska’s Republican Party establishment. “The G.O.P. leader of the state—we haven’t spoken since I got elected,” she said.
She went on, “I guess if you take the individual issues, two that I believe would be benchmarks showing whether you’re a hard-core Republican conservative or not, would be: I’m a lifetime member of the N.R.A.—but this is Alaska, who isn’t?—and I am pro-life, absolutely.” She continued, “I guess that puts me in a box of being hard-core Republican.” But she said she recognized that “the Democrats also preach individual freedoms and individual rights, capitalism, free market, let-it-do-its-thing-best, let people keep as much of their money that they earn as possible. And when it comes to, like, the Party machine, no one will accuse me of being partisan.”So the possibility that Obama might win Alaska did not worry Palin: “Turning maybe purple in the state means, to me, it’s more independent, it’s not the obsessive partisanship that gets in the way of doing what’s right for this state, and I think on a national level that’s what we’re gonna see.” And she added, “That’s why McCain is the candidate for the G.O.P.—because he’s been known as the maverick, as the conduit for some change.” In the state’s Republican caucus, McCain came in fourth, trailing Ron Paul. “I always looked at Senator McCain just as a Joe Blow public member, looking from the outside in,” she said. “He’s been buttin’ heads with Republicans for years, and that’s a healthy place to be.” Then again, on McCain’s signature issue—the prosecution of the war in Iraq—she did not sound so gung-ho. Her son is a soldier, and she said, “I’m a mom, and my son is going to get deployed in September, and we better have a real clear plan for this war. And it better not have to do with oil and dependence on foreign energy.”