Must-Read Palin Essay in Newsweek

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To me, this really breaks the Sarah Six-Pack dilemma down to its very essence. A trio of key excerpts are as follows:

"It is not shocking to learn that politics played a big role in the making of a presidential team (ticket-balancing to attract different constituencies has been with us at least since Andrew Jackson ran with John C. Calhoun, a man he later said he would like to kill). But that honest explanation of the rationale for her candidacy—not her preparedness for office, but her personality and nascent maverickism in Alaska—raises an important question, not only about this election but about democratic leadership. Do we want leaders who are everyday folks, or do we want leaders who understand everyday folks? Therein lies an enormous difference, one that could decide the presidential election and, if McCain and Palin were to win, shape the governance of the nation."

"Elitism in this sense is not about educational or class credentials, not about where you went to school or whether you use "summer" as a verb. It is, rather, about the pursuit of excellence no matter where you started out in life. Jackson, Lincoln, Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Clinton were born to ordinary families, but they spent their lives doing extraordinary things, demonstrating an interest in, and a curiosity about, the world around them. This is much less evident in Palin's case. John McCain is a man of accomplishment and curiosity, of wide and deep reading, travel and experience. He is smart without being a snob. He has authored legislation and books. He is a man of parts—the kind of figure whom one could effortlessly imagine being president. Are there many politically attuned people in America now who can honestly say the same thing of Sarah Palin? That they can effortlessly envision President Palin in the Oval Office, ready on day one to manage a market meltdown or a terror attack? Whether one agrees or disagrees with his politics, there is no arguing that McCain is qualified to be president of the United States. But there is plenty of argument about Palin's qualifications."

"Sitting with her for part of the Couric interview, McCain implicitly compared Palin to Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, saying that they, too, had been caricatured and dismissed by mainstream voices. The linkages are untenable. For all of his manifold sins, Clinton was a longtime governor, and George H.W. Bush's attacks on his qualifications failed for a reason: people may not have respected Clinton's character, but they did not doubt the quality of his mind. A successful two-term governor of California, Reagan had spent decades immersed in politics (of both the left and the right) before running for president. He did like to call himself a citizen-politician, and Lord knows he had an occasionally ambiguous relationship with facts, but he was a serious man who had spent a great deal of time thinking about the central issues of the age. To put it kindly, Palin, however promising a governor she is, has not done similar work."

 
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