Thursday, December 25, 2008

Palin-Kennedy Revisited

Andrew Sullivan, no Republican Party stooge, compares Caroline Kennedy, the presumptive senator from New York, and Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, finding one of them wanting:

“I was struck by this story in the NYT this morning:

“As the day wore on, the carefully maintained silence surrounding her campaign-that-isn’t cracked, then shattered under the weight of the intense public interest her bid has drawn. She declined any questions in Syracuse, grudgingly answered a few in Rochester, and then gave what almost felt like — but was not — a full-fledged news conference in Buffalo, joined by the mayor there, Byron W. Brown.

"Remind you of anyone?

"In fact, Sarah Palin was more qualified to be vice-president than Caroline Kennedy is to be a Senator. Both are celebrities, but Palin made her own way herself, winning election as mayor and governor without the kind of raw nepotism now on display in New York State. The model now, of course, is similar - finding a way to get elected without actually exposing your inadequacies. Hence the press shutdown. But Kennedy's self-defense is even more painful than Palin's:

“’I just hope everybody understands that it is not a campaign but that I have a lifelong devotion to public service,’ Ms. Kennedy said as she left the office of the Monroe County Democratic Committee in Rochester. ‘I’ve written books on the Constitution and the importance of individual participation. And I’ve raised my family.’

“Good for you. But so have millions of others. And why do you get to parachute in to the Senate? Who do you think you are, a Clinton?”

Meanwhile, progressives are either swallowing their tongues or befuddled. A search on Colin McEnroe’s site, “To Wit," reveals only one snarky comment on sweet Caroline. McEnroe has written voluminously on the question of Palin’s fitness to serve as Vice President, a largely ceremonial position the importance of which is perfectly captured in John “Cactus Jack” Garner’s description of the office as not being worth “a warm pitcher of piss.” Garner was FDR’s Vice President.

There are some who argue that the vice presidency under Dick Cheney was very influential, but it is the president who decides these matters. Constitutionally, the vice presidency requires far less executive experience than does a position of senator, particularly from New York. Palin beat both Obama and certainly Caroline Kennedy in this regard.

McEnroe, in fact, is one of Sullivan's most fervent fans: “So I just wrote an embarrassingly breathless fan letter to Andrew Sullivan, who appeared with Bill Moyers at the Connecticut Forum last night.

“Sullivan has one of those minds... It's like a light saber in a Jedi's hands, to continue the Lucas analogies. It's just fun watching him take apart a problem, any problem, whether you agree with his solution or not. Global warming, Islamic fundamentalism, Christian conservatives, science, faith, AIDS, sexuality. He was leaping all over the Bushnell stage without ever leaving his seat.”

But this time, maybe no so much.


Anonymous said...

Not to defend Caroline, but being a NY Senator is a lot different than being a "heartbeat away" from a 72 YO President.

If Caroline gets anointed, I mean appointed, she will have to get re-elected, or retire.

Palin is a wonderfully qualified Governor of Alaska. She was dangerously under qualified to be Vice President.

Don Pesci said...

I think I said elsewhere that some anti-Palinites expected – or sounded as if they expected – McCain to die about two seconds after he had been sworn into office. It doesn’t really happen that way. I haven’t compared a) presidents who died in office of advanced age with b) relatively younger presidents who were assassinated. But I’m assuming b is greater than a, all of which means that we should not elect presidents based on actuarial tables, unless they’re decrepit going in. To me, the experience rap was something of a red herring because Obama had far less executive experience than Palin. And he is president. People will seize any bat during an election to bludgeon the candidate they don’t like. Now there are reasons not to like Palin; and there are reasons not to like Obama. Few of them have anything to do with age or experience.