Friday, October 31, 2008

Countdown to Election Day: Six Reasons Why Sarah Palin is Not Qualified to be VP (part 4)

Reason Number Three: She Speaks without Understanding 

Conservative Wall Street Journal columnist, Peggy Noonan, wanted Palin to succeed.  She had hoped that she would be a woman of substance, someone who could be an asset to the McCain ticket.  What she discovered after seeing her on a national stage was less substance than symbol, a person who "just says things" without the kind of understanding you would hope for in a candidate for high office. 

Noonan represents an interesting phenomenon: conservative columnists, often women, who have become Palin's harshest critics.  It's a phenomenon driven by a deep sense of disappointment that of all the highly qualified female candidates McCain could have chosen, he chose a woman of such little substance. 

Here's Noonan's devastating critique:


From the Wall Street Journal:

We have seen Mrs. Palin on the national stage for seven weeks now, and there is little sign that she has the tools, the equipment, the knowledge or the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high office. She is a person of great ambition, but the question remains: What is the purpose of the ambition? She wants to rise, but what for? For seven weeks I've listened to her, trying to understand if she is Bushian or Reaganite—a spender, to speak briefly, whose political decisions seem untethered to a political philosophy, and whose foreign policy is shaped by a certain emotionalism, or a conservative whose principles are rooted in philosophy, and whose foreign policy leans more toward what might be called romantic realism, and that is speak truth, know America, be America, move diplomatically, respect public opinion, and move within an awareness and appreciation of reality.

But it's unclear whether she is Bushian or Reaganite. She doesn't think aloud. She just . . . says things.

Her supporters accuse her critics of snobbery: Maybe she's not a big "egghead" but she has brilliant instincts and inner toughness. But what instincts? "I'm Joe Six-Pack"? She does not speak seriously but attempts to excite sensation—"palling around with terrorists." If the Ayers case is a serious issue, treat it seriously. She is not as thoughtful or persuasive as Joe the Plumber, who in an extended cable interview Thursday made a better case for the Republican ticket than the Republican ticket has made. In the past two weeks she has spent her time throwing out tinny lines to crowds she doesn't, really, understand. This is not a leader, this is a follower, and she follows what she imagines is the base, which is in fact a vast and broken-hearted thing whose pain she cannot, actually, imagine. She could reinspire and reinspirit; she chooses merely to excite. She doesn't seem to understand the implications of her own thoughts. . . . 

In the end the Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics. It's no good, not for conservatism and not for the country. And yes, it is a mark against John McCain, against his judgment and idealism.


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