Staff Editorial: McCain, Palin and the great Alaskan snow job

If you've glanced at any news outlet for the past few weeks, there's no doubt you know who Sarah Palin is.

Moreover, you are probably familiar with her experience as a mother, the controversy over her 17-year-old daughter's pregnancy, and yes, even the fact that she has eaten moose meat in her native Alaska.

Such a spread of information seems more befitting to a character sketch for a heartwarming Lifetime movie, as opposed to a politician with a viable shot at our nation's vice presidency.

While it doesn't hurt to be acquainted with a candidate before an election, the copious amount of attention given to Palin's personal life has heavily overshadowed the real issues at hand. Palin's views on hot-button topics like the economy, abortion and healthcare have received far less attention than her infant son or her eagaerness to become a grandmother.

The fact that Palin's political experience amounts to six years as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (a town with a population near that of the village of Geneseo, to give an idea of size) and two as Alaska's governor should set off alarms in voters. Is a candidate with less time in government than Senator Barack Obama, who has been criticized himself for a lack of experience, fit to potentially run the country?

This skewed coverage of the Republican vice presidential pick is working to the advantage of Sen. John McCain's campaign. Palin was no doubt brought into the McCain's camp to attract the droves of disenchanted supporters of Sen. Hilary Clinton, presumably still hoping for someone in office without a Y chromosome.

To effectively do so, though, they must completely push social conservative Palin's and liberal Clinton's huge ideological discrepancies out of the consciousness of voters who might be swayed by the fact that Palin is a woman. The media hoopla surrounding Palin does just that.

Learning about Palin's infant son Trig or the struggle of her pregnant daughter instead of her stance on governmental policies and issues is an irresponsible use of our nation's media outlets. The focus of election coverage should be spread amongst all candidates, and focus on their political, not personal, lives.