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Sarah Palin: Case Study For Conventional Crap
At a work show, I once stood behind a man at the booth of a very large and well-known corporation that was advertising a position. Looking at the duties, the man was saying that he had done exactly those things in his work in a U.S. military service. The response was that unfortunately the position required a college degree. So here, a demonstrable grown-up who had done these things in a responsible position, could be put aside for a green college grad with a piece of paper. I have a relative who was hired for a position precisely because he had the sort of cognitive experience in his field that many electronic gadget-wielding younger applicants might not. The difference I would speculate is that my relative was dealing with the person or people he would be working with. This veteran on the other hand was dealing with a representative for a large organization and a published qualification. Thusly, the quality of the actual work may be diminished.
I believe there is similar official fuss about qualifications for public office, most especially and conspicuously the US Presidency. And the situation is worsened by the fact that the public has absorbed all of the mass-culture promulgated qualifications. For a long time now, there’s been a club of dismissal of Sarah Palin’s qualifications and even intelligence, on both the Democratic and Republican sides. As has been typical in social trends, the Republican anxiety and calibration has followed a storm of left-wing clamor. I’ve watched many political professionals question her qualifications. I have to wonder what they are afraid will happen.
And in the last few days, there was a flurry of exchange among Republicans after former Vice President Dick Cheney opined that as a ½-term Governor in 2008, Palin hadn’t passed the test of qualification for the short list of Vice-Presidential candidates, primarily that of being prepared to step in as President. Of course others chimed in, including Cheney’s daughter Lynn, who said Palin was better qualified than both Obama and Biden. Here is Mark Levin’s response to the situation. Dick Cheney was not unkind as many or most have been. But the nation needs to understand and get beyond any captivity to a mass-culture delivered consensus, not just relative to Palin’s abilities or just in politics but respecting many sentiments. But with her high profile and the intense scrutiny lent to the presidency, Palin is a good and clear test-case.
First, we need to bear in mind that in the consideration of which Cheney spoke, which in fact was his job with the Bush campaign until he became the conclusion, there is a practical consideration and a political one. We can’t be certain of which Cheney spoke or if he bothered to distinguish them. But after all, it doesn’t matter if you can execute the responsibilities if the public isn’t going to buy it. Perhaps given the necessary experience that the public has become habituated to, there is an effective experience qualification to qualify as being prepared for the job of President Of The United States, regardless of one’s abilities. Surely Cheney is on board with Mitt Romney and his one term as Massachusetts Governor. But of course, Romney is an experienced CEO. However, this week I heard a Palin-type scoffing comment about Herman Cain’s candidacy from Jeff Greenfield. And Cain made a career as an executive, including as CEO of some national companies. So, maybe you need some experience as a governor or national Congressman as well? The Constitution says you must be 35 and a natural-born citizen. But Sarah Palin’s just ½ a term as a Governor? Bzzzzzt! Ohh, nooo, thank you for playing…dummy. I disagree.
Let me say a few things before anyone’s engineered reflexes go off. I have some familiarity with scholarly publications, and I wouldn’t say it’s plain to me that Sarah Palin stands ready at any moment to deliver an oral or written discourse on every element of any particular issue of American government. I don’t think she would Ace a test about the location and chief governor of every nation on earth. I don’t think she’s as familiar with the finer details of American history, like Newt Gingrich is (no candidate I know of is, BTW). I know she has an energized speech delivery rather than a discreet and genteel one. And she does it in a tone closer to a cheerleader’s squeal than a statesman’s lecture. Oh, and one other thing. I COULD CARE LESS! She can learn the specifics. Clear-headedness and character are what is critical. Most Governors aren’t nationally or internationally proficient going in. But as experienced executives, they are best practiced for the Presidency.
My point is that in practical terms, I think the presumed qualifications are mostly nonsense. People get furrowed-browed in considering who is “qualified.” But you can meet the standards concluded upon and be a lousy potential President. And there are thousands of people in the country who have never been in government but know human nature better than a lot of elected Presidents of the United States have. In fact, being President is closer to baby-sitting than to rocket science. The fact is, this fretting about experience is particularly amusing when you look at just who is in The White House today! Sarah Palin has demonstrated her clarity and resolve in her life and pretty dramatically in government. I think she’s more qualified than most Presidents who have served. In my lifetime, I’d only take Reagan first, and I’ve explained why in the past..
Only Reagan on critical occasions of his presidency, showed the sort of clarity and resolve that Palin showed in governing and political confrontations, and in facing down global mega-corporations that thought they might bully her. You can have your experience on file, but this is the clear-headed and resolute person I want facing opposition as President. Listen, some of those named as possible Vice-Presidential candidates seem to me to have an adequate personal constitution. But some with supposedly the right credentials don’t necessarily evince particularly strong clarity and resolve. The truth is that the nation has a whole lot of people who have in various positions and occupations confronted and dealt with manipulating human beings and critical situations. And relative to that sort of ability which I consider most important in a President, our presumed qualifications are no necessary indication of anything.
The nation is in trouble, and we are long-past the time when we should agonize about some pop-culture-induced paper credentials for national leaders. What we need are national leaders of character and discernment. As in the case of so many of our social confusions today, we could deal with this matter a lot more soberly and wisely if we did not swallow the easy answers handed out by popular media and academia.