Saturday, August 30, 2008

McCain’s Judgment

My concern isn’t so much about Gov. Sarah Palin’s qualifications or lack of same to be a heartbeat away from the presidency; they have more to do with what the selection tells us about John McCain. As a lot of people have pointed out, there were plenty of prospective vice presidential candidates with all of the qualities Ms. Palin has in the Republican ranks — conservative and so forth (Mike Huckabee, Elizabeth Dole, Gary Bauer, Kay Bailey Hutchison) — but it appears that Mr. McCain chose her solely for the political aspects of tweaking the Democrats’ nose about Hillary Clinton, and not necessarily what will happen after the election. I find that to be frighteningly short-sighted. I don’t care about her gender or her experience; the first one doesn’t matter to me, and the second one matters only in how she learns from it. But if the question is John McCain’s judgment in picking someone only for the campaign, then I wonder what kind of president he would be; and I’m not the only one raising this question.

The sexist/misogynistic attacks on her by the alleged progressives do nothing to advance the discourse; indeed, they may backfire and generate sympathy for Ms. Palin in the hearts and minds of the independent voters who haven’t made up their mind about either candidate, and I can’t say it enough: leave that crap in the gutter where it belongs. We know where she stands on some issues: she is hard-core anti-choice even in the case of rape or incest, she maintains a medieval view of science vs. creationism, she would support a constitutional amendment against gay rights. The rationalizations about her executive experience or lack thereof have to be taken into consideration; we have lived for the last eight years under the thrall of a president who also touted such experience. But more importantly, we have to consider the judgment of the man who decided that such a person was the best person he could find to be his running mate. If John McCain thinks honestly that Sarah Palin is the best he could do, it’s scary, and if he chose her for the acid-etched cynical reason of only winning an election, then it’s terrifying.