"Serious Questions About The Way He Makes Decisions"
Some very smart people think we should all but ignore Sarah Palin and focus all our attention on the deranged disaster that would be a John McCain presidency. I disagree, in that I believe the Palin selection was just more proof of the degree of McCain's derangement. Apparently, the corporate media and some 42% of the public can't differentiate between a romantic comedy and reality, and want to believe the endearing storyline about a spunky small-town girl thrust into the swirl of political power and celebrity, where she charms and conquers and proves herself capable of saving the world. But serious people who take politics and power seriously don't buy it. We've had eight years of proof that someone unqualified and unprepared for what may be the most difficult job in the world can't fudge it, fake it, and slide by on the advice and expertise of subordinate professionals. We cannot afford the risk of the possibility that Sarah Palin will become president; that John McCain selected her to be first in line to succeed him is a stunning condemnation of McCain's own fitness for the job. But don't believe me. I'm just another partisan blogger.
Those wacky hippie liberals of The Economist are not impressed with Palin, and they are not impressed with McCain for having selected her.
Mr McCain has based his campaign on the idea that this is a dangerous world—and that Barack Obama is too inexperienced to deal with it. He has also acknowledged that his advanced age—he celebrated his 72nd birthday on August 29th—makes his choice of vice-president unusually important. Now he has chosen as his running mate, on the basis of the most cursory vetting, a first-term governor of Alaska.
The Economist points out that while the Republican base is enthralled, Palin is neither the reformer she claims to be, nor of political benefit to McCain with critical swing voters. But...
The moose in the room, of course, is her lack of experience. When Geraldine Ferraro was picked as Walter Mondale’s running-mate, she had served in the House for three terms. Even the hapless Dan Quayle, George Bush senior’s sidekick, had served in the House and Senate for 12 years. Mrs Palin, who has been the governor of a state with a population of 670,000 for less than two years, is the most inexperienced candidate for a mainstream party in modern history.
Inexperienced and Bush-level incurious. She has no record of interest in foreign policy, let alone expertise. She once told an Alaskan magazine: “I’ve been so focused on state government; I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq.” She obtained an American passport only last summer to visit Alaskan troops in Germany and Kuwait. This not only blunts Mr McCain’s most powerful criticism of Mr Obama. It also raises serious questions about the way he makes decisions.
And that's the key. It's not about Palin, it's about McCain. The first and most important decision he has made as Republican standard bearer could not have been more revelatory. John McCain would risk placing the fate of the nation in the hands of a person who has no business having anything to do with it.
The Economist also points to the absurdly cursory vetting process by which McCain apparently decided to pick Palin, compares it to the incalculably more serious approach Barack Obama took to selecting the clearly qualified Joe Biden, and concludes by ominously noting, yet again, that the Republican Party itself continues to be held hostage by religious extremists, who apparently vetoed McCain's preferred running mate selections, Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge.
The Palin appointment is yet more proof of the way that abortion still distorts American politics. This is as true on the left as on the right. But the Republicans seem to have gone furthest in subordinating considerations of competence and merit to pro-life purity. One of the biggest problems with the Bush administration is that it appointed so many incompetents because they were sound on Roe v Wade. Mrs Palin’s elevation suggests that, far from breaking with Mr Bush, Mr McCain is repeating his mistakes.
John McCain is no maverick. He will do anything to win. Including endangering the entire world to appease the theocratic extremists who control his political party and possibly his political fate. John McCain is unfit to be president.