Kathleen Parker writing in the National Review has taken a brave but stupid stand in favor of asking Sarah Palin to withdraw from the race.
Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.
No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.
Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there. Here’s but one example of many from her interview with Hannity: “Well, there is a danger in allowing some obsessive partisanship to get into the issue that we’re talking about today. And that’s something that John McCain, too, his track record, proving that he can work both sides of the aisle, he can surpass the partisanship that must be surpassed to deal with an issue like this.”
I’m not exactly sure what Parker’s point is here. Is it that Palin doesn’t talk like a Washington policy wonk? Is it that her knowledge of the issues is deficient? What is it?
Forget that Palin is no more or less qualified for high office than Barack Obama (in some important ways, more qualified). Neither of them is inherently unqualified to serve. That’s because there are no qualifications except that the candidate be a native born American citizen and at least 35 years old. The Founders left the qualifications list extremely vague for a very good reason; they hoped and expected ordinary Americans to have a chance at the top job.
Granted we live in a complex world with huge problems. But presidents are not economic or foreign policy experts. Or military, trade, or education experts. At bottom, the greatest assets any president have are their innate common sense and their ability to communicate with the people. Beyond that, their judgement is informed by their life experience not what they read in some book somewhere. And anyone who has read presidential autobiographies knows how overwhelmed they all have felt when first taking over.
Yes, Virginia. There is always a learning curve for a new president and vice president. And while Palin may seem like a fish out of water at times, it may be because we are so used to seeing our politicians able to smoothly avoid all questions and give the answers to questions they prefer. It is the gift of Washington-speak that Palin hasn’t quite mastered yet and it shows. (Give her time and she’ll be as evasive as any politician in Washington.)
Besides this, if Palin were to withdraw, McCain may as well pack it in and go back to Arizona. No sense in staying in a race you are going to lose hugely.
So Parker’s suggestion is not only wrongheaded but ridiculously naive. It took some guts to give voice to those thoughts but frankly, she should have kept them to herself.