Local Perspectives on Palin – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Local Perspectives on Palin

Iva Deutchman, professor of political science at HWS, was included in a Finger Lakes Times article Tuesday about local reactions to Sen. John McCain’s announcement of Sarah Palin as his running mate.

The article provided a number of opinions – positive and negative – about McCain’s choice of running mate, including Deutchman’s that Palin isn’t experienced enough for the role.

Deutchman, professor of political science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University in political science and economics. She is a professor of 20 plus years who has worked on two continents (Australia and North America). She has a long list of publications in major journals, the latest of which is “The Ideology of Moderate Republicans in the House,” written with colleague DeWayne Lucas and published in The Forum.
The full article appears below.


The Finger Lakes Times
“Local officials weigh in on VP pick”
JIM MILLER • Staff writer • September 2, 2008

A week ago, Dan Olson and some other area Republicans tried to come up with a surprise vice presidential pick that would fit John McCain’s maverick reputation.

Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, some thought. Maybe Joe Lieberman, Al Gore’s 2000 running mate, said others.

None of them guessed Sarah Palin.

The Alaska governor, whom McCain introduced Friday as his choice, had been little-known nationally. Now, local Republicans and Democrats alike are brushing up on the details of her rise from small-town mayor to governor. And – perhaps not surprisingly – they’re coming to very different conclusions.

To the Democrats, McCain’s decision was a political pick, an effort to pander to Hillary Clinton’s disaffected supporters. To Republicans, however, Palin was a bold choice, a reformer who represents the party’s future.

“I think that she brings a fresh perspective to the McCain team,” said Farmington Supervisor Theodore Fafinski, a Republican. “People have been saying that they want change. They want something new, they want something different. Well, here’s their chance.”

At the same time, he said, Palin’s views fit well with the values of many Republicans.

He noted her opposition to abortion and gun control and her generally conservative outlook.

“Alaska is a frontier state, so to speak,” he said. “For them to elect a lady as governor says a lot for her character. Those guys are tough up there.”

Dan Olson, who chairs Wayne County’s Republican Party, was also impressed with McCain’s choice. He said Palin rings the right bells for him philosophically and will likely appeal both to his party’s conservative base and to former Clinton supporters eager to see a woman win high office.

Democrats were quick to disagree.

Charlie Evangelista, who sits on the Geneva and Ontario County Democratic committees, called McCain’s choice insulting.

“I really don’t think that she’s going to convince women or disenfranchised Democratic voters to vote for her,” she said. “She is hardly qualified, having been mayor of a small little Eskimo community only a few years ago. … It’s almost patronizing to have her be the candidate.”

Iva Deutchmann, a political science professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, also blasted Palin’s experience level and the idea that Clinton voters would rally around her.

“The cynical me still says Republicans can’t believe we’re that stupid,” she wrote. “That someone who voted for Hillary is now going to vote for McCain because he’s running with a woman – that biological sex somehow trumps party identification, long-held beliefs, etc. I’m not buying it, and I’m kind of insulted if that’s what they are trying to sell.”

To Deutchmann, Palin’s two years as governor don’t qualify her for the vice presidency. To Evangelista, they don’t qualify her to be “one heart attack away” from the presidency.

But to Olson, attacks on Palin’s experience don’t add up.

“I find it kind of humorous that the initial response from the Obama camp was to attack her experience when, quite probably, Barack Obama is unqualified to be president of the United States on experience,” he said.

Despite Palin’s relatively short time in office, she has a good reputation, said Romulus Supervisor David Kaiser, a Republican.

He said he’d read a little about her even before Friday’s announcement, and that in party circles she’s known as a responsible and practical politician.

“I think it’s a good choice,” Kaiser said. “She has a reputation for being a common-sense individual who has the aptitude for getting things done.”