The problem with Sarah

Shawn Mullins at TMV shows a photo of LBJ taking the oath of office and asks people to imagine Joe Biden in that position.  Then he continues:

Look long and hard at this photograph, America. I mean really long and hard. Now squint a little and picture Sarah Palin raising her right hand to take the oath of office as a stunned Cindy McCain stands at her left side and Todd Palin at her right. Not just a disturbing thought, but a nightmarish one because the Republican nominee-to-be rang up an obscure wingnut with a walk-in closet full of skeletons in a fit of pique.

Where to start with the Sarah Palin debacle.  It’s hard to know.

The New York Times is reporting that Palin was essentially handed to McCain on a silver platter by a hard right thinktank, and he took her with minimal vetting.  That is unfortunate.  The thing is, I’m not certain the “experience” factor is as significant as some are wont to make it.

The US Presidency is a one of a kind job, and there’s not really a sure fire method to prepare or a certified career path that lands one there.  Looking at the history of the office and which candidates have been more or less successful, there’s not always a correlation to their resume and their performance in office.  Experience matters, but it comes in many forms and I’m more interested in a candidate’s policy positions and whether they can remain calm and collected, whether they can think on their feet, whether they have the wisdom to surround themselves with subject matter experts where their own expertise is lacking, than the thickness of their resume.

No, the problem isn’t Palin’s lack of experience.  The problems focus on her position on the issues, and her judgment.

As an example, let’s consider why the inconsistancies between her alledged last pregnancy matter.  I’ve been discussing this online with a friend who is very uncomfortable with discussions of this nature, and believes they are a distraction from the real issues.  My concern is that they relate to real issues.

The question is not policy vs. personality, but public vs. personal. Obama is correct in terms of overall principle that there is a right to a personal life and some things should be off limits.


When you selectively cherrypick things out of your personal life and include them in your resume as a means of establishing your political bona fides, those things become just as fair game as anything else on your resume and are subject to scrutiny, evaluation and judgment.

Palin is being questioned because a lot of very strong circumstantial evidence suggests the story of her recent pregnancy is made up, and that story is a cornerstone of her pro life credentials.  Interestingly they have not offered to do the easy thing and simply release the medical records that would prove what she says.

That her daughter is (again?) pregnant is moot and is being trumpeted by the McCain campaign mostly as a distraction. Yes it is a convenient exhibit A in demonstratng the failure of religius-wrong approved education, but the larger matter, the real issue at hand is the fabricated story. It is the McCain camp that is using Palin’s daughter, not liberals, bloggers or the media.

Why might Palin make up some bullshit story rather than simply admit her daughter is pregnant in the first place?  Nobody worth listening to cares whether or not her daughter has a kid, but is it possible that she found the firsthand evidence of policy failure inconvenient – lest we forget, Palin is a vocal advocate of ignorance based sex education – and trusted lax media scrutiny to aid in the coverup? Ruth Marcus at WaPo has a good column on the real lessons to be learned here…

The real issue is one of judgment and credibility.  If she’ll go to that extreme to cover up something that doesn’t need covering who’s to know what she’d do over real scandals like illegal signing statements, torture, illegal rendition, politicization of justice, falsified intelligence, or myriad other hypotheticals.

Now we also find she’s been associated with separatists, we already knew about the ongoing investigation into troopergate, and the McCain campaign releases information that her daughter is now pregnant as a distraction.  How convenient.

Wonkette has started a Palin Withdrawl Watch.

Poor Sarah Palin! We mean, “Sarah Palin lies everyday about everything!” In any case, our beloved junior governor from Alaska is now embroiled in so many snowbilly scandals that she’s probably not going to last through the week. Let’s start this fun new feature, about all the ways poor Sarah is about to be tossed off the ticket, maybe.

Maybe.  Yet Wonkette isn’t the first to suggest the nomination is an April Fool that will ultimately, like Harriet Meiers, be withdrawn.

Not a favorable comparison if we’re talking about presidential “judgment.”


Kos has a poll on whether the Palin nomination will last to election day.  It’s running about 50/50.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she sticks it out.  Is McCain going to back down and admit he erred in chosing her?  Not his style…


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