Sunday, October 5, 2008

Now they're worried about experience?

In Newsweek's Oct. 6, 2008 issue, Alter and Zakaria are apoplectic about Palin's lack of qualifications.

These are the men who for months have been assuring us that Obama's lack of experience is irrelevant. What matters is his judgment.* Zakaria went so far as to assert that Obama's having lived abroad for two years (as a pre-teen boy aged 10-12) is worth more than a PH.D in foreign affairs, negotiating experience, and world-wide travel as an adult.

But then, of course, Obama has a Y chromosome and we all know what that means: he was born with a gene for Presidential leadership.

Lithwick, in her column entitled From Clarence Thomas to Palin argues that Palin represents the worst effects of Affirmative Action. What does she think Obama represents? No White man (or Black man or woman) with his resume would be where he is today. (The Economist, another supporter, admits that Obama ". . . has the thinnest résumé of any nominee in living memory" but, like Newsweek, will probably announce on Nov. 1 that it doesn't matter). Obama was named President of the Harvard Law Review after the requirements, which he didn't meet, were changed. He got into the Illinois Legislature by disqualifying all of his opponents. Then, in his last 2 years when Democrats gained the majority, he convinced Emil Jones to give him credit for legislation he had little or nothing to do with. He won his Senate seat after his initial Republican opponent had to drop out and was replaced by a carpetbagger. Then there was that plum Democratic Convention speaking spot. And Oprah's endorsement. [Much of this was documented in The Chicago Tribune's March 25, 2008 series entitled Barack Obama: The Making of a Candidate.] His only accomplishments in life have been the advancement of his own career. Nobody can name anything he has ever done for anybody outside his family or any time that he risked political capital for a principle. Indeed, he has shown repeatedly throughout this campaign that he will swing in whatever direction he has to in order to win.

Andrew Sullivan, in a Dec. 2007 Atlantic puff piece gives these reasons for nominating & electing Obama: :"What does he offer? First and foremost: his face. Think of it as the most effective potential re-branding of the United States since Reagan." "Consider this hypothetical. It's November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America's soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama's face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can."

Michael Kinsley in his July 10, 2008 Time column asserted that "For many Clinton supporters, the chance to elect an African-American President represents the culmination of a cause they have been fighting for all their lives." Oh? As a lifelong liberal, that's news to me. I keep looking for another RFK and, believe me, the Kennedys' support notwithstanding, Obama doesn't even come close.

*Judgment: a one-sentence objection to the Iraq war uttered at a meeting where he wasn't even the main speaker, in a liberal district, that got 0 publicity at the time (in contrast, say, to the abuse Barbara Lee endured for her principled vote against the war authorization bill). His pastor, his decades' long friendship with Rezko, Ayres and throwing his grandmother under the bus 3 times (in his memoir, making her seem even worse in a speech, and finally nailing her with that "she's a typical white woman") don't count.

For the record, I don't happen to think Palin is qualified either and can't help but wonder why McCain didn't choose one of the several much more qualified Republican women. But I don't think Obama is qualified to be President either. And if we are to have one unqualified person on either ticket, it seems preferable for that person to be in the VP slot.

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