Saturday, August 30, 2008

Where were you when Sarah Palin was (officially) selected?

I just happened to be doing some business at a local bank as Mrs. Palin was introduced at the McCain rally. There was a tv in the lobby tuned to Fox News as they were covering Palin's selection and I watched a few seconds of her speech. My initial reaction -- just being honest -- was along the lines of "just what we need, an unknown inexperienced female running mate to tag along with the thoroughly non-conservative John McCain. In terms of her experience (or the lack thereof), Palin's selection was probably well thought out and well calculated given that she doesn't have a record to speak of that can be used against her. But it's interesting, don't ya think, that of all the candidates in the race Palin has more executive experience apparently than the rest combined? But as I've said many many times before, "if you ain't messin' up, you ain't tryin' very hard." When did lack of executive experience become a positive quality in a presidential or Vice Presidential candidate?

As a conservative I have to strongly protest this farce of a presidential election. We're supposed to be electing someone qualified to sit in the highest executive seat in America, and his second in command. Yet the best we can come up with are three legislators and a female governor of a state that, as someone said over at VFR, is barely a state. And by the way, Alaska is most definately not a conservative state. Any state in which a parent lives in perpetual fear of losing his children for mildly spanking them in public is by definition a liberal state, period. To Alaskans, ever vigilant and watchful to find and report any such behavior, or apparent evidence of such behavior, this is unqualified abuse. I'd personally like to know how the conservative Mrs. Palin feels about that.

The excitement among "conservatives" over McCain's selection, though, is ... amazing.

Update: I was too lazy this morning to do the research necessary to get the exact numbers and figures, but happily Mr. Auster has done it for me. Here's what I wrote to Auster followed by his replies to me in the initial VFR article on Governor Palin's selection:

TM writes to LA:

In terms of executive experience Sarah Palin apparently has more than all the other candidates combined.

LA replies:

Good point. We've got a 35 year senator; a four-year congressman and 21 year senator; and a ten year state senator and three year U.S. senator.

TM replies to LA:

Precisely. When exactly was it that lack of executive experience became a positive quality in presidential and Vice Presidential candidates, particularly with "conservatives"?

LA replies:

In fact, over our history, and especially since 1976, most presidents have been governors or have had other significant executive experience rather than being senators, while the number of incumbent U.S. senators who have unsuccessfully run for president in recent decades must number in the scores. It's a striking and surprising fact that only two incumbent U.S. senators have been elected president: Harding in 1920 and Kennedy in 1960. This year is the first time in our history that the presidential nominees of both major parties are sitting U.S. senators--plus one of the vice presidential nominees as well. In this sense, Gov. Palin is more in line with historic presidential qualifications than the other three candidates.

Which of course doesn't change the fact that her high-level experience--a year and half as governor of a low-population, oddball state that is geographically and culturally removed from the rest of the country (her accent even sounds a bit Canadian)--is very limited for a vice presidential nominee. Will her supporters be able plausibly to argue that she is prepared to step into the president's shoes on a moment's notice? Now, it's true that a year and a half as a governor is more significant experience than five and half years as a member of Congress from Queens, as was the case of Geraldine Ferraro in 1984. But the Ferraro nomination was an embarrassment driven by feminists, and Republicans should not be making that their standard.

I highly recommend the very active VFR article linked above, which continues in a new entry on the same subject. There are a lot of interesting takes there on the Palin choice.

Update #2: My last comment to the entry has been edited. Here's what I said ... in full:

You wrote:

It's not true that she does not have a political record to speak of, and that nobody really knows anything of substance about her. The issue is whether she has the background to be president, not whether she has a political record to speak of.

Okay, she has a political record that consists of her time as governor of Alaska, and as Mayor of the city of Wasilla (population: less than ten thousand).

You're right about what the issue is. And in my opinion she definately does not have the background to be president, but who does in this race? Nonetheless, her political record (what little of it there is) establishes her qualifications for serving as president ... in the event that she has to. And how many Americans, before yesterday, ever heard the name Sarah Palin?

In other words, I stand behind what I said. Palin doesn't have a political record to speak of, and nobody really knows anything of substance about her, though we're now beginning to learn more about her.