Monday, September 1, 2008

Sarah Palin

John McCain says that Sarah Palin will be a great "partner" for reforming the corrupt ways of Washington. I think he's right about that, and I greatly admire her crusade to clean up Alaska's government and its relationship with big oil. But I don't think that that is the core role of the Vice President.

The most important role of a Vice President is one most of them never have to rise to. It is to guarantee security and stability in an emergency, and competent continuity of governance thereafter. The most important thing a Vice President has to be able to do is to come on TV in the middle of a crisis, in the middle of chaos, and convince U.S. citizens, troops, allies, and most importantly, enemies, that there is no power vacuum. VP does not have to be inspiring, does not have to have a grand vision or far-reaching plan for the future of the country, as a President does. She or he needs to be a partner in governance, but that is in order to maintain readiness to take over at a moment's notice. There is a Cabinet full of partners in governance who should all be passionate reformers; the VP is not primarily that.

Sarah Palin is a strong woman, and I do not doubt that she has the nerve to take charge in an emergency. What I doubt is that she has the relevant knowledge to take charge effectively. I think she could make that TV appearance and show the necessary resolve and strength and coolness. But I, for one, would not be convinced. I do not believe she will be ready on day one.

She has a lot of experience with some aspects of one of the major issues facing our country, i.e. energy. Alaska is a major oil & gas producing state. I admire her independence in holding the oil companies to account, while still encouraging their activity in Alaska. But she does not seem to grasp the dynamics of supply and demand, in the sense that U.S. demand FAR outstrips any increase in supply that drilling in ANWR could provide. She does not seem to know about "peak oil", and scoffs at the long-term outlook that drives the need to diversify into renewable energy sources starting NOW.

Science, in general, seems not to be her strong suit. She does not believe that climate change is caused by human activity. She sued the federal government to try to stop it from designating the polar bear as an endangered species. She favors teaching "intelligent design" (creationism) in schools, and opposes any mention of contraception in sex education classes.

More worrisome, to me, is her complete lack of exposure to the world outside the United States. She first applied for a passport a year ago, in order to visit Alaska National Guard troops in Kuwait. Unlike Cindy McCain and John Bolton, I do not think that Alaska's geographic proximity to Russia means that she has a grasp of foreign policy issues (yes, they both actually said that ... go Google if you don't believe me).

My grandfather served in the Foreign Service, and now one of my brothers is a foreign service officer. Another of my brothers spent 20 years as a Navy SEAL; my stepfather was also a Navy SEAL, in Vietnam. I worked for 19 years in an international development organization. Obviously, international relations matter to me. Sarah Palin didn't have a passport a year ago.

Barack Obama has an American mother from Kansas, an African father, an Asian stepfather; he grew up partly overseas and partly in multicultural Hawaii. Of course that doesn't give him an in-depth knowledge of history, political and economic relations around the world, but it is important nonetheless. He understands how other people see things differently than Americans do. He understands that cultures are different, values are different, circumstances are different. It makes him a great politician, and it will make him a great President.

Joe Biden has the chops to take over in an emergency, and to run the country, if need be, even for four years if (God forbid!) Obama should drop dead on inauguration day. Sarah Palin as VP scares me, in this sense. Of course, McCain kinda scares me, too, but not for the same reasons .... at least he has exposure and experience!

another pro-life woman for OBAMA

Now I'm just pissed! The news just came out that her 17-year-old, unmarried daughter Bristol, still in high school, is 5 months pregnant. Sarah Palin knew, and according to the news reports, so did John McCain. Bristol, on the other hand, did NOT know that her mother was going to be running for Vice President, until it was a done deal. How dare she! How dare she drag her daughter through this! Wasn't it bad enough accepting this job with a "special needs" four-month-old baby? Naked Ambition. I hadn't written anything about her disregard for the needs of her new baby, not having children myself, with special needs or not. But I do remember being a teenager in crisis, and I Thank God my mother was there for me! I guess her husband was serious when he said she's "not wrapped right." What a nasty individual.


  1. I know I'm being a little snarky, but I'm wondering if she changed her mind about abstinence-only education, considering how well that's working for her family?

  2. LOL, yeah, I guess that's a little snarky ...

    I was taught about birth control and STDs in high school, but you know what? Teenagers are masters at "it'll never happen to me". And that was 20+ years ago, promiscuity is much more rampant nowadays. I shudder to think how many kids have had abortions before the end of high school, nowadays. A few years ago I saw a statistic on the Today Show, something like 95% of all 15 girls in the U.S. have given a boy oral sex ... something like 5% have received oral sex (that imbalance almost disturbs me more than the fact itself, for what it says about the relationship dynamics behind the behavior).

    No, I don't judge Palin for having a pregnant teenager. I admire them for their strong pro-life stance. They are walking that talk.

    But I still don't want Pitbull Palin "a heartbeat away from the Presidency".

    Hey, thanks for stopping back in, Sandy. Peace out.