Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Then What?

Matthew Dowd, who was a campaign strategist for George W. Bush, says that Sarah Palin could win in 2012, and even as Mr. Dowd says that he would not support her candidacy, he offers her some tips on how to win: learn about the issues, appeal to the hopes of voters instead of their fears, look forward instead of citing Ronald Reagan (who isn’t really a Republican any more, anyway), stop being so humorless, and stop blaming everyone else for your own flaws. With the advice he’s giving her, Teddy the Wonder Lizard could be elected president.

The problem, though, isn’t that she could be elected. The problem is what happens after, and what worries me beyond the possibility of Sarah Palin — or Teddy — in the Oval Office is that all Mr. Dowd cares about is winning an election. As we have found out much to our chagrin over the years is that winning an election is easy compared to actually being president. You can argue that Barack Obama was as equally inexperienced when he was sworn in as president, but at the very least he put some thought into what he would do once he got there. All indications are that Sarah Palin would wing it, and we’ve already seen what can happen when we have a president who relies on their gastrointestinal system for guidance. We’d be better off with a Ouija board. And the lizard.

Mr. Dowd may be just indulging in his craft of coming up with a winning strategy. But he’s also a citizen, and it would mean a whole lot more if he took his duty as a voter and someone with a stake in the future of his country beyond game theory to say that no matter how much tweaking and advice a candidate gets, there are just some people who have no business running for president.