Sunday, August 31, 2008

What’s the deal with Sarah Palin?

By Erich Vieth

There is a feeding frenzy regarding Sarah Palin out there. It’s intense and disorienting. It’s also disquieting.

Palin seems like a pleasant woman who would make a nice neighbor. But since when are people qualified to be Vice-President just because they are “nice”?

Tonight I started seeing many comments that extol Palin for having a baby (”Trig”) even though she allegedly had amniocentesis, which indicated that Trig had Down’s Syndrome. It struck me as odd that someone would have amnio when she was planning to have the baby no matter what. In fact, this puzzling point is but one of many strange stories adding up to an intriguing claim that Trig was not actually the child of Sarah Palin, but her grandchild, and that Sarah pretended (but not very well) to be pregnant to cover up for her Daughter Bristol, who was absent from high school for more than five months allegedly because she had mononucleosis. This story is burning up the Internet at Daily Kos. If you venture over there, you’ll need to weigh the evidence presented, and you’ll have the option to add your comment to the 1,500 comments already added–a phenomenal amount of comments, given that the post went up only today.

As disputed as the story about Palin’s pregnancy is, there much more to concern cautious voters. Palin is demonstrably anti-science (disputing the human cause of global warming) and her church has tangible connections to dangerous right wing extremists. As P.Z. Myers writes, “The anti-intellectualism is overt. They’re actually proud of their contempt for learning.”

Here’s another concern. Palin has the appearance of a small town mayor, not someone sophisticated. She doesn’t show depth of thought or detailed knowledge of the world around her. Her comfort zone is simple and local. I would very much like to see Palin given as much time as she can fill, to tell us everything she knows about the culture, geography and politics of any country other than the United States. I suspect that she would be out of things to say in 30 minutes. Links are springing up by the dozens on Palin’s strange statements and behavior (Andrew Sullivan has a quickly growing collection). Palin’s story appears to be a facade that is being intensely worked over. She was actually FOR building the Bridge to No where, though she now claims to have opposed the project.

There is much more to be concerned about Palin. I suspect that it’s going to get intensely bad for her within a week. Her story just doesn’t add up.

What most concerns me most, however, is John McCain’s poor judgment. Aren’t there any job qualifications for the office of Vice President? All responsible businesses require special knowledge and experience for demanding jobs. Why wouldn’t McCain demand someone with the requisite knowledge and experience? Palin is a laughable choice for Vice President. Should we start allowing life guards to work as architects? Should we allow window washers to teach medical school? Add this to the list of questions the Press should ask McCain.

I suspect that McCain’s choice of Palin is possible in McCain’s mind because John McCain subscribes to the Grover Norquist school of “starve the beast” when it comes to government. He thinks we’re all better off without government. We’re better off on our own, and the country will somehow run itself. That’s the way it is with many free market fanatics. Therefore, it doesn’t matter who serves as President or Vice President.

Our country can’t run itself, of course. What McCain is revealing by choosing a running mate without meaningful qualifications is that he is actually a nihilist. Or maybe he’s trying to cleverly hand the election to Obama. Or maybe he is pandering to the religious right. Or maybe he is intellectually incoherent.

Reprinted from Dangerous Intersections

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