Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Danger of Sarah Palin

I'm going to try this again.

The latest issue of The New Yorker features a good article by Connie Bruck, "Odd Man Out," about Chuck Hagel, the Republican Senator from Nebraska.

While Democrats may know Hagel for his opposition to the war in Iraq, and for accompanying Barack Obama on a trip to Baghdad in July, they may not realize that he's still very close friends with John McCain and served as Co-Chair of McCain's presidential campaign in 2000. It must be especially galling, then, for McCain to read what his friend has to say about the woman he chose as his running mate.

Hagel may be the only senior Republican elected official who has publicly criticized McCain’s choice of Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. “I don’t believe she’s qualified to be President of the United States,” Hagel told me. “The first judgment a potential President makes is who their running mate is—and I don’t think John made a very good selection.”

For Hagel, almost as disturbing as Palin’s lack of experience is her willingness—in disparaging remarks about Joe Biden’s long Senate career, for example—to belittle the notion that experience is important. “There’s no question, she knows her market,” Hagel said. “She knows her audience, and she’s going right after them. And I’ll tell you why that’s dangerous. It’s dangerous because you don’t want to define down the standards in any institution, ever, in life. You want to always strive to define standards up. If you start defining standards down—‘Well, I don’t have a big education, I don’t have experience’—yes, there’s a point to be made that not all the smartest people come out of Yale or Harvard. But to intentionally define down in some kind of wild populism, that those things don’t count in a complicated, dangerous world—that’s dangerous in itself.


Liam said...

Palin is about as scary as anyone in the GOP.

cowboyangel said...

Agreed. What I really liked, though, was how Hagel, a conservative Republican, took on the whole "defining stands down" theme that has been central not just to Palin but to many on the right. It gave me a bit of hope, I guess. Not only is it bad for the country, for the soul of the US, but it's downright dangerous.