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Sarah Palin, II

September 22, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

My son has pointed out to me that I managed to say nothing in my earlier post on Sarah Palin. Yes, I did link to Andrew Sullivan’s blog, pointing out that everything I think he has already said. And if you go to his blog, you’ll find over a dozen posts a day for the last few weeks on the subject, with no ambiguity as to what he thinks.

But maybe I should have said more. I’m new to blogging. I need to learn to state my views directly (or not post at all). Let me hereby declare, then, that Sarah Palin’s candidacy for vice president scares, depresses, and angers me. How it does, and why, is exactly what Andrew Sullivan has described so well. He has also provided many useful links to articles on the subject. The latest such link is to an article in the current Newsweek by Sam Harris. I’ll conclude this post with a sample passage from Harris’s article.

The point to be lamented is not that Sarah Palin comes from outside Washington, or that she has glimpsed so little of the earth’s surface (she didn’t have a passport until last year), or that she’s never met a foreign head of state. The point is that she comes to us, seeking the second most important job in the world, without any intellectual training relevant to the challenges and responsibilities that await her. There is nothing to suggest that she even sees a role for careful analysis or a deep understanding of world events when it comes to deciding the fate of a nation. In her interview with Gibson, Palin managed to turn a joke about seeing Russia from her window into a straight-faced claim that Alaska’s geographical proximity to Russia gave her some essential foreign-policy experience. Palin may be a perfectly wonderful person, a loving mother and a great American success story—but she is a beauty queen/sports reporter who stumbled into small-town politics, and who is now on the verge of stumbling into, or upon, world history.

The problem, as far as our political process is concerned, is that half the electorate revels in Palin’s lack of intellectual qualifications. When it comes to politics, there is a mad love of mediocrity in this country. “They think they’re better than you!” is the refrain that (highly competent and cynical) Republican strategists have set loose among the crowd, and the crowd has grown drunk on it once again. “Sarah Palin is an ordinary person!” Yes, all too ordinary.

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