People For the American Way

Sarah Palin: McCain’s Birthday Gift to the Right


Contact: Peter Montgomery or Drew Courtney at People for the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

When Republican Presidential nominee John McCain announced that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would be his running mate, many pundits scrambled to examine her thin record, but the religious right exulted. Phyllis Schlafly called Palin “the best possible choice,” and Matt Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, declared the choice, “absolutely brilliant.”

Right wing leaders have good cause for optimism. During Palin’s short tenure in public office, she’s demonstrated her commitment to their ultra-conservative policies. In her two years as governor, Palin has:

  • Opposed reproductive freedom even in cases of rape and incest and appointed an anti-choice judge to the Alaska Supreme Court to reverse pro-choice decisions of the Court

  • Supported teaching creationism in public school science classes

  • Opposed providing same-sex partner benefits to state employees and supported efforts to put a constitutional amendment denying benefits on the state ballot

  • Supported taking control of funds for social service grants away from municipalities and giving them to the state office of faith based initiatives instead.

“By selecting Sarah Palin, John McCain is pandering to far right extremists,” said People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert. “In case after case, he’s given the right wing exactly what it wants. It should come as no surprise that he’s done it again.

“If he thinks he can win the support of women who supported Hillary Clinton by selecting Sarah Palin, he’s deeply mistaken,” Kolbert said. “Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton. Palin is on the opposite side of every issue progressives care deeply about.”

Kolbert also pointed out that eight years ago, when McCain briefly stood up to “agents of intolerance” in the Republican party, Palin was unimpressed. In the 2000 presidential Republican primaries, she supported right-wing darling Pat Buchanan.

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