0

How the Palin ploy plays out within Georgia

You will never see me write again that the Republican Party is the dumb party. Corrupt maybe, or hypocritical or tobacco roadish, but never dumb.

The selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate was the slickest tactical move I have seen in politics. It took the wind right out of the Democrats' sails and swept Barack Obama's name out of the headlines. As soon as Palin was announced, that hissing sound you heard was the air going out of the donkeys' momentum.

Though, for the life of me, I cannot picture in my mind's eye the Hillary Clinton supporter who would switch to the McCain-Palin ticket because of the perception that Sarah has replaced Hillary as the women voters' champion. Hillary's supporters are mostly Democrats and Independents. Sarah is an extreme Republican and a strong antidepressant for the GOP's evangelical bloc. The right-wing church folks seemed a bit down after maverick McCain, a sometimes pro-choice guy, won the primaries and the nomination. They ought to be feeling a whole lot better now that Palin, an unconditional anti-abortionist, is on board.

You have to wonder how a couple of Georgia's Republican bigwigs feel, really feel, about Palin.

Oh, I know what they say. "Choosing her was pure genius." One even referred privately to her as "the hottie on the ticket."

Wonder what Gov. Sonny Perdue thinks. At one point early in the guessing game for VP, Perdue's name was mentioned as a possibility. He was an officer of the Republican Governors Association when Palin's star began to rise. And guess what?

The RGA opposed Sarah Palin for governor of Alaska. The organization tried to get her to drop out of the race. Perdue and his RGA pals went to the aid of incumbent Frank Murkowski, who was beaten by Palin. (Of course, that is the kind of thing governors' associations typically do - help incumbents.)

Let's be frank about it. Palin probably wouldn't work out as, say, the governor of Georgia. She may not understand all the perks and requirements. The first thing she did as governor of Alaska was to park the state's airplane. Sonny couldn't wait to try out Georgia's multiple flying machines when he won the keys to the mansion and the Peach State air force.

Palin is an outspoken critic of government pork. She even opposed her own state's multimillion-dollar bridge to nowhere. I'm always suspicious of public officials who make too much of a tad of pork barrel. I guess that's just the poor Southerner in me. Why send someone to Washington if they don't plan to bring back a little something?

One other thing: Gov. Palin's involved in a state patrol scandal. Something about trying to have her brother-in-law fired from the patrol after he beat up her sister. Sounds like she would fit right in with our crowd down at the trailer park, right, Sonny? Besides, show me a governor, any governor, and I'll show you state patrol scandals. They go with the office.

Looking back, Sonny didn't have a chance to get on the McCain ticket. He just had too much stuff in his background: Oaky Woods, the Confederate flag, Disney World property. Still, he's close to McCain and stands ready to help. Remember last Thursday? When a major political party chose to nominate for the first time an African-American for president, McCain hauls out Perdue to hit Obama with a message that America's not ready for an Obama. Perdue issued his statement on the 45th anniversary of Dr. King's Lincoln Memorial Speech.

After the Democratic convention in Denver, another prominent Georgian came to mind. Sen. Sam Nunn, reportedly an adviser to Obama on foreign policy, also was mentioned for vice president. And the Democrats indeed chose as their VP a non-Southern Nunn type, Sen. Joe Biden, an expert on international matters.

The big differences between Nunn and Biden: Nunn doesn't come close to matching Biden in the hot-air department. Obama figures he doesn't need any of the old Confederacy to win, unless one counts Virginia and Florida as OC states. So Nunn was out.

If Obama wins, Nunn would certainly be in line for a cabinet-level post, and so would Perdue if McCain triumphs.

Syndicated columnist Bill Shipp writes on Georgia politics. E-mail him at shipp1@bellsouth.net.