After Sarah Palin delivered a typically garbled, inarticulate, and factually confused explanation of Paul Revere’s ride at Boston’s Old North Church Huffington Post claims her “supporters apparently attempted to update the Wikipedia entry on Revere in order to make the facts conform to Palin’s version of history.” Wikipedia deleted the revision.
A Roz Chast cartoon, apropos of the health care reform discussion.
This goes up there with John Edwards’ $400 haircut: the highest-paid consultant to the McCain campaign during the first two weeks of October was Sarah Palin’s make-up artist, who earned $22,800.
Twenty-two thousand eight hundred dollars. In addition to the $150,000 the Republican National Committee spent to outfit Palin and the rest of her brood.
It’s expensive, being Mrs. Joe Sixpack.
It is fascinating how Sarah Palin’s nomination has turned conservative columnists and commentators against John McCain. They echo what many others (like me) were saying immediately after McCain announced her selection: she is too inexperienced, she knows nothing of substance about the most important domestic and foreign policy issues, and her selection was a cynical move that calls McCain’s judgment into question. This avalanche of apostasy includes Peggy Noonan’s recent Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece. (Subscription required) Noonan’s conservative credentials are impeccable. Among other things she served as advisor to President Reagan and speechwriter for Bush senior. Here is some of what she has to say about Palin:
[W]e have seen Mrs. Palin on the national stage for seven weeks now, and there is little sign that she has the tools, the equipment, the knowledge or the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high office. She is a person of great ambition, but the question remains: What is the purpose of the ambition? She wants to rise, but what for? For seven weeks I’ve listened to her, trying to understand if she is Bushian or Reaganite . . . But it’s unclear whether she is Bushian or Reaganite. She doesn’t think aloud. She just . . . says things.
. . .
This is not a leader, this is a follower, and she follows what she imagines is the base, which is in fact a vast and broken-hearted thing whose pain she cannot, actually, imagine. She could reinspire and reinspirit; she chooses merely to excite. She doesn’t seem to understand the implications of her own thoughts.
Sarah Palin represents all that is mean-spirited, coarse, and reactionary about our political process. That she could be one breath away from the presidency should keep everone awake at night from worry.
After yesterday’s post I vowed I would not mention Sarah Palin again soon, but David Brooks’ editorial in today’s Times made me break my vow. I disagree with Brooks far more often than I agree with him, the point being that Brooks is not preaching to the Times’ choir. Today’s editorial, titled “Why Experience Matters“, takes issue with Palin’s nomination as VP candidate and with trumpeting of instinct over experience it represents. He describes the Bush administration as “the anti-establishment attitude put into executive practice” and states this attitude “made Bush inept at governance” because governance “is hard . . . requires acquired skills . . . [and] [m]ost of all, it requires prudence . . . How is prudence acquired? Through experience.” He concludes that Palin “has not been engaged in national issues, does not have a repertoire of historic patterns and, like President Bush, she seems to compensate for her lack of experience with brashness and excessive decisiveness.” All reasons why McCain showed terrible judgment in selecting her.
A post two weeks ago about the selection of Sarah Palin asked whether McCain was serious. The pundits view the selection as a success because it invigorated the McCain campaign. “Ordinary Americans” like Palin because she is “just like us.” That’s the problem. I don’t want a President and Vice President who are just like us. I want elected leaders who are more knowledgeable, more thoughtful, better-read, and more in tune with the world’s complexities than us. We’ve had eight years of one of the worst administrations in history led by someone “ordinary Americans” can relate to. Having a New York Times editorial echo these thoughts is small comfort since the “ordinary Americans” who’ve embraced McCain and Palin don’t take their cues from the Times. Others, though–the “extraordinary Americans”–see that the emperor has no clothes. I called Palin’s selection “a cynical, craven capitulation to the far right [that} underscores the deep flaws in McCain’s judgment.” The Times said it “raises profound questions about his judgment.” I said “[t]his decision is bold only in the context of politics as a game.” The Times said “[i]f the choice was, as we suspect, a tactical move, then it was shockingly irresponsible.” Palin’s scripted, non-substantive, shallow–how can anyone take seriously someone who claims insight into Russia because it’s visible across the Bering Strait?–make her shortcomings painfully obvious. If McCain were CEO of a public company and he promoted to second in command a person so obviously lacking in knowledge about the business the shareholders would have his head, the second’s physical resemblance to Tina Fey notwithstanding. (Fey nailed Palin’s appeal in Saturday’s opening sketch on Saturday Night Live.) I’d laugh at McCain’s buffoonery if the stakes were not so high.
PS: Bob Herbert’s Op-Ed 9/12 Times Op-Ed piece
Sarah Palin is John McCain’s VP candidate? Is it April Fool’s Day? This cynical, craven capitulation to the far right underscores the deep flaws in McCain’s judgment. Do any of the pundits crediting McCain’s boldness honestly think Palin is ready to be one heartbeat away from the presidency? This decision is bold only in the context of politics as a game. In the context of statesmanship, leadership, judgment about the future of a nation, it is criminally negligent and insulting.
A friend asked me to state my problem’s with McCain’s candidacy in a sentence. I said that he hasn’t shown any ability to comprehend the complexity of either national or international issues. A few moments later I said it more succinctly: John McCain is a binary thinker in a non-binary world. I understand the emotional appeal of yes/no, black/white, good/bad answers, the desire to reduce bewildering complexity to simple bit-sized solutions, but that’s not economic, political, or social reality. John McCain is like Bruce Willis in the Die Hard movies–whose character is, ironically, named “John McClane”–except John McCain is not running for a celluloid presidency, the USA is not the Nokomura Tower, and the bad guys are not Eurotrash in $400 haircuts led by Alan Rickman.