Sunday, August 31, 2008

Governors, Senators, Qualifications & Reforms

Sarah Palin with husband Todd.

Judging from the reaction by the left, they think Palin's a very credible threat. They seem to be sharpening every knife in their drawer to use against her.

The main blade they are wielding presently is that she's not qualified enough. It's an odd complaint, coming from people who insist that Obama is qualified to run for President after his short time as US senator (225 days in session). Palin running as just a vice-president after almost two years as governor is deficient in comparison? I rather liked the comment from McCain aide Jill Hazelbaker:
It is pretty audacious for the Obama campaign to say that Governor Palin is not qualified to be Vice President. She has a record of accomplishment that Senator Obama simply cannot match. Governor Palin has spent her time in office shaking up government in Alaska and actually achieving results — whether it’s taking on corruption, passing ethics reform or stopping wasteful spending and the ‘bridge to nowhere.’ Senator Obama has spent his time in office running for president.

Palin's list of real accomplishments has shaken the Democrats up. Obama recently, in an interview with 60 Minutes, described Sarah Palin as an "up-and-coming public servant". Excuse me, could he possibly be more patronizing? She's not some inexperienced file clerk working in the local town hall basement. As governor of a state, Palin has both legislative and executive experience, and is in charge of the state's National Guard as well, in a state only 300 miles from the Russian border. Cheap slights by Obama and his campaign won't diminish her position, experience or achievements.

At best Obama can argue that HE isn't under-qualified, based on length of experience, if Palin isn't. But she's running for Veep, not President. But circumstances could thrust her into the presidency. It's debatable how likely that would be, but it IS possible. Are Palin and Obama somewhat equal, in terms of how long they have served in their current positions? And what experience is needed to become POTUS?

No one has to be a US Senator or a Governor to become President, but our Presidents generally have been one or the other. One can argue about the length of experience of either Obama or Palin, but in fact they both do have experience. Give them both credit for that. Governing a state is a lot different than working in the Senate, but both can offer valuable political experience.

One could argue endlessly over who has the most or best experience for the positions they are applying for. But rather, why not look at the candidates with whatever experience they do have, and try to understand how they might be expected to wield their executive power, based on their observable experiences, associations and past performance thus far?

I worked in San Francisco for 24 years, and got to observe some pretty powerful people up close, both in business and politics. I learned some things about powerful people who wield executive power.

No individual can know everything, or constantly be in control of everything. Effective executives know this, and act accordingly. They surround themselves with smart, capable people, and delegate power and authority. Their success often depends on picking a quality team to support them.

Palin would presumably have time to learn more on the job as Veep, barring the death of the President. If the presidency were to suddenly be thrust upon her, I expect Palin could rise to the occasion, with the help of a good team already in place.

Both Obama and Palin, in a Presidential position, would be surrounded by helpers and advisers. So the question is, what kind of judgment are they likely to exercise in their executive capacity, and who will be advising them?

Obama is known to have associated for many years with people like Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright. If that's been his taste in associates, one might conclude at best that he is not very discerning in his associations; at worst, it reflects his preferences, and he may likely make similar choices in the future.

Palin, as Veep, would have many people working with her via John McCain initially. As a President she would be able to make all her own choices, and would likely chose people with similar views to her own. I don't think she has any terrorists or hatemongers in her past associations, so I think she would likely choose more ordinary Americans like herself.

I don't know exactly what an Obama administration would look like in practice. If he wins, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, and hope for the best. Perhaps he really would be a flip-flopper, and not be as radical and leftist as many people believe. I'd rather not take the chance, but if he gets in, I won't have any choice but to pray for him, that he makes wise decisions and gets good advice. Biden, for all his buffoonery, does lend some weight to the ticket, experience-wise. But I don't necessarily respect what he's done with that experience.

I'm a Republican, and the Democrat's present world view is just too far left from mine; I'm much more enthusiastic about my own party. The addition of Palin to the ticket has really got the base fired up in a way I haven't seen in a long time. I don't expect this ticket to be everything I could want it to be, but I do expect it to be much closer to the kind of America I want, than anything the Democrats are offering.

I think a large part of the enthusiasm for Palin on the ticket has to do with her history of reform in Alaska. Many Republicans want reform in their own party; the general public is fed up with congress and wants reform in Washington. John McCain's reputation as a maverick who crosses party lines, combined with Sarah Palin's anti-corruption record, reform mindedness and willingness to reach across the aisle, makes the GOP ticket very appealing to a wide spectrum of folks in this election year. And I'm really, really glad for it.

Related Links:

Palin is a C in C already #2

Alaskan pols react to the Palin pick

Palin like "Mr Smith Goes to Washington?"

"Palin is the most manifestly ordinary person"

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