Jessica Mondillo’s Blog


Palin: An Analysis of Strengths and Weaknesses

29 August 2008

96.9 WTKK in Boston has had callers all day arguing whether Palin was a good choice for McCain’s VP nominee.  I did some research on her past record.

If McCain was looking for a running mate who would have high conservative ideals to help draw in conservatives, Palin is a great choice.  She is a Republican but is not afraid to fight against corruption.  She has lowered taxes in Alaska and favored many Republican ideals including bans against same sex marriage, working for ethics laws, pro-life, and pro-gun.  This will help swing Republicans who were uncertain about McCain’s allegiance a bit more towards his side.

Palin went to the University of Idaho and got a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in political science.  I have heard a lot of people make comments about this making her unqualified.  Personally, I am not big on Master’s Degrees.  I have sat in on some classes for some of the Boston University Master’s Degrees and felt that not only could the work be done by an undergrad, but unless you are going in to be a doctor or possibly a lawyer you could learn as much if not more from real life experience and by keeping up on the literature of the topic.  But the fact that she didn’t have a masters wasn’t the only thing they picked on.  It was what her bachelor’s degree was in–Journalism.  Although my major is film, I have taken several journalism classes and believe that a Journalism degree is actually an advantage.  First there are many nuances of news reporting that politics relate to.  Second of all many communications related classes have a section that focus on politics because the two are so closely interrelated.  Since Palin also has a minor in Political Science, I feel that she has a pretty good understanding of politics from a theoretical stand point.  I do not think her education really works against her.

Experience is another concern people have about Palin.  Although she doesn’t have US Senate experience, she has held an elected office for more time than Barack Obama.  Also others who have run for president including Bill Clinton, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney had the majority of their experience as governor not a US Senator.  Besides this, Palin has proved to be a quick learner in her past positions and I am sure would be able to do the same in the VP position.

Her family has come up and has mainly been seen as an advantage.  She grew up with humble beginnings as the daughter of a teacher and a school secretary.  Even now she has similar links, her husband is a union worker and has worked in the Alaskan fishing industry.  This helps create a link between her and the common person.  The concern that I do see with her family is that she has five children.  One of them is my age (19), and most of them are in their teens but her youngest one is 4 months old.  The child has Down Syndrome, which although it supports her pro-life stance, could be seen as a distraction if something were to happen to McCain and she became President.  This may not be a problem if Palin’s husband is the primary care giver of the children, but at this point it seems unclear.

Now to me one of the big issues is if she is pro-gun or anti-gun.  From some research I found that not only is Palin pro-gun, she has a life time membership to the National Rifle Association (NRA).  I think this is important because it shows that she supports what I believe to be one of the most important and controversial amendments of the Constitution and likely supports the entire document.

Another issue is her patriotism.  I personally have no doubt about her patriotism.  Not only did she applaud McCain’s service record, she has a son who is being deployed on September 11th and is in the United States Army.  In addition to this, she is the head of the Alaskan National Guard.  Palin has also taken trips to Iraq to meet with the troops and build moral.

Although she has some flaws, Palin seems to have many strengths that make her both electable and a decent VP candidate (although not perfect — and no one is).  Palin is patriotic, knows the struggles of the common man, holds conservative ideals, and has political experience.


Election 2008: An Election for the History Books & A Mockery of the US Political System

29 August 2008

This election year is proving to be one for the history book.  Senator Barack Obama is the first African American male to be the Presidential nominee for a US political party and has a chance to be the first African American President of the United States.  Governor Sarah Palin has the chance to be the first woman Vice President of the United States (and also the first woman President of the United States if McCain is elected and something, God forbid, happens to him).

Despite what will be a historic event no matter which party wins, the media and the people are putting too much store in this.  Although not all voters do this, many people are excited by the idea that they can help make history and are basing their vote on that instead of a candidate’s qualifications.  Hopefully with both parties now have a chance at history this will not be an issue, but I fear that it will be.

The media, and the candidates should not pay attention to the race, sex, or any other unique factor about a candidate’s personal life but instead what Americans NEED to hear about, the policies.  Having the first African American President or female Vice President would be great progress for the United States but not at the expense of putting a person into power who does not have the skills or qualifications to do the job.

I have heard people make the claim that if you are against Obama you are racist and that Senator John McCain is running ads against Obama because he is racist.  Both of these ideas seem absurd to me.  Political elections always have ads about the other candidate, not to discriminate but to try to increase poll numbers and give facts to the public.  I heard a similar claim was made about Senator Hillary Clinton, if you didn’t vote for her you were sexist. 

Disagreeing with a politician’s views should not earn people derogatory titles such as “racist” or “sexist.”  Everyone needs to get over the history of this election and look at issues.  I honestly believe that although the majority of people are probably doing that, the most obvious people, the media and politicians, are not and are instead promoting records that go against the ideals of what the United States political system was suppose to be.


Sarah Palin is NOT the first woman to be a Vice Presidential Nominee

29 August 2008

With John McCain’s recent decision to have Sarah Palin as his vice presidential nominee brings up the question, is she the first woman to be on a ballot for vice president?

The answer is no.  Women have been running for vice president since the 1800s.

Marietta Lizzie Bell Stow, of the Equal Rights Party, ran as the running mate of Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood in 1884.

Although there has not been a female vice presidential candidate in a major party for more than 20 years, there have been several in the smaller parties.

To find more information on female vice presidential candidates you can visit this site.  It gives the year, party, country, and in many case some background information on former female candidates.


Sarah Palin is John McCain’s Vice President

29 August 2008

McCain announced that Alaskan governor Sarah Palin will be his vice president.  This may have come as a shock to many, especially since Palin was not on the short list of people McCain was considering for VP.  The question is was this a good choice?

Yesterday, I heard about a poll that pick former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney as the person on McCain’s “short list” that would have most benefited him.  Romney would have helped McCain gain at least 1 out of every 5 voters (all over the country as well as across party lines) that were not already committed to McCain.  In addition Romney would have helped McCain almost definitely secure Michigan and many of the Midwestern states.  Romney would also be able to help McCain fill in gaps on economic issues, which McCain admits a lack of expertise.  So why not pick Romney?

McCain obviously felt that Palin would be more beneficial and pull in more voters.  After listening to her speech, she does have many accomplishments including fighting government corruption, having an average family life, and crossing party lines.  Despite these accomplishments, Palin was relatively unheard of before today and will not draw many people in on name recognition.

In her speech Palin acknowledged New York Senator Hillary Clinton and the cracks she made in the “glass ceiling.”  She also reminded people that this week is the anniversary of women receiving the right to vote.  Palin then commented that we can “finish breaking the glass ceiling.”  This makes it seem like Palin was not selected for her credentials (or at least not entirely), but instead because she is a woman who may be able to attract female voters from both parties, especially former Hillary supporters.

Obviously no one will know how this affects McCain in the election, but I truly do NOT believe that Palin was selected merely on credentials.  Beyond having an impressive story and her ability to reach across party lines to work against government problems, I feel that by ignoring certain issues in her speech Palin may lack expertise on issues such as the economy.  I guess the next 2 months and the RNC will tell.