(St. Paul, Minnesota)
I was in Denver Friday when Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was chosen by John McCain to be his Vice-presidential running mate. I assumed by the time I got to St. Paul, there would be plenty of misgivings to report from the Republican side. After all, John McCain’s habit of shooting from the hip has often offended his own party. Surely the Palin choice would do that again.
Boy was I wrong! The level of enthusiasm for her has just amazed me, and has not subsided one bit over the revelation that Palin has a pregnant 17 year old daughter.
“I can’t pass judgment on somebody else,” said Nadine Gulit, a delegate from Washington State. “We all raise kids,” Gulit said, “but sooner or later they make their own decisions.” Gulit gives the Palin family a lot of credit for supporting the teen, who will marry her boyfriend and raise their baby.
I was talking to people from Washington State, because they have a lot of contacts with Alaska and Palin is already a household name in their world. I was curious what Palin’s nomination meant for women in general. “It took down all barriers,” Gulit told me, “it’s now wide open.”
Gulit is deeply involved in Washington’s military establishment and is co-founder of “Operation Support Our Troops” which sends over ten thousand gifts baskets to service personnel overseas each year, especially around holidays. (Go to www.OSOT.org if you’d like to donate). Palin’s oldest son who is in the Army will son be deployed to Iraq. (A son of Joe Biden and one of John McCain’s, have or will serve there too).
Gulit said reaction to Palin among military families was enormous and people wanted to help the campaign. “I tell you what, I think we all jumped for joy,” she said, “our phones rang off the wall.”
Palin has a history as a reformer in Alaska, even taking on top leaders of the Republican Party there. Gulit expects that to expand if she’s elected. “She’ll start shaking up DC in a hurry, and move those good-old boys,” Gulit said.
For their part, Democrats here remain unconvinced and point to Palin’s lack of much foreign policy experience. But this is an unusual election year and there have been so many surprises, we ought to stop acting surprised. But, it kind of makes you wonder, what is coming around the corner next?
I’ll have more blogs throughout the day Tuesday, and we are now hearing President Bush will address the convention Tuesday night via satellite instead of in person.
Check back at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.