Who Is Sarah Palin?

Larry Pratt, Executive Director, Gun Owners of America

The media reacted in stunned disbelief when Sen. John McCain chose Alaska’s governor, Sarah Palin, to be his vice-presidential running mate.

For rather different reasons, so did I.

In the run-up to McCain’s announcement of who would be his pick, I had looked somewhat into the background of Sarah Palin. My conclusion was that she was too conservative in general, and too pro-Second Amendment in particular, for John McCain.

So, when the Palin selection was announced by the McCain campaign, I was just as stunned as the media. Mine was a pleasant surprise — even, “too good to be true,” but for the media, the announcement was the beginning of a nightmare.

How dare the Republicans choose an attractive woman who is an accomplished trailblazer with a beautiful family who has left a rather wide swath in her home town and in her home state? And, those pictures of her and one of her daughters in the bloody snow kneeling over the carcass of a caribou she had just downed for future caribou burger! Beyond the pale!

Don’t the Republicans know that the only acceptable female candidate must be one who angrily stamps her little foot to insist that there will be zero tolerance of (yuck!) guns?

For the media, it gets worse. A lot worse.

Shortly after Sarah Palin was elected Mayor of Wasilla in 1996 she found that her police chief was lobbying in the state legislature — without her authority. He was opposing the now current law that recognizes that Alaskans have a right to carry a concealed firearm without any government permission whatsoever. So Palin fired the chief. He sued her and she beat him in court.

On another occasion, Palin learned that state troopers were not following the law regarding machine gun transfers. Federal law requires that an applicant for owning such a gun must get the signature of the chief law enforcement officer of his jurisdiction (state troopers outside of town in Alaska). The signature only certifies that the applicant will not be violating any state or local laws by owning the gun. Two days after the problem was brought to Palin’s attention, the troopers began following the law.

The only question that will have to be answered after the passage of time is, will McCain let Palin be Palin? And will she be able to make the pro-Second Amendment case within the councils of a McCain administration and pull McCain toward the Constitution?

It is a tough question to answer because both Palin and McCain are strong-willed individuals.

Many have questioned whether Palin has the executive experience necessary to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. But it may help to understand that she has made some very difficult decisions as mayor and governor in Alaska.

For example, she was willing to fire a lot more than just an insubordinate cop. She fired the entire Alaska Agricultural Board during a policy dispute and installed a new board so they would “take care of business.”

This is the kind of housecleaning that is needed in Washington. Palin has shown that she can fire insubordinate employees. If she makes it to Washington, GOA can get her a list of people who need firing, or where such firings are prohibited by law, we can recommend which bureaucrats need transferring to a new office in northern Alaska.

If the McCain-Palin ticket is elected, McCain will be the boss. But he better keep looking over his shoulder.