Thursday, March 15, 2012

Country Last



My jaw dropped when I watched this interview. It's a good thing I wasn't sipping hot coffee as I usually do while watching Morning Joe.

"Manifestly unprepared". Those words still ring in my head. I just can't believe it. Steve Schmidt -who was part of the team that selected Sarah Palin to be on the GOP ticket - confessing that he knew she was unprepared to be president...shocking. Especially when considering that John McCain ran under the banner of "Country First".

I remember the 2008 campaign very well. McCain's age made his vice presidential pick more critical than usual. I remember the media asking him several times what criteria he would use in selecting a running mate. Someone who would be ready on day one... I am paraphrasing but that was the standard set by McCain. And I believed him. Remember "Country First".

When McCain's pick was announced my reaction was "Sarah who?" I am sure I was not alone. But I was excited that a woman had been chosen. And Palin did a great job delivering her acceptance speech. I became a little concerned when she was not appearing on Sunday morning talk shows. And I confess there were a couple of white knuckle moments during the Charlie Gibson interview. But nothing disqualifying.

The crash came during the Katie Couric interview. Please do not even bother with the "Couric-was-a-meanie" excuse. What you regularly read is a gotcha question only if someone doesn't read anything on a regular basis. Also, a candidate aspiring to be vice president of the United States should be able to name a Supreme Court decision other than Roe v. Wade.

After watching the Couric disaster, I wondered about the vetting ability of the McCain staff. How was it possible that they could not vet someone so ill prepared to field questions that any political junkie could knock out of the park? It was baffling at the time. Now I know it wasn't the vetting process. It was cynicism. They knew very well that Palin was not ready on day one, day two or day 100 to be  president. And they did not care.

Couric interview notwithstanding, I supported the McCain/Palin ticket in every way. Sign on the yard. Phone banking. Argued with my friends and family. Blamed the media. Yes, I was concerned about Palin's lack of experience. But she was not the top of ticket. And Obama did not exactly bring a wealth of experience to the table. And he was the top of ticket.

Besides, it was Obama's rhetoric about the war on terror that concerned me. I was afraid that all that was accomplished by the Bush administration was going to be thrown away in some foolish quest to turn the Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.

Obama has proven me wrong on that score. Despite all the talk about appeasement, weakness, the reality is that Obama has largely adopted the Bush approach on global war on terror. Actually, he has been more aggressive in his use of drones. And Osama bin Laden is dead.

Palin also proved me wrong. I thought with time she would get up to speed on policy. Be ready to lead the country should the need arise. Instead, she has shown to be quite happy regurgitating platitudes. It only took a dozen frivolous ethics complaints to chase her out of the Governorship of Alaska. Yet this is the person that Schmidt help select to possibly having to deal with the likes of Putin and Ahmadinejad. Irresponsible. Criminal really.