Thursday, September 4, 2008

Palin, the small-town mayor

Despite what they claim, the GOP have presented Sarah Palin almost purely as a nice storyline. There's little talk about the fact that as mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire the town's librarian after asking her to ban books, that she asked the town's top officials to resign as a loyalty test, or that she wants to teach creationism in public schools. People should give her credit for reining in big oil in Alaska and cutting down on government spending, but those efforts came at the expense of nearly everything else, according to Gregg Erickson, a columnist for the Anchorage Daily News.

And let's be clear, she's no centrist. Palin is against abortion even in cases of rape and incest, supported a Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage in Alaska and is no friend to the environment.

I would love the discussion to focus around these issues, but instead, Palin and others in the party have focused on her being a "hockey mom" we can all relate to, an average Jill who's just a hard-working mayor from a small town. This is somehow being spun as a plus.

I know plenty of nice people. I know plenty of people who are hard-working. But I don't know anyone who I'd consider ready to be president of the United States of America. And I'm sorry, but hunting moose is no qualification for conducting international politics — it's a completely orthogonal skill.

Have people forgotten that we're picking a leader here, not a pal? Imagine if GM were looking for a new CEO and picked one of their shift managers because she "understood blue-collar issues" and was "a down-to-earth candidate." Given that McCain is 72 years old, this is not just a rhetorical point; his VP must be qualified to be a good president.

Granted, Obama doesn't have a lot of political experience. But his now-derided "community organizer" role was in a city with a population literally more than four times greater than all of Alaska — and that's not counting the metro region outside Chicago proper. He's demonstrated his approach to foreign affairs. He's also run a large and extremely successful campaign for more than a year now, so his experience has been somewhat tested and highly scrutinized, as Republican Joe Scarborough pointed out (at 2:00 into the clip). Palin is coming out of left field.

Besides, Obama isn't pretending that his lack of experience is somehow a good thing, as Palin is.

1 comment:

Spelunker said...

I completely agree with you on everything. It's driving me crazy that the RNC is pushing Obama as nothing but an "arugala-eating, Harvard-educated, snobby liberal." Yet somehow they are promoting Palin as "just a hockey mom" with a miniscule record in office: this is seen as a good thing, a bonus? Her speech infuriated me, the way she talked down about community organizers.

Also, when is her appalling work with the slaughter of wolves going to come out?