Sarah Palin's Political Views
A former governor of Alaska and running mate with John McCain during the 2008 presidential election, Sarah Palin is almost certainly the first candidate for vice president to be known for her speech patterns and background as much as her politics. A self-professed "hockey mom" who served as Alaska's governor from 2006-2009, Palin's political views were a mystery to many Americans, who seemed to know her more for her biography, one-liners and head-scratching TV interviews than for her actual political beliefs. While she and McCain were unsuccessful at winning the 2008 election, in many ways Palin was a precursor to the "populist" and reactionary politics that helped get Donald Trump elected in 2016. This article will attempt to provide an unbiased view of Palin's positions on the key political issues.
Palin's Views on Key Issues
1. Budgeting and Earmarks
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Palin endorsed John McCain's call for eliminating all federal earmarks and wasteful government spending. This position, however, is directly contradicted by her record as governor as Alaska and Mayor of Wasilla. The nonpartisan group Taxpayers for Common Sense estimates that the town of Wasilla received $26.9 million dollars in federal earmarks during Palin's term as mayor. To put that in perspective, if every town in the United States received earmarks at the same rate as Wasilla did during Palin's time as mayor, the federal government would have spent over 1 trillion dollars on earmarks over four years. The last federal budget included 17 billion dollars in earmarks for a one-year period.
2. Health Care
Palin was a vocal critic of the health care bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in March 2010, igniting controversy by misleadingly stating that the bill would create "death panels." During the 2008 presidential race, she supported Senator McCain's plan to give citizens tax credits to help them purchase health care from already existing providers. In the past, she has expressed support for "market and business driven" health care plans. She has not offered specifics on how the tax credit would help cover the 40 million Americans who currently cannot afford health coverage.
4. The War in Iraq
Palin approves of the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq. She has repeatedly admitted that "mistakes were made" but believes that Americans must stay in the country until victory is achieved less they risk "waving the white flag of surrender." She has not offered any specifics on what a final victory in Iraq will look like or a timetable as to how long that process might take.
5. General Foreign Policy
Palin has proclaimed herself to be a supporter of the "Bush Doctrine" and generally supports the handling of the war on terrorism. The governor has repeatedly criticized Obama's assertion that he would negotiate with states like Iran and North Korea, dismissing such a possibility as "dangerous." She has not offered an overarching foreign policy agenda beyond promising that a McCain Palin administration would "make every effort possible to help spread democracy for those who desire freedom, independence, tolerance, respect for equality."
Palin is a strong opponent of Roe v. Wade, telling ABC News "I think it should and I think states should decide the issue" when asked if the court case should be overturned. She is also an opponent of stem cell research.
7. Gay Rights
Palin has described herself as opposed to "anything but a traditional definition of marriage." While Governor of Alaska, she attempted to block a court order requiring the state to extend health and retiree benefits to same-sex couples.
8. Global Warming
Palin believes global warming is happening, citing her experience dealing with the issues as Governor of a polar state where climate change is being felt the most. However, she does not believe that global warming is necessarily caused by humans, citing natural cycles during a vice-presidential debate in 2008. She has not offered any specific policy proposals on how to combat global warming and climate change.
9. Tax Policy
Palin supports extending the Bush tax cuts and supports Senator McCain's plan to extend an additional business tax cut to business owners to help spur job creation. She does not offer any proposals on how the government will pay for these tax cuts beyond general promises to "cut wasteful spending."
10. Energy Policy
Palin is a strong supporter of increased offshore and onshore drilling, including in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (which Senator McCain opposes). Palin has repeatedly linked energy security to national security and touts domestic resources as a possible route to energy dependence. She has expressed general support for alternative energy programs but has not offered any specific government initiatives or tax incentives to promote these resources.
11. Gun Control
Governor Palin is a strong supporter of the second amendment. She is a longtime member of the NRA and an active hunter, and she has issued statements applauding the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Washington DC's ban on handguns.
I hope this article was helpful and informative. Feel free to leave any concerns or questions you have in the comments. As always, if you can prove that any of the information in this hub is factually incorrect or misleading, please point that fact out to me and I will happy to make changes to these positions.
All quotes and positions are sourced to ontheissues.org.