Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Does Sarah Palin Know Wasilla From a Hole in the Ground?

Now that the dust is settling a bit after the conventions, and the initial hysteria over John McCain's pick for VP is past, one big question is whether Sarah Palin is qualified to be president. McCain is 74, after all, with a history of skin cancer. These are legitimate questions - even if McCainiacs would like to keep her sheltered away and claim unfairness whenever anyone raises issues about her readiness.

Does Sarah Palin know Wasilla from a hole in the ground? Sure she knows local politics and all about how to throw her weight around trying to ban books and fire public servants who happen to be getting divorced from her family members, but does she know anything at all about governing and foreign affairs? Would we trust that she would be capable of acting on our behalf in a dangerous world? Three of the four on the major tickets would fare just fine if placed to probing questioning and snap decisionmaking in world affairs, given the experience of each in high-profile politics. John McCain, Barack Obama and Joe Biden have all been subjected to the crucible of intense public scrutiny as members of the U.S. Senate, and they've proven they are up to the task.

Moreover, as Professor Bobby Lipkin of Widener Law School said, "It's not just foreign policy experience, but foreign policy savvy or thoughtfulness.... Obama has written (and spoken) [extensively] about foreign policy and domestic policy. (The relevant works are his Audacity of Hope and many, many of his speeches.) Does Palin have a similar corpus? If so, I'd love to know where I can find it."

We know next to nothing about Sarah Palin, but what we do know - e.g., pressuring librarians to ban books, trying to have public officials fired who are involved in messy divorces with family members, questionable financial dealings, no abortion even in cases of incest & rape, etc. - ain't good.

Or, as my friend Northwestern University Professor Alice Dreger puts it in her own inimitable way, "Do I wish we had a woman as VP or, better yet, P? Sure! But having a woman doesn’t mean having a feminist, and what I’d much rather have is a feminist, even if he has a penis. Let me just say what we’re all thinking: Palin was obviously chosen for her vagina, not for her brain. That’s just stupid sexism, and no woman should be fooled by it."