It looks like Ross Douthat is coming back down to Earth after the reality of the Palin pick is setting in. For my part, I don't necessarily agree with pundits who say that Sarah Palin is the same as George W. Bush. Unqualified, certainly, and her pedigree is lacking. Running, say, California would be a decent way to prepare for the presidency. There is much diversity in the state, both economically and demographically. We've got farms and factories, tourism and tech. If, say, a Republican governor of California who was successful were running for president that person would probably do a decent job, because America is also pretty diverse demographically and economically. If there were a GOP governor of California who had, oh, a few years of foreign policy experience too, that would be unbeatable.
Unfortunately, being governor of Alaska does not impress me. One of the most difficult things about running a state (at least in running 48 of them) is that you have to balance budgets every year. And since raising taxes usually isn't an option, the process is a challenge (just ask Arnold!). Palin never had to deal with such a situation since her state is a recipient of massive federal welfare on one hand, while it benefits from huge quantities of oil on the other. Palin never had to make tough budget decisions, for one. And since she's dealt with a petro-economy, she likely doesn't understand how to nurture industries like ag and tech. Certainly she has no experience with it. And we know she's clueless about foreign policy. It's not just experience--it's the type of experience. To be fair, Obama and McCain don't have any executive experience, but at least they live outside of the magical fantasy land known as Alaska, where money literally bubbles up out of the ground. If Palin becomes president, she won't be able to count on Ted Stevens earmarking big infrastructure projects her way to shore up the nation.
And, honestly, I could give a shit about "reform", whatever that means, at this point. I want Obama to win, but otherwise I want a competent government that legislates from the center. The GOP has not given me any confidence that such an eventuality would occur if they keep running things. Plus, I simply find it hard to believe that Republicans are the best qualified to clean up the messes caused by Republicans. Reforming one's own party--especially with the tenuous relationships McCain has forged with members of his party--is extremely difficult, especially when in power.
The Man, The Myth, The Bio
- East Bay, California, United States
- Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.