Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Arnold Schwarzenegger OK, Howard Dean OK, but Sarah Palin NOT OK?

Conservatives, Elections, McCain 2008, Obama 2008, Truth

It amazes me that the question is still out there: Is Sarah Palin qualified to be Vice President or God forbid, President? Considering Senator Barack Obama has so little experience, the question is laughable.

In the race for the White House, Governors traditionally are hands down the favorite against Senators or Congressmen. Since Governors must prepare a budget and run their state, it is thought that their executive experience translates more completely to the presidency than experience in other branches of government.

John F. Kennedy was the most recent Senator to win the White House. All elected Presidents since JFK were Governors. But here is a little known fact: Not all govornors are created equal. Equal in power that is. 

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting piece called, Running Alaska, back on Sept. 10, 2008. It explained the differences in governing responsibilities between the states. Some states have governors that take on more of a P.R. roll vs. governors who run the whole show. (Mayors are much the same. Some just do ribbon cuttings etc. while the Administrative Director does the real work. I'll let you decide where Mayor Speaker and Director of Administration Dean Marquardt's responsibilities fall.)

The article explained that Thad Beyle, a political scientist at University of North Carolina actually rates each state's governor on "potential length of service, budgetary an appointment authority, veto power and other factors." He has been doing this for 20 years.

At one time there was talk of changing the laws so that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger could run for president. (He is a citizen but not natural born citizen.)  Now that California is deeply in debt, that dream will fizzle. Another former actor and former governor of California, Ronald Reagan, became one of our most beloved presidents. California is a large state. It certainly must rank high on the Beyle scale?  

Nope. On his scale of 5, California ranks 3.2. "California may be the nation's most populous state, but its Governor rates as below-average (3.2) in executive authority. This may account in part for Arnold Schwarzenegger's poor legislative track record." 

How about Howard Dean? He was a front runner in the last go round until he had that whooping up moment. Early on it was thought Dean would win the Democratic nomination. Howard Dean was governor of Vermont. There was no discussion of Dean being unqualified for the White House.

So how does Vermont's governor rate?  The lowest of all of the states, 2.5. In Vermont, the governor is really a "figurehead when compared to [you guessed it] Mrs. Palin."

Only one state rates higher than Alaska and that is Massachusetts (that would be Governor Mitt Romney.)

And what about Alaska? Well, it's a big state with big responsibilities--"one of the country's most powerful." Alaska ranks 4.1. "The national average is 3.5." Maryland, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia also rank at 4.1.

In Alaska, the Governor has line-item veto power over the budget and can only be overridden by a three-quarter majority of the Legislature.
In 1992, the year Arkansas governor Bill Clinton was elected President, his state budget was $2 billion and among the smallest in the country. Compared to that, Sarah Palin is an executive giant.
So can we stop asking the question? Voter's will decide on Tuesday and either she will be the Vice President or go back to being Governor of Alaska. In any event, in 2012, she will have 4 more years under her belt. If she decides to run again, it will be difficult to deny that the questioner's bias is showing. 


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