A growing number of columnists are raising the question of whether Sarah Palin could be president if anything happens to John McCain. Given her disastrous series of interviews that is not surprising. What is surprising is how many of the columnists are true-blue conservatives. The distinguished conservative columnist for the New York Times, David Brooks, says Palin’s answers are so painful that he can no longer watch her.
Now Bob Herbert in the Times raises explicitly the question of whether Palin should be replaced. He notes that the McCain campaign has done its level best to shield Palin from most serious journalists. He goes on to say that the idea the voters of the United States might install someone in the vice president’s office who is too unprepared or too intellectually insecure to appear on, say, « Meet the Press » or « Face the Nation » is mind-boggling.
Surely the alarm bells should be clanging. You wouldn’t put an unqualified pilot in the cockpit of a jetliner. The potential for catastrophe is far, far greater with an unqualified president.
Sarah Palin’s lack of qualifications was most evident in her CBS interviews with Katie Couric. Palin trotted out again the preposterous notion that being able to see Russia from Alaska gave her some kind of insight into Russian affairs.
At the very least the infantile repetition of this bit of trivia as some kind of foreign policy bona fide for a vice presidential candidate should give us pause.
Ms Couric went on and asked Ms Palin to explain how Alaska’s proximity to Russia « enhances your foreign policy credentials. »
« Well, it certainly does. » Ms Palin replied, » because our, our next door neighbours are foreign countries, there in the state that I am executive of. And there … »
Gently interrupting, Ms Couric asked, « Have you ever been involved in negotiations, for example, with the Russians? »
« We have trade missions back and forth, ». said Ms Palin. « We do. It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to our state. »
If Palin resorts to this mumbo-jumbo during her debate with Joe Biden Thursday night I predict her candidacy will collapse. I hope the moderator, Gwen Iffil will just let Palin ramble on hanging herself in the process. I also hope that Joe Biden has the grace not to interrupt her.
Can you imagine the situation if Palin were asked a question like this: « In the financial bailout that Congress is now considering would it be better to use public funds or private money? » The verbal carnage from Palin would be something to behold. This has nothing to do with Palin being a woman. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson would have made a fine Republican vice-presidential candidate. It has everything to do with the growing perception that Palin is in over her head.
Palin’s problem is that she uses her memory, not her intellect. Watch her Thursday night frantically trying to consult the cue cards in her head – stuffed their by McCain’s handlers.
It’s true that Palin is now in McCain’s Arizona home being pumped full of information by two of his closest aides. Maybe it would be better to let Palin be Palin.
This much is certain. If Palin gives another Katie Couric performance Thursday night, it would behoove John McCain and the Republican party to put the country first – as Mr. McCain loves to say – and find a replacement for Sarah Palin on the ticket.
Do you agree?