"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


Much Ado About Palin

Sarah Palin's interview on ABC with Charles Gibson has been generating a lot of huffing and puffing, and hemming and hawing from the Left and the Right this week.

On one side, Obama supporters are calling out that it displays Palin's obvious lack of knowledge and critical thinking on the National Security Issue, while the Republicans are calling the entire interview a snowjob and another typical display of the elitist mainstream media's liberal bias while being ignorant of the real issues itself.
It is embarrassing to have to spell this out, but for the record let me explain why Gov. Palin's answer to the "Bush Doctrine" question -- the only part of the recent interview I have yet seen over here in China -- implies a disqualifying lack of preparation for the job...
...wrote James Fallow on September 12th. He compared her to a non-sports-fan being asked a question about Brett Farve's new chances with his new team. That she lacked a "disturbing" amount of curiosity about the issue - it went beyond knowledge.

Charles Krauthhammer rails against Gibson, unsurprisingly, in this morning's Washington Post:
And at least she didn't pretend to know -- while he looked down his nose and over his glasses with weary disdain, sighing and "sounding like an impatient teacher," as the Times noted. In doing so, he captured perfectly the establishment snobbery and intellectual condescension that has characterized the chattering classes' reaction to the mother of five who presumes to play on their stage.

What I mean is, who was surprised by Sarah Palin's performance on ABC? And who would expect anything less from either side in their dissection of Palin? Democrats are going to paint her in the worst light possible while Republicans continue their slavish devotion to a choice they know is flawed and gimmicky. But no amount of arguing is going to change anyone's mind.

Yes, to anyone who is paying attention - and Republicans, stop deluding yourselves - Palin is an obviously under-qualified candidate who, according to Vegas oddsmakers, has a 1 in 3 chance of ascending to the White House before the end of McCains first term, should he be elected.

Yet, let's face it, the position itself traditionally has no significance at all beyond balancing out each respective nominee's shortcomings. Michael Dukakis needed a southerner. Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush all needed career insiders. So does Barack Obama. McCain is the career insider himself who needs shoring up on many issues that Republicans question him on - or to just distract from them all together.

Krauthhammer says Gibson doesn't understand what the Bush Doctrine is, either. That much is true, and Fallow certainly glossed over that fact. Yet, when Krauthhammer quotes Palin: "In what respect?" he paints a false picture of Palin's mindset. She certainly did have not a clue as to what Gibson was talking about. His implication that she was confused over which definition he was getting at is ludicrous. Nobody but Krauthammer would have been. Palin was just lost.

Most people haven't seen the interview for themselves and rely only on these biased interpretations of it to formulate a position on her appearance. Palin certainly didn't stumble over her words - she just repeated what she'd been coached to say. Gibson certainly didn't look down at her or sigh exasperatedly as a teacher would a student.

What was missed by both sides is that she didn't once utter an original thought during the entire process. And this should say much less about her than the people that picked her as McCain's running mate. And even worse is that kid gloves are even now being used on her, even in Gibson's interview, for fear of igniting an already smoldering backlash against women swing voters. Sarah Palin absolutely cannot hold her own and any hard questions would be beating up on her. Imagine the questions Hillary Clinton would be getting right now. And ost in all of this was Barack Obama's appearance on The O'Reilly Factor last week. O'Reilly grilled his ass relentlessly, and yet Obama still came out pretty OK. He has just as little experience yet he still gets hard questions.

However, on either side, all this talk about National Security still ends at dealing with Terrorism from a strictly reactionary point of view. Based on what the election donors are after, it's no wonder no one has anything original to say. Neither side are seriously addressing the affects of our global projection of power, both on our relationships abroad, and the drain and stress it's causing here at home. Education priorities are at rock bottom, our middle class is disappearing, there is a looming transportation crisis that everyone is ignoring, not to mention a growing religious-cultural gap that could break out into all out civil war within our own lifetime.

In all these interviews it's still black and white, easily digestible discussion and answers, and a complete avoidance of a real stand and hard, honest choices.

It's going to be very hard to even cast a vote this year. Sometimes I wonder if it's just high time we let the whole goddamn rotten structure just fall in upon itself, clean up, and start over.


Illinoisfrank said...

Another Palin is running.

BikeLane said...

Mr. Whisperer,

Just found your blog. Really digging it.

You said, "Palin is an obviously under-qualified candidate..."

Yeah, so was George W Bush, and there wasn't just a chance of him being president; he WAS the president! Twice!


Keep up the good work.