Choices: are we the sum of our experience?

The main reason I take the time to write and maintain this blog (besides venting) is so that when it comes time for someone to choose to vote for me or against me- my thoughts are here for them to examine in my own words. In fact, I believe it should be a requirement for anyone who wants to run for office to spend at least a year blogging before being allowed to file to run.

So, when John McCain picked his running mate, to the shock of many, you would expect her to be fully vetted. Picking a VP is a very important choice, since should you die in office, this is the person who will step in and take your place. Sarah Palin doesn’t cut it in my book. I found this on Andrew Sullivan’s blog (thanks John) and although it looks like it’s a quote from somewhere else- I think he constructed it- since he doesn’t give attribution. It’s dead on the money in my book:

I’ve voted a straight Republican ticket every year of my life since 1975, when I first came of voting age, but I was stunned and horrified by McCain’s choice of Palin. I simply cannot even consider voting for McCain after this choice, which speaks loudly of his own selfishness and fundamental frivolousness.

So I was shocked when I turned to the conservative blogs looking for others who shared my dismay and found a celebration going on. They really honestly believe that Palin’s “inexperience” and Obama’s “inexperience” are equivalent. I have had no luck at all in the past 24 hours trying to explain that Obama is quite obviously an impressive man (with whom I disagree on almost every major issue) with extraordinary qualities of organization, discipline and leadership. I see nothing in Palin’s record to suggest that she has any such qualities.

He is a man who has spent his adult life thinking serious thoughts about serious issues and having serious conversations about them with other serious, well-informed people; while Palin quite as clearly has done none of those things. He was the president of the Harvard Law Review; she was the point guard on her high school basketball team.

He has surrounded himself in his campaign with world-class people (with whom, again, I disagree on almost every issue); and though I am doubtless an elitist and snob for saying so, I doubt that she has even met a half-dozen world-class people in her lifetime.

While Obama might do a hundred things as President that I believe are bad for the country, I am confident that he would surround himself with experienced, informed, competent advisors and that he would make no world-destroying blunders. I cannot say the same about Palin and, in view of what this choice reveals about McCain’s character and judgment, I cannot say the same of him either.

The Palin pick says much more about McCain than it does about Palin (all it says about her is that she didn’t have the good sense to turn it down). What it says about McCain is that he is more interested in politics than policy, more interested in campaigning than governing, tactical when he should be strategic, and reckless when he should be considered.

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan.

If we had these candidate sites to reference, instead of having to depend on the media to “deliver” their filtered perspectives of candidates- or worse, depend on the :30 tv spot and all its mudslinging soundbite glory, we might have a better (certainly more cost effective) system of elections.

For right now though, the idea of Sarah Palin as VP scares me for the reasons above. In our short 232 year history as a country, we’ve only had one accidental President- Gerald Ford, who was iminently more qualified than Sarah Palin. I don’t care how much of an outsider, maverick, defender of the commoner she’s being painted, the fundamental issue is does the sum of her experience qualify her to be President.

To me, clearly the answer is no. I consider it my civic duty to work against this travesty of a ticket. Please, join me in making sure that our country doesn’t sink to electing PTA members/point gaurds to our highest office. If Palin had a brain, she would reconsider, withdraw and put in a few more years as governor- and then maybe, she could be considered seriously for the position.

Right now, she’s an untested, unknown and the sum of her experience evident.

Your thoughts?

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28 Responses

  1. Gene August 31, 2008 / 1:18 pm
    She may be MORE qualified than Obama. She has executive experience, he does not. So if you are scared of that ticket then you must be down right spooked to the Nth degree with an inexperience Obama on top of the ticket. FYI, this is where you need to be consistent, oh, something you can’t do. And, sorry David, RUNNING for President vs Hillary does not qualify him.
  2. Pam August 31, 2008 / 2:05 pm
    Oh, please!

    Of the 50 states, Alaska ranks 48th in population and is dead last in population per square mile. The mayors of Baltimore, Memphis, and Fort Worth are each in charge of more tax payers than Governor Palin. And she hasn’t even been on the job for a full term. Forgive me for not being overly impressed with her experience.

    She got tapped to appeal to the NRA, the Bible thumpers, and a few brain dead women who don’t mind handing their reproductive freedom (and control of their bodies) over to the government. Period.

    If McCain gets elected, I’m sure he’ll make an excellent dictator for the third world country we’re rapidly becoming. But if his funeral is one of the ones that Vice President Palin has to attend, we’ll all be in serious trouble.

  3. Gene August 31, 2008 / 3:24 pm
    My point is, PAM, that her experience is on par with Obama. You may want to read my comment again. If you are not impressed with her resume regarding the VP position, well then you must be unimpressed with Obama who is actually running for president. Once you liberals get down from your pot high maybe you will be able to see how close these two are in terms of experience/resume. Neither have that much going for them, so stop slamming her bc Obama has his issues regarding experience.

    I think I may switch my vote bc I keep hearing the demorats scream “no experience!” Look at YOUR CANIDATE for God’s sake. Even Bidden, his VP nom, complained about his lack of experience. Hey, David, maybe you could start a blog that get people to look at the truth rather than cover up Obama’s lack of experience. How hypocritical do you folks have to be? SMF all of you!

  4. Gene August 31, 2008 / 3:45 pm
    Notice how he says he is confident Obama would surround himself with experienced people. : this means he in not experienced. The guy you are quoting is stating FEELINGS, not fact.

    OH LOOK!!!!!! Obama is in Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep thought. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh………. This makes ME QUALIFIED. Big time Harvard Law Review, ohhhhhhhhh, no how many other punks are qualified to be president. “He’s an impressive man.” – So was my dad. Seriously, were is the meat of this – it seems to me he is stating feelings and hunches. McCain or Obama or So and So will all surround themselves with good people, so if we want to go HEAD to HEAD with experiece, compare McCain to Obama, – McCain Wins. Obama loses.

    Pretty weak arguments.

  5. Jake August 31, 2008 / 6:05 pm
    -Gene

    So I assume, that should Palin become President, then we’re screwed? This is all we hear from the Dems. SO, logically, a commander in chief with little to no foreign policy experience? Sounds like ol’ Barack Obama. In fact, Dems point to the fact that Obama picked Biden, a man who actually could be a competent president, and therefore Obama’s lack of foreign experience is wiped out. However, since Palin will simply pull an Obama and pick a VP with Biden-esque experience, then Palin’s inexperience should be wiped away too.

    Dems are better. Change will can believe in has slowly become “Get Your Standard Issue Democratic Ticket Here”. I would whine too if I invested that much into a platform only to be bitterly disappointed.

  6. Pam August 31, 2008 / 8:01 pm
    I’ve got news for you, GENE: I’ve never smoked pot in my life (neither has David), and at 42 I’m not likely to start. I have a professional license that would be permanently revoked if I were charged with/convicted of any drug offense and there’s no way in hell I would risk my livelihood over something so stupid. So your statement that all liberals smoke pot just bolsters my belief that all conservatives are MORONS.

    Obama has served in the Illinois Senate, and the US Senate, and he has degrees from Columbia University and Harvard. Sarah Palin has a 4 year degree in communications from the University of Idaho, she was a runner up in a beauty contest, she was the mayor in a town of 7,000 and now she is the governor of the great state of Alaska. That and five dollars will get you a 16 oz. triple shot latte at Starbucks. There is simply no comparison between the two.

    Hell, I have a more impressive CV than she has.

  7. Jake August 31, 2008 / 8:14 pm
    Yeah, I saw an interview where Obama once cited his undergraduate degree as evidence of his foreign policy experience. *Sigh*
  8. Larkin September 1, 2008 / 11:32 am
    The problem is not that she does not have experience, because of course, she has some. The problem is that she is NOT educated. Sorry, but a BA in Journalism from Idaho is not sufficient education to be in a (likely) position to be the accidental president of the United States.

    Additionally, the state of Alaska has spent more than $100,000 to establish a bi-partisan investigation into ethics violations. (In a nutshell, she tried to have her brother-in-law, a state trooper, fired because he wanted shared custody of his children. When the supervisor refused to terminate the trooper, he was fired. Abuse of power, anyone?

    People remark that she is “just like us.” I’m sorry, but I’m not qualified to run the country, and neither is she. She is no foreign policy experience whatsoever. Zip. Nada. Zilch. Can you imagine her taking tea with the Queen? Or more seriously, staring down Pakistan?

    Her positions are ill-thought out and archaic. Not only is she anti-abortion, she is also against birth control! Who is going to look after those five children, including a special needs infant while Mommy’s at work? A nanny. And who pays for the nanny? You and me, bub, if the McCain ticket is elected. Nice. I guess Hubby will give up the family business, as there isn’t much Salmon Fishing in Washington, DC. Or maybe she’ll commute from Alaska.

    We’ve had bimbos for Vice-President before…. Dan Quayle leaps to mind, but George HW Bush wasn’t exactly on death’s door. And whatever Republican advisor who thought that this might siphon off some of the disgruntled HRC supporters must be delusional as the only thing those two women have in common is their gender.

    Okay, out to look for breakfast in the fair city of Monroe, Louisiana . . .

  9. Gene September 1, 2008 / 1:20 pm
    Regarding her and child care: HELLO, she already had a job. She was going to use day care in Alaska. She has a husband. He can retire and watch the kids.

    I would think by now Democrats would be a little bit MORE progressive when it come to this subject. Shit, you guys show your true colors – which is you are sexist, plain and simple.

    She is smart enough for the job. She wiggled her way into being a Governor. And BTW NO Governor has foreign policy experience, so any and all before her should not have qualified : see Bill Clinton.

  10. Gene September 1, 2008 / 1:59 pm
    Besides, her teenage daughter will also need government supported child care – and I know Democrats are going to hammer on that even though they support it in their own communities. Just seems to me that a lot of democrats are two-faced.

    In the end I am still voting for Obama, even though he does lack experience. I think experience is over-rated, I really do. The same old shit politics in way worse and much harder on all of us. Unfortunately I see Obama going this direction. That is just politics unfortunately. We need Jesse “The Body” Ventura – a man I practically got voted to be the Gov. of Minn (now former Gov.) Yes, believe it or not, it was ME!

  11. In the 'burg September 1, 2008 / 2:29 pm
    Oh. So you’re Mean Gene Okerlund.
    That figures.
  12. Larkin September 2, 2008 / 12:03 am
    No, I think the Democrats are just going to point out how well the Republicans speak with forked tongue when it comes to trying to put this woman in office. She is the worst excuse for a woman and a mother I’ve seen in a long time. Just my humble opinion, of course.
  13. Jeff September 2, 2008 / 5:31 am
    The more I hear about her the more she sounds like a female Ken Blackwell.
  14. Bruce Kettelle September 2, 2008 / 2:23 pm
    Didn’t know where else to post this but I read this post from the NewsDissector.com and the second paragraph caught my eye. More protesters in this country are copying Esrati!

    The NY Times featured a Page One Photo of A Policemen spraying protesters with mace or pepper spray. The headline: DOZENS ARE ARRESTED AS CONVENTION OPENS. The story itself is pushed way back on to page A 20 below the fold where protesters are called “THRONGS.” As in “AS THRONGS OF PROTESTERS HIT THE STREETS, DOZENS ARE ARRESTED.” The police actions were presented as necessary because of attempts by a minority of protesters (”Although most of the protesters were peaceful..”)

    The story quotes from the REPUBLICAN PARTY’s BLOG, but no activist blogs, suggesting that some delegates were spat upon in an effort to block Republicans at a “security perimeter.” The article suggested that that a group of about 200 in black bandannas ” and some wearing black balaclavas cauesed the protest.” There is a reference to a documentary filmmaker, Jerah Plucker, saying he was one of 300 people surrounded by police at a rally on teh banks of the Missisippi.

    TWO NY TIMES reporters had bylines on this sketchy report. There is no reference to Amy Goodman or claims that independent media teams were singeled out. See DemocracyNow.org for more. Police said “75 or more” had been arrested. I guess that’s “Dozens” End of article says 300 people were told they were being arrested at peaceful rally/concert. Duh?

    THERE IS NO REFERENCE TO WHAT PROTESTERS WERE SAYING OR CHANTING.

    Can you image what the Times response would have been if “THOUSANDS OF PROTESTERS,” much less faceless THRONGS” had marched at the Olympics in China?

  15. John Ise September 2, 2008 / 10:07 pm
    If you want to get a blow-by-blow of the Republican Party’s meltdown over the Palin fiasco, visit the Atlantic Monthly’s Andrew Sullivan’s blog (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/). I read it religoiously and he parrot too much of it without crediting it (not to worry, I parrot Esrati on other blogs without due credit).

    As for Palin, now there’s the pregnant daughter, then there’s the small town mayor recipient of millions in pork spending, after that the separatist Alaska political part affiliation of her husband, the Pat Buchanon connection, the fact she didn’t have a passport until 2001, the State investigation of the firing of a law enforcement official that involved her ex-brother in law where she was caught in a lie, the Republican legislative leader who questions her qualifications…for Governor, and whatever tomorrow may bring. Was the McCain vetting process anything more than a Google search?!?

    The more you learn, the worse it gets. Much worse.

  16. Larkin September 3, 2008 / 1:19 am
    No one seems to have paid any attention to the fact that Sarah Palin was born in Sandpoint, ID before her mother and father moved to Alaska. Sandpoint has long been a hotbed of white supremacists, and many of those folks leave Idaho for . . c’mon, guess where? Alaska! Wouldn’t it at least be worthwhile to investigate whether or not Palin or her family had (or has) ties to the Aryan Nation?

    Further, I noted that the Anchorage Daily News described Todd Palin’s job as “a BP oil field worker currently on leave from his job,” whereas he has been elsewhere referred to abundantly as a “commercial salmon fisher” — a business Sarah Palin also claims as her own. Which is it? Oil field worker on leave or commercial fisherman?

    It’s just astounding. I wonder if some insightful party boss will hold her hand to the flame and make her reevaluate her commitment to her family and rescind her acceptance? I just don’t understand why the rank and file Republicans don’t seem to be able to see that the empress is wearing no clothes.

  17. Foreverglow September 3, 2008 / 4:05 pm
    Larkin, I don’t have strong feelings either way about Palin and many of the points being made against her could certainly be valid. You are scraping bottom though when you construct such a shoddy argument as you have. Her family having any connection to the Aryan Nation is pure wishful thinking. Those are some huge jumps you made there. Wow. Your efforts might be more effective if you argued using solid fact and logic.
  18. Larkin September 3, 2008 / 9:47 pm
    Foreverglow,

    If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, acts like a duck, then chances are it could be a duck. If she and her parents came from an area known for, um, let’s say, KKK activities, don’t you think it might be prudent for someone to inquire if they are in fact, members of the Klan?

    Been to Sandpoint, have you? I didn’t think so. Know much about the Aryan nation and their history in Northern Idaho? I do. I think it’s a fair question and someone ought to ask it, but of course, no one will, they’re all too agog at how “hot” she is.

    There is so much wrong with Sarah Palin that one hardly has to “scrape the bottom of the barrel,” and your assessment that I have done so is not only wrong, but also lacks much in the way of critical thinking. Have a nice evening.

  19. Foreverglow September 3, 2008 / 10:39 pm
    So absurd no rebuttal is needed.
  20. Jake September 3, 2008 / 11:22 pm
    I give a rebuttal for you, Foreverglow. (I am) [editors prerogative] nothing but an ignorant twit.
  21. David Esrati September 3, 2008 / 11:52 pm

    Jake- no personal attacks- or I make you look stupid.

  22. Larkin September 4, 2008 / 8:12 am
    Resorting to sophomoric insult and name-calling over a difference of opinion says more about the both of you than it ever will about me.
  23. Foreverglow September 4, 2008 / 12:55 pm
    But conspiracy theories improves your standing in my eyes so if you’ve got more I’d love to hear them.

    “There is so much wrong with Sarah Palin that one hardly has to ‘scrape the bottom of the barrel…'”

    Then don’t. Give me the real reasons you disagree with her and people (including me) may find your points valid and ultimately choose to agree. You’re not convincing anyone though with the Aryan Nation reasonings. Arguments of this nature usually discredit the source from being reliable.

  24. Jake September 4, 2008 / 1:05 pm
    Sorry for the personal attacks David. I do look stupid with your additions to my post. Is there a way to take Larkin’s post completely off, or does that blog stand for baseless accusations of public officials?
  25. David Esrati September 4, 2008 / 1:31 pm

    Jake-
    Larkin posted about Palin being the choice long before it was announced. She seems to have some insight that may prove to be true- or not, but, she clearly signs her name and can be held accountable for what she says.
    I’m not saying it’s a legit claim- but, part of running for political office is getting this kind of scrutiny. Until we get fed up with it- we’ll have to live with it.

  26. Jake September 4, 2008 / 1:41 pm
    So, logically, I can say that since I read in Barack’s book that he’s snorted coke before, I can say that he was snorting coke in his car last night off a prostitutes ass? He’s snorted coke before. Who says he didn’t do it last night?
  27. Larkin September 4, 2008 / 7:58 pm
    Oh, for Pete’s sake, Jake, give it a rest. You do go on. I never said she was a white supremacist.

    These are facts:

    Sandpoint is an area where many White Supremacists live. (Hayden Lake, long the actual HQ for the Aryan Nation is a mere 40 miles away. As a recently transplanted Westerner (Montana) I can tell you that 40 miles is NOT far.) As a journalist who has covered some of the activities of the AN, I can also tell you that the whole area is home to many of them. These are neutral statements.

    Sarah Palin was born in Sandpoint, ID to her parents who were Sandpoint residents. (As opposed to just passing through.) Still a neutral fact, is it not?

    The QUESTION I asked was: “Wouldn’t it at least be worthwhile to investigate whether or not Palin or her family had (or has) ties to the Aryan Nation?” I didn’t say she did, or that her family did. I simply suggested that someone should look into this.

    No conspiracy in my question, nor any suggestion of one, and certainly no reason to call me (inaccurate) names or call for my censorship. You might be interested to know that a couple of other people on other blogs (including the NYT) have asked the same question.

    Using your (very offensive) analogy, Jake, this would only be similar to you saying “Wouldn’t it at least be worthwhile to investigate whether or not Obama has problems with drugs as he has used drugs in the past,” not that “He was snorting coke off a prostitute’s ass last night.” Your statement would be and should be considered libel, slander and defamation of character, for which Obama could take everything you own.* Yes, even the 8-track player.

    I have the answer to my own question, or at least a partial answer. The Heaths (that’s Palin’s maiden name) left Sandpoint in 1964. The Aryan Nation did not establish their headquarters there until 1971, though there was some activity in the area prior to that. So it is unlikely that her parents were AN sympathizers.

    Northern Idaho has become closely associated with White Supremacists, and one is particularly aware of it when you live in the region. Given that White Supremacists are white; gun-loving conservative Christians with extreme views, it isn’t much of a stretch to ASK if there was any connection.

    …..

    Foreverglow, as said above, I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, nor did I offer one. Here’s a short list of what I find disturbing about Sarah Palin, in no particular order:

    Her speech was without substance, condescending and hateful. Though Obama and Biden were very gracious in suggesting that the media back off Palin’s family, she was incredibly nasty in regards to both of them.

    She is not a worldly person. She didn’t even have a passport until 2007 (when there was consideration that U.S. Citizens would need a passport in order to return from Canada by car.) She had so little interest in the world that she’s never ever left the country? At 44?

    She lied and continues to lie about the Bridge to Nowhere. This is not my opinion, public records disclose this.

    Her views on abortion are incredibly restrictive, even in the case of incest and rape.Incredibly she is even against birth control, so no matter how “hot” she appears, she is clearly against sex for pleasure rather than procreation.

    Her views on global warming and drilling at ANWR are short-sighted, and anti-science. Do we really want a creationist in the White House?

    She has a long list of books she would like to see banned from public libraries, and threatened to fire the Wasilla librarian for “not giving full support to the Mayor.” The Librarian quit. Here’s a list of the books:
    http://www.librarian.net/stax/2366/sarah-palin-vp-nominee/#comment-119807 It includes works by William Faulkner, Maurice Sendak, Madeline L’Engle, J.K. Rowling, John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, Roald Dahl, Judy Blume and Harper Lee– among many, many others.

    She tried to use her influence as Governor to fire her former brother-in-law, and to terminate his eupervisor when the supervisor refused. Alaska has spent $100,000 on a bi-partisan committee to investigate this matter, but Palin made an ethics complaint against herself, so that it would instead by investigated by the Ethics Review Board, a group that she appointed!

    Her husband, an unemployed Salmon fisherman and unemployed oil field worker belongs to a separatist party called “Alaskan Independence” and attended their convention.

    She opposes the teaching of sex-education in schools, though it has been clearly shown, that the more information teens have, the better they are able to make reasonable choices. The downside of Ms.Palin’s notion is clearly seen in her daughter’s condition. The daughter’s boyfriend has been railroaded for his girlfriend’s mother’s career.

    She has exploited her own children (and the boyfriend of her pregnant daughter) at the Republican National Convention, after telling the press they were “off-limits.”

    She has the colossally poor judgment to bring a five-month-old infant to such an event.

    The world population is ever-burgeoning, but she chooses to have FIVE children. Wouldn’t two have been sufficient? We will be paying for the nannies, btw, if they’re elected.

    She claims to be a big game hunter, but has not made taken a single step in the area of wildlife and conservation. Her reverence for life clearly stops at the human species. I know a woman who is a taxidermist in Alaska and a big fan of the Palins who are among her best customers. This is trophy hunting, not hunting for sustenance. She exposes her very young children to the violence of hunring rather than instilling in them a reverence and awe for life. She personally shot wolves from a helicoptor, a practice long illegal in Alaska.

    She doesn’t seem to know how to behave with gravitas, if last night’s performance was any measure. She behaved more like she was at a high school pep rally.

    She does not have enough education. A bachelor’s degree in journalism (with a short stint in writing sportswriting) does not cut it for modern day presidential material.

    Despite her pit bull with lipstick persona she’s so eager to project, she is puppet material for the Republican Party. Karl Rove anyone?

    She believes that we are on “God’s mission” in Iraq, and is sending her own first born child into that pointless carnage, on September 11, no less. Is nothing sacred from her exploitation?

    The National Enquirer reported that she’d been involved in adultery. I know they are a scurrilous rag, but they scooped the John Edwards – Rielle Hunter story by about a year over everyone else.

    She belongs to a religion that believes in the literal interpretation of the Bible, along with “spirit-filled” incidents, serpent handling and speaking in tongues.

    The whole state of Alaska is not as large as a good-sized city, and she’s not even completed a whole term there. City government in a town of 6000 does not begin to compare to the national stage, let alone the world stage.

    This is a country made of laws, which is why lawyers (much as we hate them) are well-suited to the task of running the country. Obama has taught constitutional law, so one might expect that he’s well-versed in the constitution. Is she?

    I think she would make this country even more of a laughingstock than it already is. We deserve better.

    John McCain is too old, and his health is too precarious. There’s an excellent chance that she would become the de facto President, and she is simply not qualified. The suggestion that her very limited executive experience in small town Alaska makes her qualified to lead this great country is an insult to all of us.

    Finally, I think David gives me too much credit… as I don’t think it was me that posted about Palin being the choice before it was announced, but it might have been. I have Republican friends who had heard the buxx a few days before the announcement in Dayton.
    Hope this clears up a few things.

    ——

    * And actually, everything David Esrati has too, since he provided the venue for you to make the statement to the public with malice aforethought.

  28. J.R. Locke September 5, 2008 / 4:54 am
    Does someone’s past really detract from what they will do in office?

    The problem with this whole discussion is that we are so focused on what someone has done instead of what they will do, which is really all we are voting for right? I think any jackass in America could be President and they would do just as good of a job as any other jackass. Events and actions are so interdependent that this notion of leadership is getting absurd. Remember America with a great majority wanted this war in Iraq.

    By the way none of these candidates have presidential experience because I don’t see President on their resumes.

    Anyway good post Larkin. I disagree on some of the points for sure but the clarity with which you detailed your position was excellent.

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