Wednesday, July 01, 2009

It Came from Wasilla.

There's a new Vanity Fair article on Sarah Palin. It contains this:

More than once in my travels in Alaska, people brought up, without prompting, the question of Palin’s extravagant self-regard. Several told me, independently of one another, that they had consulted the definition of “narcissistic personality disorder” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—“a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy”—and thought it fit her perfectly. When Trig was born, Palin wrote an e-mail letter to friends and relatives, describing the belated news of her pregnancy and detailing Trig’s condition; she wrote the e-mail not in her own name but in God’s, and signed it “Trig’s Creator, Your Heavenly Father.
I find it terrifying that McCain sought to put such a person a heart beat away from becoming president. He should never, ever, be forgiven for that.

As the article points out, the fact that Palin spelled trouble, would have been obvious to anyone who had done even the most elementary research into her background.
Whatever her political future, the emergence of Sarah Palin raises questions that will not soon go away. What does it say about the nature of modern American politics that a public official who often seems proud of what she does not know is not only accepted but applauded? What does her prominence say about the importance of having (or lacking) a record of achievement in public life? Why did so many skilled veterans of the Republican Party—long regarded as the more adroit team in presidential politics—keep loyally working for her election even after they privately realized she was casual about the truth and totally unfit for the vice-presidency? Perhaps most painful, how could John McCain, one of the cagiest survivors in contemporary politics—with a fine appreciation of life’s injustices and absurdities, a love for the sweep of history, and an overdeveloped sense of his own integrity and honor—ever have picked a person whose utter shortage of qualification for her proposed job all but disqualified him for his?
I know Americans pride themselves on the fact that anyone can become president, but electing Palin as VP would have been to take that premise too far.

I have always thought that the notion that anyone could be president was a statement that your social class would not disbar anyone from that office, I never believed that it was intended to be an argument that ignorance was not a drawback to any ambition one might have for leading the free world.

And that's what most staggered me about Palin's candidacy. It wasn't her belief in the usual right wing talking points, it was all the things she didn't know - and didn't care to know - which left me breathless.
During the presidential campaign, Palin’s deep ignorance about most aspects of foreign and domestic policy provided her with a powerful political reason not to submit to interviews.
And yet John McCain seriously proposed that this woman should be his VP.

Even now, months after they were soundly beaten in the election, I still find myself staggered that McCain ever had the gall to even make the proposal.

But, apparently, Obama had decided early on that McCain had made a fatal error:
At least one savvy politician—Barack Obama—believed Palin would never have time to get up to speed. He told his aides that it had taken him four months to learn how to be a national candidate, and added, “I don’t care how talented she is, this is really a leap.”
It wasn't just "a leap", it was a Hail Mary pass. A long ball tossed down the park with no idea of where it might land or what trouble it might cause. It was an act of political recklessness.

Even today, knowing how badly it worked out for him, I find it impossible to forgive McCain for ever taking such a risk. It really was an unforgivable sin.


Hardball talk to the author of the piece.

Click title for full article.

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