Statement of Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
On John McCain’s Choice for VP
August 29, 2008
“A real test of a presidential candidate’s judgment is his choice of a running mate – the person who is next in line to become the Commander in Chief. As we face serious global challenges and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, John McCain has chosen someone with virtually no national security or foreign policy experience. This choice calls into question both Senator McCain’s judgment and a McCain administration’s ability to lead a nation in crisis.
To the extent that this choice represents an effort to court supporters of Hillary Clinton’s historic candidacy, McCain misjudges the reasons so many voters rallied around her candidacy. It was Senator Clinton’s experience, skill and commitment to change, especially in the areas of health care and energy policy, that drew such strong support. Sarah Palin’s opposition to Roe v. Wade and her support of big oil will not draw Democrats from the Obama-Biden ticket.”
Summary of Gov. Palin’s positions on LGBT issues
1. Prior to being elected governor, Palin supported the 1998 constitutional amendment barring marriage for same-sex couples and has said she would support a ballot measure overturning a state supreme court decision mandating benefits for domestic partners of state employees
2. She is close to “traditional values” groups, like Family Research Council, because she is strongly anti-choice
Overall impression: Gov. Palin is strongly opposed to marriage equality and even domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples. However, her brief term in office (starting in December 2006) provides little evidence of her positions on other LGBT issues.
Marriage and Relationship Recognition
· Palin has said that she supported the 1998 constitutional amendment on marriage.
· She told the Anchorage Daily News that she would support a ballot question that would deny benefits to the domestic partners of public employees, which was ordered by an October 2005 decision of the Alaska Supreme Court because “honoring the family structure is that important.”
· While agreeing to do her duty and implement the Court’s decision, she also signed legislation –her first as Governor of Alaska—to put the issue to a nonbinding advisory vote by the public in April 2007. This was the only issue on the ballot and cost the state taxpayers $1.2 million. This measure passed, but did not translate into further legislative action to put forward a constitutional amendment
· She did, however, veto legislation that would halt the provision of DP benefits in defiance of the Supreme Court’s ruling. She did this after the Supreme Court had already ruled and the Attorney General (Republican) advised her that the legislation was unconstitutional.
Ties to Anti-LGBT Groups
· She will be honored alongside Michelle Bachman at an event at the 2008 Republican Convention, the “Life of the Party,” sponsored by Phyllis Schlafly.
Sources have confirmed that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain has selected Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.
On gay issues, Palin has said marriage should be between a man and a woman, though also stated she has gay and lesbian friends and is receptive to concerns about discrimination. She complied with a state Supreme Court order to implement same-sex benefits for state government, signing them into law, after the previous governor’s administration had failed to comply. Her first veto after taking office was of legislation that would have barred same-sex benefits for partners of gay state employees.
Alaska has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, passed in 1998, and was one of the first states to do so.
Palin is anti-choice and a member of Feminists for Life, as well as a lifetime member of the NRA.
Palin took office as governor in 2006. Prior to that, she served on the City Council of Wasilla, Alaska (near Anchorage) and as the city’s mayor. She also served on the Alaska Conservation Commission, which regulates oil and gas resources in the state and served as president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors.
She has a reputation as a political outsider and ran her 2006 gubernatorial campaign on a platform of clean government. Once in office, she has also focused on education, public safety and transportation.
Perhaps tomorrow, when Denver empties and after the memories of fireworks fade, as people get on their planes to go home, they’ll also return to their plane before all this began. They might remember that they have jobs to return to, or responsibilities that will keep them from putting in any extra effort to help elect the man who spoke in Mile High Stadium tonight. They’ll return to their communities who still hold tight to racism no matter how much they hide or show it, and lose faith in this man who wants to lead first and make history second. People might fall victim to the Republican methods of muddying people, or fall victim to muddying themselves. Their lives will remain comfortable, problemless, straight lines, and they’ll stay on that road, unwavering and unwilling to take the highs with the lows. They’ll dream big for Christmases with their kids, safety for their families and the world as it is, not what it can be. After all, as many would say, today is all we have.
And as today turns into tomorrow, perhaps it will be forgotten by most, except for those who were there.
But every single person in that stadium will remember it. The memories will be as different as the highest rafter to point-one podium, but they’ll remain. It wasn’t about changing the world, at least not for me. It was about a man surrounded by something that forced its way through history, inevitable and certainly unexpected. And a man who wanted it enough to go through it, and who took everything he had from all areas of his life, positive and negative, put it out there, and didn’t look back, at least for those brief moments he may never replicate again. Luckily for him, those moments will be there forever in history, as is.
Surprisingly, despite snaking lines throughout the neighborhoods surrounding the stadium, it was a brisk 45 minutes to get inside. People in line are excited and didn’t seem to mind. The line moved faster than anybody expected considering the additional security here compared to a Broncos game. There were multiple points of entry, one of which required people to migrate over a bridge. It felt almost like the New York City blackout for Brooklynites working in the city.
Obviously the majority of people didn’t attend the convention the past 3 nights but it’s much more fun. The families here are inspiring. All those babies will be told they were here by their parents and wonder what the hell all of the fuss was about.
Hopefully we’ll have a great president to tell them about in that case.