Friday, August 29, 2008

Putting country first?

Ok folks, time for another thought experiment:

Lets start with two factual points. McCain has made a strong claim that Obama's inexperience renders him unfit or at least not ready to lead America. The campaign has also made a strong and persistent claim that McCain always puts country first.

Now lets pretend that McCain is sincere on both counts. How then does one explain his VP selection, Sarah Palin? Was he thinking of his country when he made this choice? The man who, if elected, will become the oldest first term president ever, has chosen to put a person who has admitted to hardly even thinking about Iraq in a position to possibly become our commander in chief should something happen to McCain. Was he thinking of his country when he made that choice?

Let me add here that it is entirely likely based on past history that neither Biden nor Palin will change the vote in any appreciable way for either candidate. That's not my point. My point is, rather, what this choice suggests about McCain's judgement.

Which candidate has shown the most concern for selecting a running mate who is ready to take the reins on a moment's notice? The answer, it seems to me is obvious. The conclusions one can draw are equally obvious. McCain is putting his electoral ambitions way ahead of his country's interests. If you think I'm exaggerating then perhaps a few quotes from Palin herself might hint at why Americans should worry about the prospect of a President Palin.

March 07:
Alaska Business Monthly: We've lost a lot of Alaska's military members to the war in Iraq. How do you feel about sending more troops into battle, as President Bush is suggesting?

Palin: I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq. I heard on the news about the new deployments, and while I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place;

Sarah Palin, a month ago.“As for that VP talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day?" -

August 14th:The GOP agenda to ramp up domestic supplies of energy is the only way that we are going to become energy independent, the only way that we are going to become a more secure nation. And I say this, of course, knowing the situation we are in right now — at war, not knowing what the plan is to ever end the war we are engaged in, understanding that Americans are seeking solutions and are seeking resolution in this war effort.

To add a little more context, here's Karl Rove recently critiquing the credentials of Virginia governor Tom Kaine to be Obama's vice president.

"With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he's been a governor for three years. He's been able but undistinguished. I don't think people could really name a big, important thing that he's done ... [Kaine] was mayor of the 105th largest city in America. And again, with all due respect to Richmond, Virginia, it's smaller than Chula Vista, California; Aurora, Colorado; Mesa, or Gilbert, Arizona; North Las Vegas, or Henderson, Nevada. It's not a big town."

Palin has been governor for less than two years of a state with 600,000 people, compared to Virginia's 8 million. Before that, she was mayor of a town with 6,000 inhabitants, compared to Richmond's 200,000.

This isn't a liberal rant. Conservatives like David Frum at the National Review and Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic are saying the same thing.

Then there's the lame response from the McCain campaign. The suggestion that Palin's experience is somehow equal to that of Obama's doesn't pass the laugh test. Obama cut his teeth in the political jungle of Chicago. He has immersed himself in public policy issues for well over twenty years; he has taught constitutional law at one of this nation's most prestigious universities; and he organized and led for the past 18 months the greatest national grassroots political organization this country has ever seen in a fifty state campaign that defeated the Clinton machine, the most formidable political organiztion in the coutnry at the time.

None of this, by the way has anything to do with Palin's personal attributes which by many accounts are both likeable and admirable. But just because a person is nice and smart doesn't mean that she should be put a heartbeat from the role of commander in chief.

Unless of course McCain was saying all that stuff about experience and putting country first just to, you know, win votes.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was shocked when I realized that he'd chosen Palin as his running mate. She's the top choice for people who have repeatedly voted to keep Ted Stevens in power (even after his indictment). All I can say is that desperation is a stinky cologne, Mr McCain. Okay, I do have more to say- at least he didn't choose Ted Stevens as his running mate!

9:10 AM  

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