I Can See Russia From My House

I think it’s smart for Senator Obama to avoid getting caught in the somewhat media-driven Sarah Palin whirlpool of attention.  The election is between he and Senator McCain.  Palin’s 33% chance of becoming president during Senator McCain’s term certainly makes her a fair target for analysis, but she was chosen as an attention magnet so spending some quality time ignoring her is wise politically.

As I am not running against either her or John McCain, I can afford to spend a little time staring at the train wreck that is Sarah Palin.  Much like Michael Corleone, I find that every time I think I’m out, she says something that pulls me back in.  So it goes.

Asked during a town hall with Senator McCain what specific skills she could cite to rebuff critics, she gave an expectedly vague answer.  Apparently confidence and readiness are specific skills.

Asked for “specific skills” she could cite to rebut critics who question her grasp of international affairs, she replied, “I am prepared.”

“I have that confidence. I have that readiness,” Palin said. “And if you want specifics with specific policies or countries, you can go ahead and ask me. You can play ‘stump the candidate’ if you want to. But we are ready to serve.”

So that’s the spin Palin is using to explain that her best definition of the Bush Doctrine was “His world view.”  Stump the candidate.   I could have answered that Bush Doctrine question, and I lack even the foreign policy badge of being able to see Russia from my house.  The pathetic covers being fronted by the pundits that the average American couldn’t have answered that question are foolish.  The average American is neither qualified to be nor interested in becoming President or Vice President.  The average American couldn’t define Astrocytoma, but you should probably be concerned if your doctor can’t.

Let’s not forget that less than a month ago you could have asked Ms. Palin what the Vice President does and she’d have been stumped by that one as well.  I’m glad she knows the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull, but I’d feel more comfortable with the prospect of her holding national office if she knew the difference between a publically funded and privately held company.  Especially when the companies in question are major financial institutions whose failures may seriously cripple our economy.

When you answer “If you want specific skills, you can go ahead and ask me,” to a question about what specific skills you have, you just failed the interview.  Please don’t answer a question by rephrasing it as a statement.  This isn’t a Socratic dialog.  It’s a national election.

“I am prepared,” is not a skill.  “I have that confidence.  I have that readiness,” are also not skills.  If a question like “What are your specific skills?”  stumps you, is there a question we can ask that isn’t a game of Stump the Candidate?

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