I’ve rather deliberately been trying to lay off the issue of Palin’s lack of experience and the absurdity of McCain picking her to soon become — as likely as not — the President of the United States. As we head into the Vice-Presidential Debates tonight, I am no longer able to restrain myself.
I’ve always found it mind-boggling that we Americans seem to feel, at least in politics, that a lack of experience is a good thing. I mean, seriously, when you need heart surgery, do you want the surgeon who’s been doing it the longest, or the newbie? When taking a flight to visit your ailing aunt in icy Alaska, would you bring in someone who has only landed planes on dry desert tarmacs in Arizona?
And, yes, everyone starts out as a newbie. But not even in sports does the new kid start out in the major leagues. Going back to the surgeon example, you don’t graduate medical school and become surgeon to the President the next day. People start out as newbies and work their way up over time.
In that respect, I am somewhat disappointed in both parties. Certainly I would have liked to see a more seasoned politician than Barack Obama as the Democrat’s candidate. Yet there really are significant differences between Obama and Palin. For one thing, Obama does not take pride in his recent tenure as a hockey mom. (And Palin’s pride isn’t just that she was a hockey mom, but that she was just your average hockey mom! Can’t we at least be exceptional on that point, Mrs. Palin?)
Obama, on the other hand, has a different history that does make him more suited to the job of President. Unlike Palin, his education was consistent — no hopping around from one junior college or minor-league university to another. So Obama consistently attends and graduates from Columbia University and then Harvard Law School. No jumping from business to “general studies major” before finally settling on incredibly mentally-taxing journalism degree. While Palin was busy running up a $20 million deficit as mayor of a town with a population in 2000 of just 5,469 people, Obama was in the Illinois Senate, where he co-sponsored a bill to re-structure the Illinois welfare program. At the same time, he was teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School, where he was almost always rated as one of the top instructors despite having to hold down his day job as a state senator. And I do so wish for a President who has some understanding of the United States Constitution.
I could go on and perhaps will do so in another post about the significant differences in experience between the candidates for President.
(And, yes, I keep saying that because I can’t get it out of my head that McCain is 72 years old. Being President seems to have a significant aging effect on even the most blaise of bumblers like Bush, although they do age less rapidly than those who actually govern. How long will it take to kill McCain?)
But what really finally spurred me to write today is this: I’m tired of Presidential-Candidate Sarah Palin refusing to answer questions. Haven’t we had enough of Bush-Cheney’s Silent Regime? Like Bush, even when Palin pretends to answer questions, that’s all it is: pretense. Look at this:
Couric: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?
Palin: I’ve read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.
Couric: What, specifically?
Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.
Couric: Can you name a few?
Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn’t a foreign country, where it’s kind of suggested, “Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?” Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.
That’s Palin not answering a question about what magazines and newspapers she reads to stay informed and understand the world during an interview where she “opens up” about controversial issues. Her response to questions on the controversial issues wasn’t much different. When asked if she thought global warming was man-made, she stated that there were some man-made contributions, but didn’t really think it was important to know what caused the problem. We just needed to “do something about it.” But how do you do something about global warming if it is not man-made? If it’s really just part of earth’s normal pattern, then how does Palin propose to “do something about it”?
On the issue of whether abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape, she reiterated her pro-life position and dodged the question. Does she think people should go to jail for having an abortion? “[A]bsolutely not.” Should they go to jail for performing abortions? In other words, should abortions be made illegal? Who knows? She didn’t answer the question.
So, Mrs. Palin, here’s what I really want to know as we all head into your “debate” with Joe Biden tonight: “For God’s sake, will you stop rambling and just answer the questions?”
If you won’t do it for God’s sake, will you do it for America’s?