September 21, 2008

Palin is a Lightweight

McCain and other Republicans have defended Palin's qualifications, citing Alaska's proximity to Russia. Palin told ABC News, "They're our next-door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska."

Hagel took issue with that. "I think they ought to be just honest about it and stop the nonsense about, 'I look out my window and I see Russia and so therefore I know something about Russia,'" he said. "That kind of thing is insulting to the American people."

I could not agree with Hagel more on this issue of Palin's qualifications. We republicans pride ourselves on being realistic and sober in our thinking. When it comes to Palin, some of that mental discipline is clearly in order.

Lets get real folks. Palin is articulate and intelligent and possesses some political skills. That being said, she is not ready for prime time. She is not ready to play at this level. Thats not just the conclusion of her critics, but clearly its the McCain campaigns belief as well. How else can you explain their insistence on changing the format of the upcoming vice presidential debate for example?

At the insistence of the McCain campaign, the Oct. 2 debate between the Republican nominee for vice president, Gov. Sarah Palin, and her Democratic rival, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., will have shorter question-and-answer segments than those for the presidential nominees, the advisers said. There will also be much less opportunity for free-wheeling, direct exchanges between the running mates.

McCain advisers said they had been concerned that a loose format could leave Ms. Palin, a relatively inexperienced debater, at a disadvantage and largely on the defensive.

This nominee is supposed to be able to step into the Oval Office at a moment's notice, but must be protected from a debate setup that would require her to speak for too long? Its absurd.

Consider that with less than 45 days to election day, Ms. Palin thus far has given 2 media interviews, with a third scheduled with Katie Couric shortly. Her second interview was with Sean Hannity, a total partisan and so that doesn't really count anyway. So two major media interviews. Why does the vice presidential nominee require this much stage management? There is a problem when the campaign can't let the number two operate without script. Its indicative of the fact that Palin is a lightweight.

Lastly, any semi-conscious republican who is the least bit thoughtful and believes that Palin is ready to be President of the United States if McCain drops dead the day after inauguration is simply stupid or telling a bold face lie. Its that simple. A comparison I find helpful is simply to hold Palin up against the current occupant of the office, Dick Cheney. Like him or not, there is not anybody thats going to say Cheney is not effective, or lacks gravitas, or is not totally capable of running the country, in fact there are plenty who think he's running it now. I, nor any thinking republican, can seriously advance the argument that Palin brings a skill set to the ticket remotely comparable to Cheney, arguably the most effective and powerful VP in history.

Palin is a lightweight. She was selected for purely political reasons and she was not throughly vetted. McCain gambled with her pick and I think its a losing gamble. She's a base intensifier, but I don't see that she can bring him moderates and independents in any great numbers. She can't really campaign without McCain either, both because she has become the draw on the trail and because she can't do a town hall meeting or any type of event that requires her to speak unscripted at length.

Intelligent republicans, if they are being honest, will say that Palin does not meet the essential VP test, which is readiness to be president if the President is unable to serve. Period.