Monday, September 01, 2008

Gov. Palin and experience

If you ever want to know what the media bias is, all you have to do is listen to my mother-in-law.

She doesn't watch Fox. So she's all agog that Gov. Palin has no foreign policy experience and how poorly that contrasts with Sen. Obama's inspired pick of Joe Biden.

Well, yes, Abuela, Long Suffering Spouse explained to her mother, but Obama doesn't have the foreign policy experience and that's why it made sense for him to choose Sen. Biden. On the other hand, she explained, Sen. McCain is campaigning on his own experience. So it doesn't matter if his running mate has foreign policy experience or not.

The foreign policy red herring will swim by in a moment. The Democrats really hope to brand Gov. Palin as a female Quayle.

Fairly or unfairly, George H.W. Bush's Vice President, Dan "Potatoe" Quayle, was perceived as a lightweight by the American people.

But he had two terms as a Congressman and was in his second term as a U.S. Senator from Indiana when he was picked to run with Bush the Elder. (He got his Senate seat by beating Birch Bayh, Sen. Evan Bayh's father.)

Whether Gov. Palin will prove to be a Quaylette will ultimately depend upon how she comports herself in the coming campaign, not how she is spun by the talking heads on cable news.

But she does have one thing going for her: As an elected Governor she actually has executive experience... something no other candidate for national office has.

Granted, the entire State of Alaska has only around 683,478 residents (a 2007 estimate, per Wikipedia). By contrast, DuPage County, Illinois, a traditional Republican stronghold just west of Chicago -- just one of the six counties that together make up the greater Chicago metropolitan area -- has over 900,000 residents (again, per Wikipedia). And Palin has only been governor for less than two years.

But that's still more executive experience than Senators Obama or Biden have: Obama went to the U.S. Senate from the Illinois State Senate; Biden went to the Senate from the County Council of New Castle County.

That's also more executive experience than Senator McCain has: He did command a Naval Air Unit, VA-174, from July 1976 through July 1977, but aviators don't typically command large groups of personnel. He was never a ship handler. And command in the military is somewhat different than holding an executive political office. OK, a lot different: In politics, one seldom salutes... someone might see the knife up your sleeve.

We Americans keep talking about "experience," as if this were really important. If "experience" -- time in office -- is all that matters, Dan Quayle should have been four or five times the candidate that Sen. Obama is. I don't think that even the most militant Republican would make such a contention.

I think what we're really craving is gravitas, and maybe dignitas. Brains are wonderful to have... but brains can be bought. We really are looking for wisdom.

And we'll get attack ads instead. *Sigh.*

4 comments:

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

for what it's worth i love her! so far anyway.

smiles, bee
tyvc

Shelby said...

I am liking her - and liking Juan McCainos for picking her. I am thrilled and so excited in this political season.

Mostly because Hillary's out.

Dave said...

Experience is over rated. That said, the views of the candidates could not be more starkly different, especially after the choice of Palin.

We have a very socially liberal ticket opposing a very socially conservative ticket (discounting what McCain actually thinks verses the people he is pandering to).

We have two tickets that plan to spend a bunch of our money on distinctly different, but equally expensive, social programs.

I wouldn't have voted for McCain before Palin, she seals that deal for me. Now I have to figure out if the expense of Obama is worth the perceived benefit of his social views.

Linda said...

Personally, I will be more than happy when this election is over as I am so sick of tired of negative campaign ads that I could spit.

There is always someone who is not going to be pleased with either parties choice so people need to stop casting stones and pick the candidate that they think will be the best to lead this country. It would be nice if it wasn't the one that slung the most mud.