I'm back because I'm upset. Senator McCain's choice for his running mate is not first a political issue for me, it angers me as an American. Let's break it down, shall we?
Sarah Palin will enter the race with a high school basketball championship, a victory in the Wasilla, Alaska Beauty Contest, a University of Idaho journalism degree, a one-year-old passport, two terms as the mayor of a village, and 20 months on the job as the governor of the fourth smallest and arguably least typical state in the country. I know what you just did. I did it too. You just thought, "I could have done that." Okay, maybe most of us couldn't have, but it's not a huge leap. Yeah, yeah, the beauty contest thing would be an absolute impossibility for some of us.
What's the big deal? Don't we want someone in the White House that's a lot like us? No! Not me. I want someone very, very different from me! Someone much better than me should occupy the most important chair in the world. Palin is probably a pretty impressive person, but she doesn't get in the same arena with the people running for this office. Dan Quayle was an impressive nominee next to this.
So why am I mad? Because John McCain gave such little thought to the well-being of his country when he made this decision. A colleague who may prefer to remain anonymous gave me a boost on this analysis. Currently, there is about a 50/50 chance that 72-year-old McCain will be elected the oldest president in our history at the beginning of his term. I'm no medical doctor, but add his multiple bouts with cancer into the mix and he couldn't have more than a 50 percent chance of surviving his first administration. Charlie Black, one of McCain's top advisers, said that "most doctors think that he will be around at least that long." Most? There are some doctors who think otherwise? Perhaps we should get a second opinion. Let me finish crunching the numbers. This means that there is a 25-30 percent chance Sarah Palin will be President of the United States. Soon. Black goes on to say Palin is "going to learn national security at the foot of the master for the next four years." So, she's going to be taking the train home to Wilmington, Delaware to Joe Biden's house each night? No, seriously. Seriously? What if she doesn't have four years to study? They don't have a GED for president, do they?
Are you kidding me? This is scary. We could have a president in a matter of months who has no demonstrable knowledge of world affairs, no national security experience whatsoever, no experience with broad domestic policies or economic issues, but who has shot a moose.
Let's ignore for the moment that Palin is a strident culture warrior on life issues, a supporter of mandated creationism in public schools, and does not believe human activity is the cause for global warming, this is just a terrible management decision. One that was so bad, everyone (Republicans included) was in stunned silence at first. Of course the GOP has fallen in line, what else are they going to do?
Is John McCain's judgment that bad, or does he just have no regard for us (his country) at all?
Pundits say that at the very least it nullifies the experience argument, since Obama is inexperienced too. Again, are you kidding me? Pay attention to this one, because this is the analysis you'll only get here.
Even if you believe that Senator Obama's Ivy League degrees, Harvard Law Review, years as a community organizer, multiple terms as an Illinois state senator from Chicago, and four years as a U.S. Senator still leave his resume thin, consider that he has served for nearly two years as the CEO of the largest and arguably most disciplined and successful grassroots campaign in our history winning support of tens of millions of voters along the way. He went on to pass the experience test when world leader after world leader parroted his ideas, and nearly a quarter of a million people came out to hear him speak in Germany. He passed the experience test when dozens of decorated generals publicly endorsed him and supported his views on national security, and when economic experts across the country in academia and political administrations certified his economic plans as sound. He passed all those tests, then in his first real presidential decision he selected a running mate whose experience far surpasses John McCain's.
Sarah Palin does not meet the experience test and she was not vetted by election, she was appointed. I'm sure she is a great person. People testify to her plain-spokenness and her maverick style. She's a member of the NRA for gosh sakes. I'm sure she's a hoot. A spitfire. A veritable ring-tailed tooter. She's a pistol, for sure. Unfortunately, we're not auditioning for Annie Get Your Gun. This is the real deal. And it's important, damn it.
Someone may be tempted to make gender bias my issue. Sorry. I have two beautiful daughters, and I desperately hope for a woman president. No sexism here, latent or otherwise.
This is about judgment. John McCain has failed this test so miserably, he deserves disqualification on this ground alone.
I guess there is one positive thing to come from the Palin selection. Once again, in this country, we can believe that anyone can be president. And I mean, anyone.