Friday, August 29, 2008

Country First? Not With McCain'sVP Choice

There's a lot to like about John McCain's Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin. She has challenged her own party on ethics and other issues. She's smart and tough, and getting new blood in Washington is never a bad thing. But, that means she'd make a good Senator. Vice President? At 44, having been Governor of one of the smallest states in the Union (population wise) for less than two years, and having been mayor of a town of just 6,500 people before that, and with no interest in foreign policy (she's been quoted as saying she doesn't know anything about the conditions in Iraq related to our exiting the country) she is nowhere near "ready to lead" (to steal a McCain phrase).

Yet John McCain has put her one heartbeat away from the Presidency. This is despite meeting her just one time, just six months ago (!) and having talked with her about the Vice Presidency exactly one (!) time (on the phone no less). Apparently it's harder to get hired at a fast food restaurant than it is to be named the second most powerful person in the world in John McCain's administration. And while that's not completely fair (I'm sure there was a thorough vetting process which took place) it's not completely unfair either. In many ways, this bothers me more than anything else about the Palin pick, even her inexperience.

The selection of Vice President is often seen as a political gambit, but in many ways, it has to be about putting "County First" to use John McCain's own campaign slogan. Because the Vice President is one heartbeat away from running the free world, ensuring that the Vice President, more than anything else, is qualified to be President, has to be the first quality satisfied. Should something happen to the President, the country has to know that the Vice President is capable of taking over immediately. And how can John McCain know that Sarah Palin is ready? How do you not meet and interview the person, in-person? How do you only speak to the person ONE time about the job? How can you be sure that Sarah Palin is best for the country having hardly spoken to her. If John McCain allows his staff to make this decision for him (and if they didn't, they certainly must have played an extraordinary large role given the lack of personal contact between McCain and Palin) what other critical decisions will McCain similarly have little input on as President? He didn't just pick somebody the country doesn't know very well. He picked someone whom he doesn't know very well. How could he? He's met or spoken to her just twice in his entire life.

As Paul Begala put it so well yesterday night on Larry King, would you entrust your children, if something happened to you, to somebody who you met one time at a luncheon and with whom you've spoken with one time, on the phone, about raising your kids? That would sound absurd. Yet John McCain has entrusted the future of over 300 million Americans (and in many ways, the future of the world) to Sarah Palin, despite not knowing her at all. She may turn out to be a tremendous Vice President, but how can John McCain know that for sure? How can he gamble with the country's future like this?

This shows me a real lack of consideration on John McCain's part which really concerns me about how he'll make decisions if he becomes President. His lack of personal engagement is remarkable in a decision this important.

And what about Palin's stances on the issues? We already know, based on her past statements, that she knows very little about foreign policy. She's fiercely pro-life (going so far as to say she wouldn't allow abortions even in cases of rape and incest), is a life long member of the NRA, and has talked favorably about requiring schools to teach creationism in public schools. And she has a very thin (and questionable) record on Israel. Both her and her husband were fundraisers for Pat Buchanan when he ran for President (he proudly admitted that on MSNBC tonight, giving Palin a stronger Buchanan connection than Politco's Ben Smith earlier believed) and while I enjoy watching Buchanan on MSNBC and think he's very knowledgeable about political issues, he has never been a strong (or any kind) of real friend of Israel. I can't imagine that's going to play well in the very swing state of Florida, where Obama has shown surprising strength.

John McCain needed to follow his own slogan and put "County First" with his Vice Presidential pick. It's what Barack Obama did. There is no question that should something happen where Barack cannot continue as President, Joe Biden is ready and qualified to be President. John McCain, on the other hand, selected a woman with an extraordinarily thin resume whom he hardly knows. And this is after spending months convincing America that Barack Obama is not ready to lead. With the way he made his choice (even more than the choice itself), John McCain certainly did not put his "Country First."

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Howard said...

Obama supporters are foolish to think that he will never betray them.
Obama was a close friend of Pastor Wright for TWENTY YEARS.
Obama threw Wright under the bus for personal ambition.
McCain would not betray his country even after 5 years of torture.
You can put lipstick on a traitor, but he's still a traitor.

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