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RealClearPolitics - Articles - Gerard Baker

Last Build Date: Mon, 01 Sep 2008 09:30:13 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 2009

Sarah Palin vs. Barack Obama

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 09:30:13 -0600

So much for the similarities. How about the differences? Political experience Obama: Worked his way to the top by cultivating, pandering to and stroking the most powerful interest groups in the all-pervasive Chicago political machine, ensuring his views were aligned with the power brokers there. Palin: Worked her way to the top by challenging, attacking and actively undermining the Republican party establishment in her native Alaska. She ran against incumbent Republicans as a candidate willing and able to clean the Augean Stables of her state's government. Political Biography Obama: A classic, if unusually talented, greasy-pole climber. Held a succession of jobs that constitute the standard route to the top in his party's internal politics: "community organizer", law professor, state senator. Palin:A woman with a wide range of interests in a well-variegated life. Held a succession of jobs - sports journalist, commercial fisherwoman, state oil and gas commissioner, before entering local politics. A resume that suggests something other than burning political ambition from the cradle but rather the sort of experience that enables her to understand the concerns of most Americans.. Political history Obama: Elected to statewide office only after a disastrous first run for a congressional seat and after his Republican opponent was exposed in a sexual scandal. Won seat eventually in contest against a candidate who didn't even live in the state. Palin: Elected to statewide office by challenging a long-serving Republican incumbent governor despite intense opposition from the party. Appeal Obama: A very attractive speaker whose celebrity has been compared to that of Britney Spears and who sends thrills up Chris Matthews' leg Palin: A very attractive woman, much better-looking than Britney Spears who speaks rather well too. She sends thrills up the leg of Rush Limbaugh (and me). Executive experience Obama: Makes executive decisions every day that affect the lives of his campaign staff and a vast crowd of traveling journalists Palin:Makes executive decisions every day that affect the lives of 500,000 people in her state, and that impact crucial issues of national economic interest such as the supply and cost of energy to the United States. Religious influences Obama: Regards people who "cling" to religion and guns as "bitter" . Spent 20 years being mentored and led spiritually by a man who proclaimed "God damn America" from his pulpit. Mysteriously, this mentor completely disappeared from public sight about four months ago. Palin: Head of her high school Fellowship of Christian Athletes and for many years a member of the Assemblies of God congregation whose preachers have never been known to accuse the United States of deliberately spreading the AIDS virus. They remain in full public sight and can be seen every Sunday in churches across Alaska. A proud gun owner who has been known to cling only to the carcasses of dead caribou felled by her own aim. Record of bipartisan achievement Obama: Speaks movingly of the bipartisanship needed to end the destructive politics of "Red America" and "Blue America", but votes in the Senate as a down-the-line Democrat, with one of the most liberal voting records in congress. Palin: Ridiculed by liberals such as John Kerry as a crazed, barely human, Dick Cheney-type conservative but worked wit Democrats in the state legislature to secure landmark anti-corruption legislation. Former state Rep. Ethan Berkowitz - a Democrat - said. "Gov. Palin has made her name fighting corruption within her own party, and I was honored when she stepped across party lines and asked me to co-author her ethics white paper." On Human Life Obama: Devoutly pro-choice. Voted against a bill in the Illinois state senate that would have required doctors to save the lives of babies who survived abortion procedures. The implication of this position is that babies born prematurely during abortions would be left alone, unnourished and unmedicated, until they died. Palin: Devo[...]