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Sarah Palin: If she's good enough to be vice president, then who isn't?










































































































Palin Watch, I

Have we really turned the country over to C students?

By Mary Beth Crain

Because I feel it’s of urgent importance, in this short, volatile time period before Election 2008, to keep an eye on the underhanded Republican ticket, and in particular Sarah Palin, I’m taking time off my duties as SOMA’s Official Vatican Watchdog to go on Palin Watch. So, in the coming days and weeks, I’ll be providing you with up-to-date assessments of the latest Palin activities.

Let’s begin with those two interviews with ABC’s Charlie Gibson, in which Ms. Palin revealed her vast ego along with her vast inexperience in foreign policy—by foreign we mean any country outside of Alaska—and the Bush Doctrine, as well as a glaring lack of anything approximating critical thinking. “Critical thinking?” I can hear her exclaim. “Whaddya mean, I’m not a critical thinker? I’m critical of everything Obama!”

In response to Gibson’s questions about tough issues like global warming, Iraq, the economy and war with Russia, Palin was at best simplistic, at worst totally clueless. She had no idea what the Bush Doctrine was, but, when Gibson finally explained it to her, naturally upheld it, lauding George Bush’s determination to defend our country at all costs against the Muslim extremists who are hell bent on destroying it. When Gibson tried to pin her down on the Bridge to Nowhere controversy, she hemmed, hawed and hedged, admitting that while we don’t always make the right decision the first time out, the important thing is that everything eventually comes out all right.

She double-talked and flip-flopped with the best of them. When Gibson wondered about the sizeable increase in Alaska’s state debt, Palin prattled statistics about taxes and giving the public what it wanted, and said that yes, while there was pork barrel spending in some “research” sectors, it was all above board. When Gibson asked her if she’d ever been out of our country besides her trip last year to Germany and Kuwait, she chirped, “Canada. Mexico. And then, yeah, that trip that was a trip of a lifetime, to visit our troops in Kuwait and stop and visit our injured soldiers in Germany. That was a trip of a lifetime and it changed my life."

Gibson then asked her if she’d ever met a foreign head of state. She smugly replied, “I have not. And I think if you go back in history and if you ask that question of many vice presidents, they may have the same answer that I just gave you.”

Later, over at CNN, Anderson Cooper, upon reviewing the interview, helpfully pointed out that in actuality, the majority of U.S. vice-presidents had had extensive international experience prior to taking office. But who cares about facts?

Palin was truly full of herself. When Gibson asked, “Can you look the country in the eye and say, ‘I have the experience, and I have the ability to be not just vice president, but perhaps president of the United States of America?’” she smiled with all the self-confidence of the divinely Chosen.

PALIN: I do, Charlie. And on January 20th, when John McCain and I are sworn in, if we are so privileged to be elected to this serve this country, we’ll be ready. I’m ready.

GIBSON: When McCain asked you to take the number two spot on the ticket, for a moment did you think “no?"

PALIN: I did not. I answered him yes, because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can’t blink. You have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission--the mission that we’re on, reform of this country and victory in the war--you can’t blink.

So I didn’t blink then, even, when asked to run as his running mate.

Did she mean “think” instead of “blink?” At the same time, she added, being chosen for the honor was “a humbling experience. A truly humbling, humbling experience.” Which leads one to wonder, if this is humility, what, exactly, is chutzpah?

Palin came out against abortion, against stem cell research, and for the total, unrestricted right to bear arms. In the same breath she called herself a “maverick.” There was such a lack of consistency in her responses that your head was left spinning—which, of course, was the exact intent of the whole affair. There were enough appropriate sound bites to give Palin supporters a feast. The Republicans praised every word out of their gun-totin’ Barbie’s mouth. “I think she did a fantastic job,” gushed Republican strategist Bay Buchanan on CNN. “She did just what she was supposed to do. She gave down-to-earth answers and showed voters that she’s not part of Washington. She said, essentially, ‘I&rsquoli just like you.’”

Which, of course, was the stupidest—and scariest—statement of all. First of all, we’ve had a president who bragged he was just like us—an ignorant, narrow-minded, provincial evangelical—for the past eight years, and look where we are. Secondly, if Sarah Palin’s claim to competency is that she’s just like the lowest common denominator of our society, isn’t this the equivalent of saying anybody is qualified to be the vice-president, or the president?

Let’s face it. America has always been suspicious of intellectuals and “eggheads.” That was the downfall of poor Adlai Stevenson in his doomed campaign against Dwight Eisenhower, and it’s the accusation being leveled against Barack Obama now. He’s an “elitist.” He’s a super-educated snob who’s “out of touch” with the “real” America. It’s only in this vapid, vacuous excuse for a country that a brilliant, thoughtful man with degrees from Columbia University and Harvard Law School, who rejected lucrative career opportunities to devote himself to the poor, could be given a run for his money by a second-rate populist reactionary who, when questioned about her college-hopping days at Hawaii Pacific University, North Idaho College and Matanuska-Sisitna College in Alaska, glibly replied, “See, I did a lotsef courses—no biggie, but it’s not the only mushing going on.”

Barack Obama was once leading John McCain. In the current polls, he’s either neck-and-neck with or falling behind his rival. And Sarah Palin is the primary reason for the Republican lead. The American people, it seems, are hell-bent on voting for another George Bush—this time in female form. It’s almost as if they think they’re electing her and not McCain. It doesn’t seem to matter in the least that she is obviously painfully unqualified to make the kind of complicated decisions that a commander-in-chief will continually face. She’s just like us. That’s all that matters.

Comment on this essay here.

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Senior editor Mary Beth Crain's last piece for SoMA was Backward, Christian Soldiers.

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