Right to the Point 9/25/08

Barrage attacks against Palin

Sept. 25, 2008
By Mike Benevento

Back in my Air Force days, while flying F-111F jet fighters, I was involved with practice attacks against simulated Soviet targets in Europe. Most of the time, a pair of aircraft would fly together to make laser-guided bombing attacks on high priority targets like bridges, dams and airfields.

However, on occasion, instead of only two F-111s, a package, or “group,” of airplanes assisted in attacking the target. The strike package included tanker aircraft, which gave in-flight refueling to extend the range of our jets. F-15 Eagles served as fighter escorts, clearing any opposing fighters from our path.

Meanwhile, F-4G Wild Weasels, F-16 Falcons and EF-111 Ravens took on the enemy air defenses, including their radar and surface-to-air missile sites. These aircraft used radar jamming and other electronic warfare techniques to “blind” the enemy. When the ground defenses tried to fight us, bombs and missiles were used against them. Thus, in order to avoid being targeted by American aircraft, the enemy was forced to turn off their radar.

Without any radar, the enemy could not aim or guide its weapons. Instead, it would fire a barrage of missiles into the sky, hoping to hit an American fighter. Oftentimes, they were just shooting at the sound of the passing jets. This wild, blind shooting rarely resulted in hitting an American aircraft, but it was all the enemy was capable of doing.

As I witness the Democrats’ criticism of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, their panicked attack reminds me of the barrage fire at my F-111 from enemy defenses. The Democratic Party has been firing at Palin with everything it has — desperately hoping something will hit and bring her down.

Like hunting dogs that have lost the scent, Democratic leaders are wandering aimlessly. They do not know what to do next. John McCain’s choice of Palin as his running mate caught them completely off guard. Injecting real change into the presidential race, Palin is a Washington outsider with proven executive experience as Alaska’s governor.

The Democratic talking heads first attempted to marginalize Palin by describing her resume as nothing more than just being a small town mayor. They attempted to mislead Americans by conveniently leaving out her experience as governor.

Their goal is to minimize her executive experience. They have to. Democrats Barack Obama and Joseph Biden have zero executive experience. Palin alone has more experience in her two years as Alaska’s governor than those two combined.

For the most part, elitist Democrats are stunned she is so popular. Their political leadership is out of touch from everyday Americans. Thus, they don’t understand that Palin appeals to common Americans because she is genuine and real. She is not another slick politician in a suit. She really does give a darn about the common folk.

In many ways, she is a typical American. She is a hard-working mother of five, who went into politics to help clean up corruption. She saw flaws in Alaska’s government and started fixing them.

Palin connects emotionally with Americans everywhere. She is a hockey mom who is plainspoken, open, honest and down to earth. Americans appreciate that Palin earned her way through good, old-fashioned hard work.

Americans realize that she does not know all the right answers. However, they see that she is willing to learn and is up front with her shortcomings. For instance, as governor she has no foreign policy experience. Because Palin understands that national security is key to America’s future, she is working hard to learn about foreign policy and eventually make it a strength.

As columnist David Limbaugh wrote, “It’s her very authenticity that appeals to us, her decency, her commitment to family, her unapologetic veneration for America’s founding principles and traditional values — the very principles and values that are repugnant to the elites.”

In the end, Democrats have been reduced to trying to dig up dirt on Palin. They scour the Alaskan landscape, leaving no stone unturned in their worried attempt to undermine her popularity. Commentator Bill O’Reilly recently pointed out that attempts have been made to marginalize Palin as some kind of country bumpkin — a religious fanatic who is not fit to serve. He also noted, “The personal attacks against Palin and her family angered millions of Americans and, almost instantly, made the governor a folk hero in some circles.”

Instead of spending time tearing down individuals like Sarah Palin, Democrats need to spend more time focusing on fixing the nation’s problems. The American people challenge them to do that.

Michael Benevento is a former Air Force fighter jet weapon systems officer. He has a bachelor’s degree in Military History and a master’s in International Relations. Mike resides in Williston with his wife Kristine and their two sons, Matthew and Calvin.