Even her supporters aren't saying that she is experienced enough to be president:
I realize, of course, that she’s totally unqualified to be President at this point in time. If McCain were to die in February 2009, I hope Palin would have the good sense to appoint someone who is more ready to be President to be her Vice President, on the understanding that she would then resign and be appointed Vice President by her successor. (Lest anyone say that this is an absurd, unconstitutional or undemocratic scenario, recognize that this is pretty much what would happen in a Parliamentary system where, if the head of government dies, a successor is chosen by the party.) Palin is absolutely not ready to be President now, but that is a problem that is very easily dealt with if she is and the governing party want to do so.But, as Ezra Klein and James Fallows have pointed out, that's not the only danger for Sarah Palin. The truth is she's simply going to screw up. Barack Obama has shown he is ready to be president by the simple fact that he has never once screwed up. He's mangled the odd line but overall he's done nothing, in eighteen months of scrutiny, which would make you think he doesn't understand the brief. No matter what the subject, he has been ready with an articulate answer. The only time he was perceived as perhaps weak, when Russia and Georgia kicked off, has been taken care of by the nomination of Biden for the VP slot.
As Fallows says, a slip of the tongue can set off international tensions:
If someone is campaigning for the presidency or vice presidency, there's an extra twist. That person has to have a line of argument to offer on any conceivable issue. Quick, without pausing in the next ninety seconds, tell me what you think about: the balance of relations between Taiwan and mainland China, and exactly what signals we're sending to Hamas, and what we think about Russia's role in the G-8 and potentially in NATO, and where North Korea stands on its nuclear pledges -- plus Iran while we're at it, plus the EU after the Irish vote, plus cap-and-trade as applied to India and China, and what's the right future for South Ossetia; and let's not even start on domestic issues.And as Ezra points out, what's going to happen will be embarrassing:
The point about every one of those issues is that there is a certain phrase or formulation that might seem perfectly innocent to a normal person but that can cause a big uproar. Without going into the details, there is all the difference in the world between saying "Taiwan and mainland China" versus "Taiwan and China." The first is policy as normal; the second -- from an important US official -- would light up the hotline between DC and Beijing.
She's going to get questioned on issues she doesn't fully know or understand, and grilled in ways she's completely unused to, and she's not going to commit a gaffe. A gaffe is when you misspeak. She simply won't know the answer. And that will be much more damaging.Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Palin personally; in fact, if I'm honest I feel quite sorry for her. McCain's misjudgement has placed her in way above her head.
But, as Ezra also points out, McCain is undermining his entire campaign here:
Meanwhile, McCain is on record, on tape, saying that his main criteria for vice president will be finding the person "most qualified" to assume the presidency. This question strikes right at the heart of his claim to "superior judgment" and a grave, dignified approach to national affairs. This was not the pick of a man who takes seriously the need for experience, knowledgeable leadership in a moment of global turmoil. This is a pick that suggests the stakes aren't that high, and that most any talented politician can do the job. It's the basic problem with Palin: She destroys his message.McCain's entire campaign has been asking if Obama is "ready to lead?" And now he admits that his own VP isn't ready?
"[Sarah Palin is] going to learn national security at the foot of the master for the next four years, and most doctors think that he'll be around at least that long," said Charlie Black, one of Mr. McCain's top advisers, making light of concerns about Mr. McCain's health, which Mr. McCain's doctors reported as excellent in May.And yes, I did laugh at the notion of McCain as "the master". On what bloody planet is that true?
But the good thing is that "the master" is starting with a totally blank canvass. Ontheissues.com lists candidates positions on various matters. Palin has lots to say about oil and drilling, not to mention her war against polar bears, but she has no position on corporations, families and children, Foreign policy, Free Trade, immigration or technology.
I think the world will have to wait quite a time while "the master" puts her through her paces.