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Commentary: Rethinking my presidential pick

September 22, 2008

Help me, John. I'm falling off the wagon.

I like you. I read your autobiography, "Faith of My Fathers." You are a maverick, like they say, and a patriot. My old boss, Mitch Daniels, made you his early choice. I agree with most of your pronouncements on taxes and the economy, and applaud your willingness to face up to the energy crisis and our dependence on foreign oil. I tentatively decided to cast my vote for you in November.

But whoa there-just a moment.

I worried that you would opt for someone of Mike Huckabee's ilk as your choice for vice president-and you did just that, to borrow a current phrase-"with lipstick." John, I hope you live a long life, but given your age and medical history, I have to assess your likelihood to survive in office.

If not, then what?

I cannot support putting Sarah Palin in a position to become president of the United States because we do not share the same system of values. She could become the most dangerous hockey mom in the land. She advocates for an America where heterosexual conservative Christians are the true citizens and all others are tolerated guests.

How can I support a candidate who may become president who feels that creationism under the misnomer of intelligent design is a legitimate science to be taught along with evolution? Do you want our children to be instructed that Earth is just a few thousand years old and that man and dinosaurs walked together? Most scientists have concluded that the proponents of intelligent design are either ignorant or deliberately misrepresent evolutionary science. Intelligent design theories belong in the church, along with other religious teachings and beliefs that are imparted without regard to science. It frightens me that Palin appears not to support the doctrine of separation of church and state. This principle-that government remains entirely neutral on matters of faith-is the bedrock of our constitutional democracy.

Palin is an ardent advocate for the pro-life agenda-not my position, but that's OK. Pro-life/pro-choice is a 50/50 issue with the electorate. So much for Roe v. Wade. But how can I support for president a candidate who opposes abortion in cases of rape and incest? That is clearly beyond the pale.

According to various reports in Time magazine and The New York Times, when Palin was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, she asked the city librarian, Mary Ellen Baker, about the process for removing "objectionable" books. When the librarian reportedly was aghast at the question, Palin retreated. No books were removed, but shortly thereafter Palin fired Baker with the explanation that she had not done enough to give her "full support" to the mayor. Palin was forced to retract that dismissal after city residents rallied to Baker's defense. How can I support a candidate who may become president who seeks to infringe our First Amendment right to free speech by banning books from our public libraries?

Palin opposed state-covered health and retiree benefits to same-sex partners of state employees and supports an Alaska constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and domestic-partner benefits for same-sex partners. According to a recent Associated Press report, Palin's church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer, a strategy scrapped for ages by an informed and educated society. Palin has made no statement opposing this program or its premise. She also opposes extending hatecrime laws to protect gays and lesbians. How can I support a candidate who may become president who is narrow-minded and homophobic?

When members of Alcoholics Anonymous think they are falling off the wagon, they make calls within their fellowship of men and women to gain strength and hope. It's not that I'm falling off the wagon so much as I feel I've been pushed. I think I'll call the governor.



Maurer is a shareholder in IBJ Media Corp., which owns Indianapolis Business Journal. His column appears every other week.To comment on this column, send e-mail to mmaurer@ibj.com.
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