Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I've been reading a number of people who claim that Sarah Palin is at least as qualified as Barack Obama to be president, that she has executive experience where he has none, and that her personal story somehow is more meaningful (we'll do a kindness for addle-headed people everywhere and ignore the contention that Alaska's proximity to Russia somehow implies a knowledge of foreign policy).

Even if you can make a case that Palin and Obama have roughly equivalent experience in terms of their ability to take on the job of president, there is one very critical difference: Obama chose to run for the office.

Barack Obama decided, presumably after consultation with people close to him, that he could run for this office and win. He was certainly not unaware that there would be those who would claim that his background was insufficient, and that he would be roundly attacked as a result. So he went out and prepared himself for the job, as well as anyone can; he (I assume) studied and talked to learned people and briefed himself on the issues and went through more than 20 debates and faced down some of the most formidable politicians on the scene today - and he won the nomination.

You can argue that voters are not as concerned about issues as they should be, and I would agree, but a manifestly unqualified person, no matter how "celebrified" they become, is unlikely to get a shot at the presidency. There has to be something there, otherwise the candidate will be lampooned as ignorant. And that hasn't happened with Obama.

Palin did not choose to run for president, and recently expressed ignorance of what the vice president does. We have no evidence that she has ever thought seriously about national or world issues, because she had no reason to, getting up to speed on what it means to be a governor.

So, if you want to make the case that Sarah Palin is roughly as qualified as Barack Obama to be president, you need to get over one simple fact: Obama wants to be president and has done what is needed to prepare, Palin has not.

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