As luck would have it, standing next to the press enclosure were two Alaskans, the Hudsons. David was a state trooper there and now is a high ranking official with the National Guard, living in Virginia. And yes Palin was his commander-in-chief in Alaska. He rattles off a list of her responsibilities: sets policy, makes sure they are equipped, deploys them, visits the troops. As for the fired trooper at the heart of “troopergate” Hudson says, “It’s unacceptable for any trooper to be unprofessional. . . The union doesn’t always let you do it[fire someone].” As for Palin, he smiles and says he’s thrilled to see that ” an unknown Alaskan politician can make it to the top.” He and his wife are delighted–each will receive a check for $3249 from the permanent oil fund plus another tax refund for $1200. They attribute this to Palin’s management of the oil fund and state budget.
The McCain camp is saying 23,000 people showed at the rally. It was large, but maybe only three-quarters of that. On the way out I chatted with Russell Paige, 49 years old, from here in Fairfax. He is a self-described libertarian who wasn’t thrilled with McCain because of McCain-Feingold, but he likes his stance on earmarks and tax cutting. Palin? “I like everything I’ve heard about Sarah Palin.” Among his female friends, he says, all of them are buzzing abut Palin. “I think there is a hidden tidal wave of women who would have voted for Hillary for the wrong reason and will now vote for Palin for the right reason.” The McCain camp hopes he is right– and the Obama camp is fearing that he is.