Republican presidential hopeful John McCain‘s choice to fill his vice presidential slot with Sarah Palin-Alaska’s governor and a darling of conservative Middle America-has caused concern among critics that the first-term governor lacks the experience necessary to be the country’s number two executive officer. Supporters, however, have rejoiced over the pick, saying that she is the perfect person to solidify the party’s base and rally votes from working women and ardent pro-lifers who may have doubted McCain’s commitment to anti-abortion doctrine. Known as a tough customer when dealing with her own state’s politics, she has risen from the ranks of her community’s PTA to become mayor of the Anchorage exurb of Wasilla, and, ultimately, governor of Alaska.
David Lack, owner of Santa Barbara-based Lack Construction and a blogger for the independent.com during the this year’s Republican National Convention, is called Santa Barbara’s Republican kingpin by some of his employees, and with good reason: He knows most of the party’s movers and shakers on a first name basis. As his engagements with the party – including his bid to have the Bush Presidential Library constructed to the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest LEED standards – sometimes require the services of a speechwriter, Lack is well acquainted with Matt Scully, who wrote Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech for the RNC. “Scully is a speechwriter, but he makes people write their own ideas first – he makes you do your homework,” he said. “She spoke from the heart and really identified with working mothers and two income families. She reached the core of the independents – that big middle that Barak Obama had – and scooped it back.”
Having attended the RNC, Lack had an opportunity to speak one-on-one with Palin, and despite her lack of experience with foreign policy issues and federal politics, he affirmed his confidence in her not just as a potential vice president, but as a president as well. “Palin has been the CEO of a city and a state. She’s been in charge of the [Alaska] National Guard. I’m very comfortable with her becoming president, which she will be someday. She’s the Margaret Thatcher of America.” Lack also conversed with Palin’s husband, Todd, who had expressed amazement at being at the convention after being at work on an oil rig mere days earlier.
Continuing that her appeal reached across party lines, Lack contended that Palin is more accessible to most Americans, and American women at that, than Hillary Clinton. “There is a new type of feminism out there – a strength feminism,” he said in response to Gloria Steinem‘s statement in a recent L.A. Times column that Palin “opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality.” “This is the kind of woman that men want to marry,” said Lack. “She was able to appeal to men. She’s the girl you see in the grocery store and Wal-Mart.”
Lack also said that while she is a Republican, Palin doesn’t always vote lock step with her party, opting, like her running mate, to function as a maverick. “It’s natural for a conservative woman to leap ahead – the country is basically conservative,” he said. “She’s brought on a new conservatism that’s very similar to the way Ronald Reagan did. She has followers that are like the Reagan Democrats – they’ll be called the Palin Democrats.”
Palin, who was asked to speak in Santa Barbara, will not be able to make it. She will, however, be making campaign stops in Orange County and San Francisco.