Some of the reaction to Governor Palin’s selection as the next Vice President of the United States has been beyond funny (not this, that was just sick). Jonathon Martin of Politico actually implied that Palin wasn’t qualified because she “has never even appeared a single time on ‘Meet the Press’” (NRO – The Corner) – I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn’t finished my Diet Coke before I read that.
However, even among some on the right, there is a concern that Palin is “untested” – as if she just waltzed into the Governor’s Mansion in Anchorage. They cringe (or chortle – if they’re Dems) at comparing her to Senator Joe Biden, as if the man who fossilized himself in the U.S. Senate will all but eat her alive.
For those of you with those fears or fantasies (and you know who you are), allow me to introduce you to a fellow named Frank Murkowski.
In 1998, Murkowski won his fourth term in the United States Senate. Four years later, he decided to run for Governor. By this point, his ego was so immense that he demanded the state change its Senate seat vacancy law so that he could appoint his daughter to succeed him, and his power was such that the state’s political class – including then Governor Tony Knowles, a Democrat – rolled over for him.
While Murkowski was pulling the strings all over the state, Sarah Palin lost a GOP primary for Lieutenant Governor. Murkowski placed her on the state’s Oil and Gas Commission; she was just one more GOP politician who got a plum post in the Alaska GOP machine.
That is until she quit the Commission and turned whistleblower against the state’s Attorney General and GOP Chairman. Then she became an outcast in Alaska politics. Meanwhile, Murkowski rumbled along to his re-election campaign in 2006, firmly convinced he would be the third piece of the state’s iron triangle (himself, Ted Stevens, and Don Young).
But Sarah Palin took him on – and waxed him. For good measure, she faced the state’s most popular Democrat in thirty years (Knowles, who had managed to win his first term in 1994), and whupped him by seven and a half points.
Untested? Don’t make me laugh. She had a tougher Republican opponent than Barack Obama!