Wasilla wonder

I guess Sarah Palin is trying to steal my thunder.

I guess Sarah Palin is trying to steal my thunder.

As editor of the Redmond Reporter, I thought I was the biggest wonder from Wasilla, Alaska.

Not any more.

It’s hard to flip through the channels these days and not find a news flash about presidential candidate John McCain’s running mate, affectionately known as “Caribou Barbie,” amongst her liberal fans.

Who would have guessed that a girl who grew up in majestic Wasilla, Alaska – my hometown, of all places – would be part of one of the most historic presidential races in our country?

I, too, grew up in the small town 40 miles northeast of Anchorage in the Matanuska Susitna Valley. Just like Palin, my mom was a hockey mom. I graduated from Wasilla High in 1992, 10 years after Palin, so I actually never met her. But my father, a well-known general contractor in Wasilla, had some interaction with her when she was mayor of Wasilla. Like Palin, my father likes to go hunting. I don’t know if my dad is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association like Palin, but I know he owns a lot of rifles.

My dad is a big fan of Palin. You would think, being a fellow Wasillian, I, too, would jump on the Palin bandwagon. But, for me, the jury is still out.

On the surface she looks good, but, so far, it’s hard to find any substance. Right now, the big topic is lipstick on a pig, rather than healthcare reform, education and our nation’s bulging budget.

Even though I think it’s neat to say I went to the same high school as Palin, I am still scratching my head as to what McCain was thinking when he announced Palin as his running mate.

I think many would agree with me when I say, McCain is taking a gamble on Palin, the first-term governor of Alaska. Conventional wisdom says that McCain should have picked a veteran sidekick to augment the experience argument against Democrat Barack Obama.

It’s going to be hard for McCain’s camp to say Obama, a first-term senator, is not experienced enough to be president when McCain picked a 44-year-old former small-town mayor as his vice president.

Besides, Palin and McCain have already butted heads on their political views.

She is a very impressive public speaker and she comes from a blue collar background, something that always pulls at the heart strings of Americans. However she flashed some of that Republican elitism when she made a sarcastic remark about community organizers at the Republican Convention. Last time I checked, community organizers are the root of all action – not politicians.

It’s going to be a quick-get-to-know-ya with this attractive, rifle-totting hockey mom, weather we like it or not. And you can bet what she doesn’t tell us, the Democrats — and media — will. As a matter of fact, the city government of Wasilla, inundated by journalists and researchers seeking information about former mayor Sarah Palin, set up a page on the municipal Web site, titled “Questions & Answers Concerning Mayor Palin,” to accommodate requests and minimize the amount of time local employees have to spend answering questions.

There’s no question, Palin has energized this election. She has seemingly gotten inside the heads of many Democrats, including Obama himself. She has proven she can rock the boat, but can she navigate it.

Maverick McCain is hoping his gamble will pay dividends.

While the cards have yet to be flipped for Palin, her selection guarantees history will be made: Either there will be a black president of a female vice president.

For Palin to make the cut, she will have show us she is much more than just a political novelty.

Afterall, if she’s going to pass me in the Wasilla most-famous list, she better make it good.

Bill Christianson can be reached at bchristianson@reporternewspapers.com or at (425) 867-0353, ext. 5050.