Sunday, August 31, 2008

Unfit To Lead

Sarah Palin's selection as a candidate for Vice President ultimately reflects on John McCain. The selection was not properly vetted and he had only met her once before choosing her as his running mate. I do not doubt the significant positives to her selection: i) She mobilizes the Conservative base ii) She is well positioned to vigorously defend domestic drilling, which has been a winning issue for McCain iii) She appeals to disinfranchized Hillary voters. However, she is a profoundly flawed candidate, with extreme views on evolution and abortion, and astonishingly there are unforeseen controversies bubbling beneath the surface that I'm sure we will hear more about in the coming weeks.

McCain has repeatedly attacked the culture of "perpetual campaigning" and its ill affects on governance in the Bush White House, however, he has made a VP selection that could only possibly service his campaign and puts the fate of the nation and the world in great jeopardy. She not only has zero foreign policy experience, but she has expressed absolutely no interest or vision in national security issues from Afghanistan to Iraq. In a recent trip to visit troops in Kuwait, her focus was on re-assuring Alaskan National Guardsmen that they would be able to hunt with no restrictions on their return to their native state. It should be noted that McCain just turned 72 years of age.

Faye Palin, Sarah Palin's mother in law said it best: "I'm not sure what she brings to the ticket other than she's a woman and a conservative. Well, she's a better speaker than McCain."

This Vice Presidental pick makes Harriet Myers look like Antonin Scalia.

But, this has been indicative of McCain's flawed judgment throughout this political season. He insisted that his campaign would be honorable and devoid of negative attacks, but, while the economy falters, more homes go into foreclosure, healthcare gets more expensive, and unemployment rises, McCain's focus seems to be on comparing Barack Obama to Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Charlton Heston.

McCain, quite rightly stood up to the sweeping Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that have more than doubled the national debt to almost 10 trillion dollars. However, this campaign season, inspite of the urgent priorities of paying down the debt and reducing the deficit, he has reversed course, and co-signed George Bush's disastrous tax policy for political gain with his own base.

Sarah Palin was a reckless choice that tells us more about John McCain than it does Sarah Palin. He did not spend an extended period of time with her, he did not research her background, and he did not look for somebody he agreed with on the issues. Instead he made a purely political calculation. By contrast, Barack Obama did the complete opposite. He put aside what was in his best political interests by not choosing Hillary Clinton, and looked for someone he shared a personal affinity with instead. He picked a running mate he had campaigned with for many months, and who would bring expertise, wisdom, and experience to the table. He picked a running mate he had confidence could be President if the unfortunate need arose.

What does that tell you, respectively, about John McCain and Barack Obama?