Friday, August 29, 2008

Let the Whining Begin

Every Republican I have spoken with today has been ecstatic about the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate. And I am hearing the Democrats cry like babies about it, stressing her "inexperience". The biggest whine of all comes from Peter Scobilic at the New Republic entitled "An Astonishingly Arrogant VP Selection"

It may be John McCain's birthday, but it seems like he's the one giving out gifts today. The selection of Palin doesn't simply, as others have pointed out, undermine the notion that Obama is too inexperienced to be president; it gives Obama the chance to actually take the edge on national security while making John McCain's age a central issue of the campaign.

Could Sarah Palin conceivably manage this task? Her tenure as a small-town mayor and Alaska governor has given her no foreign policy experience whatsoever. True, Obama has little foreign policy experience either, as McCain and others have pointed out again and again. But during his time in national office he has demonstrated a clear commitment to the most pressing issues in American foreign policy. Take nuclear proliferation. Early in his tenure on the Foreign Relations Committee, Obama joined Richard Lugar's efforts to secure weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union. Obama's first trip abroad as senator was to Russia and Ukraine to learn more about those efforts firsthand. In 2007, he cosponsored legislation with Senator Chuck Hagel calling for ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty. And he was the first major presidential candidate to embrace the steps laid out in 2007 by Sam Nunn, Bill Perry, George Shultz, and Henry Kissinger through which the United States would fight nuclear terrorism, reinvigorate the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and ultimately eliminate nuclear weapons.

I see no accomplishments by O'Bama in this list. Scobilic's reference to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is particularly amusing. Does he believe that a country like North Korea or Iran, who are desperate to acquire nuclear weapons, could give a rat's ass about that treaty?

Most of what I have heard from O'Bama concerning foreign policy has shown little insight nor knowledge of foreign affairs. He merely repeats left-wing mantras like "Bush went against the wishes of our allies by invading Iraq", ignoring the fact that the governments of the UK, Holland, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Poland, Rumania, Albania, Australia, and Japan supported the invasion. He keeps claiming we made a mistake by invading, and says he will withdraw our troops, ignoring the fact that the war is largely over.

No doubt Michelle is right that the Obama-Biden team will have to be careful attacking Palin's frighteningly thin resume and tenuous grasp of foreign policy. But surely a campaign that has been charged with being too naïve to manage rogue state dictators can have a bit of fun with the idea that a one-time Miss Congeniality could effectively face down Vladimir Putin, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or Kim Jong Il. Surely, Obama's "eight is enough" quip ought to apply not only to President Bush's economic and foreign policy travesties, but to the elevation of mediocrity that has characterized his appointment of Michael Brown to FEMA and his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. And surely we can agree that if the McCain campaign was desperate to transparently court voters put off by Hillary Clinton's loss, there is no dearth of women with far greater intellectual, executive, and political abilities--abilities that would allow them to assume the presidency in a heartbeat.

Now this is getting really funny. Scobilic has no clue of what Palin has accomplished in Alaska. She took on a corrupt political clique in her own party and came out on top. That says a lot more about her ability to deal with enemies than O'Bama's pledge to meet with dictators like Ahmadinijad or Chavez without preconditions.

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