Most Americans don’t live in big cities, and they’ll not fall for Barack Obama’s sneering dismissal of Sarah Palin for having been a small-town mayor.
Running a small town takes more of what’s sorely needed in Washington, D.C., than any legislator with zero executive experience can possibly bring to the job.
Senators have the luxury to cherry-pick the most-politically correct issues as their brand and to duck and dodge those they find politically disadvantageous.
As chief executive in any level government, you must deal with every prickly pear of an issue that comes down the pike. Indeed, the happy-choice issues are resolved most often by department heads down the ladder.
The smaller the government, the closer you are as chief executive with all, not just a portion, of your electorate.
Each day, you run into them — at the post office, at the grocery store, at the neighborhood movie, at the PTA meeting, on the sidewalk, at the library, when a water main bursts, when a child is injured in a car wreck, at church, at service club luncheons, at just about every funeral in town, at the gas station, at city council meetings, at chamber of commerce events, at Fourth of July celebrations, at Christmas tree lightings, at weddings . . . it never ends.
Your office phone is always lit, your cell phone’s battery is forever dying, your home phone gives you no peace — day or night. The whole town is after you.
It seems anyone you’ve ever met in the good, ol’ hometown has an unemployed, no-neck cousin who wants “to get on at the city.” There’s not an intersection where someone of political importance doesn’t own land ideal for a strip mall. Sometimes you think everyone who calls or drops by the office is selling insurance. No one is content with tax assessments or trash removal.
In a disaster, you’re the commander in chief of the very first of first responders.
As mayor of a small town, you cannot breathe in or breathe out, sign or refuse to sign an official document, take a stand for or against something where you aren’t making an enemy or being accused of favoring a friend.
Small-town newspapers are afflicted by the same curse. Just print the name of a reader who got pinched for drunk driving and see what happens.
The editor of the huge Atlanta newspaper once told the editor of a small Georgia daily: “Your job is a lot tougher than mine. My dance floor is many times larger. I can dance and dance and never step on a toe. Your dance floor is so small you can’t dance for long without stepping on the corns of every toe in town.”
A native of that small town told a newcomer, “Be careful driving around here. We don’t use turn-indicator lights.” Why not? “Don’t need to. Everyone in town knows where everyone else is going.”
Same goes for what Sarah Palin had to have experienced in Alaska as mayor of Wasilla (pop. 9,780 last year, even smaller when she was there).
The closed-ness of small towns is almost beyond telling, as is well known by millions upon millions of Americans who live, work, worship, and send their children to school in small towns. You are face-to-face with everyone in town.
When you buck the local political establishment and stand up for honesty in government, people know what you’re doing. In Alaska, they remember and adore Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin for that. They know her job was a lot harder than being mayor of a big city where you are a stranger to most constituents.
Those qualities do qualify this strong woman to be a heartbeat away from the presidency — a condescending Barack Obama to the contrary notwithstanding.
By the way, Alaska, where Sarah Palin has been the same kind of governor as she was a mayor, is the largest state in the Union. The second-smallest is Delaware, where Joe Biden returns after putting in a day helping run Congress.
So, in politics, as all of life, it’s how you do what you do, not where you do it. Sarah Palin has done it, very well. Others talk of doing what they’ve not done.
In comparison, who’s big time, who’s small time?
John L. Perry, a prize-winning newspaper editor and writer who served on White House staffs of two presidents, is a regular columnist for Newsmax.com.
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