What’s the Real Issue with Palin?

Politics, Presidential Elections, US Elections, US Politics

In the weeks since Senator McCain announced Governor Palin as his running mate, the left half of the political spectrum has been rightly foaming at the mouth … but for the wrong reasons.

Governor Palin

Governor Palin

On paper, the governor has a lot going for her.  She worked herself up from beauty queen to mayor to governor.  In the process, she locked horns with and defeated those who underestimated her.  If her looks helped some, I doubt it helped more than the family money and connections that politicians typically bring to the table.  As both mayor and governor, she hauled in the cash from Washington.  She’s got a good personal narrative given her constituency, a combination of loving mother, self made politician and rugged outdoorsman.  So what’s the problem?

The issue is not Gov. Palin’s experience.  If anything, history has shown that experience is a poor predictor of Presidential performance.  President Lincoln is often sited by historians as our best President and what did he have going for him?  A few terms in the Illinois Legislature and one term as a US Representative.  How about Woodrow Wilson, the President who led us in WWI?  All of two years as a governor.  On the flip side, President Buchanan, whom historians hold a pretty dim view of, had twenty years in Congress and another ten in state government.  And what experience is important?  Does anyone really think that a decade as governor of Arkansas is better than half that time as governor of Texas, a large and diverse state with a long shared border with one of our key allies and business partners?  In retrospect, we know the answer to that.

So what is the problem with Governor Palin for VP?  A complete lack of curiosity about things political.  I can see Senator Obama settling in to read the latest historical take on the presidency of FDR.  I can see Senator Clinton sitting at the kitchen table in a heated argument with her husband over the impact of Reagan’s refusal to negotiate with the Soviets on arms control.  I can see Senator McCain in a knock down, drag out fight over immigration reform.  I can see Senator Biden lecturing the press on fine points of policy.  Based on Gov. Palin’s interviews, I just can’t see her doing the same.  There’s no passion for politics there.  For her, politics is what she does from 9-5, five days a week.  In my book, if you want to be President (or Vice President), you have to hunger for the knowledge.  You have to have a burning passion to learn, to understand and to change for the better.   That’s just not the governor’s bag and it’s not something you can fix.  You can get advisors to help with foreign policy, with the economy, with just about everything, but you can’t hire someone to put that fire in your belly.  It’s not all you need, but it’s a requirement and Gov. Palin doesn’t have it.

I’m sure Gov. Palin is very good at the things she takes interest in, unfortunately, one of those things is not national politics.  She’s not going to learn it on the job.  No coaching is going to do it.  She’s just not the right person.  She may very well be the most formidable governor Alaska has ever seen, but I don’t want her one heartbeat away from the Oval Office.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. nimh  •  Sep 30, 2008 @9:39 am

    Wow, you people are off to a jump-start! I’d better come up with something to say soon as well, huh? :-D

  2. joefromchicago  •  Sep 30, 2008 @10:24 am

    “I can see Senator Obama settling in to read the latest historical take on the presidency of FDR. I can see Senator Clinton sitting at the kitchen table in a heated argument with her husband over the impact of Reagan’s refusal to negotiate with the Soviets on arms control. I can see Senator McCain in a knock down, drag out fight over immigration reform. I can see Senator Biden lecturing the press on fine points of policy.”

    And I can see George W. Bush struggling to finish “My Pet Goat.”

  3. nimh  •  Sep 30, 2008 @7:14 pm

    Oh, my. Check this out:

    Life Imitiates Tina Fey

    The latest Couric-Palin comedy, from an emailed CBS transcript:

    Couric: And when it comes to establishing your world view, 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.

Leave a Reply

Allowed tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>