We have waited long enough, witnessed enough, and been patient enough. Despite the political clamor following her introduction to the world stage, it is time for Americans to admit what other world leaders, and their intelligence agencies, already know and have begun to factor in their national security calculations: Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is unqualified to be President of the United States if Senator John McCain, the Republican candidate for President, is elected and somehow unable to discharge his duties.
Governor Palin had the recent opportunity to be interviewed by CBS evening news anchor Katie Couric, who asked Palin about her foreign policy qualifications. Palin responded that she is governor of Alaska, which borders Canada and Russia, as if geographic proximity somehow bestowed her with foreign policy knowledge and judgment.
Anyone who has been forced to over-achieve merely to obtain a job interview--a category that includes people from every background including many women, persons of color, and persons from other unprivileged backgrounds--should be insulted to the point of outrage. Palin is vying for the second most powerful executive position in the world. Her organizational management background consists of running a family budget, being mayor of a town smaller than most mid-size colleges, and her eighteen month stint as governor of a state with a population smaller than lower Manhattan (as the anti-racist commentator Tim Wise stated so poignantly in a September 13 blog titled "This is Your Nation on White Privilege"). If Barack Obama was running for Vice President with that background, most Americans would rightfully consider his candidacy a bad joke when the nation is at war, facing a world economic crisis, and coming at the end of eight of the worse years of presidential leadership in its history.
But the focus should not center on Palin. After all, she is no more or less than who she is. The real focus should be on Senator McCain, the person who selected her to be his vice presidential running mate. Choosing Palin was McCain's first national security decision. That choice not only demonstrated what McCain considers important in a potential chief executive, but speaks volumes about what he thinks about the intellectual maturity of American voters. McCain is gambling that white independent voters will choose him and Palin over Barack Obama and Senator Joe Biden because Palin is attractive, female, and feisty. In short, McCain is betting that American voters will elect him because of BS: his brashness and Palin's beauty, his "maverick" swagger and her sex identity.
McCain decided to roll the dice with our nation's future by choosing a running mate who is functionally clueless about global affairs, national security, global markets, and domestic policy. Choosing Palin for the office of Vice President, given its place in our constitutional democracy, demonstrates McCain's reckless disregard for national security and makes him unfit for executive leadership under any objective analysis. Leadership, whether of a business, non-profit organization, educational institution, or a nation, demands much more than brash swagger and blissful senselessness about executive duties, no matter how colorful the swaggering and senseless aspirants may be.
Neither McCain nor Palin is qualified to be chief executive of the nation. It is time someone said so, even before Palin shows up to debate Senator Biden in a few days and provides more proof of her incompetence. Eight years ago, the nation made affable incompetence the standard for choosing its chief executive. We have no excuse for repeating that mistake.