Friday, November 20, 2009

Sarah Palin for President? Really!

Yesterday my son and I were listening to a discussion on CNN regarding Sarah Palin and her new book, Rogue: An American Life. The discussion led to the question, will she make a run for the Presidency in 2012?

I made the remark that I would not vote for her. I said she is not qualified. My son, without hesitation responded, she’s more qualified than Obama!

Although, perhaps, I should have responded, I did not, because my son was stating criteria, such as the length of her term as governor of Alaska, and I really didn’t know if what he was saying was factual or not. Nor did I have any qualifications that I could state factually and defend.

Therefore, for my son and whoever might believe that Sarah Palin is qualified to be President of the United States, I herein state why I believe she is not, and certainly not more than Barack Obama.


From PBS’s Frontline presentation, The Qualities That Bear On Presidential Performance by Fred Greenstein, here are some of the qualities that were deemed essential, and of which I agree:

Effectiveness as a Public Communicator
I personally would say that as far as effective oratory and public communication Barack Obama has my nomination. In every interview, he is well positioned on the issues. I cannot see where there would be any disagreement here, it’s an inarguable assertion.

Sarah Palin has a difficult time with communication effectiveness, as for example in her campaign interviews with the media. She has the charisma, but not sufficient knowledge of the issues to answer the hard questions on economics or foreign policy, and in other areas, as well. This should be an inarguable assertion, as well.

Organizational Capacity and Political Skill
Barack Obama went from being a virtual unknown in 2004 to becoming the 44th President of the United States in 2009. He conducted an extremely well organized and effective campaign, of which he worked hard to achieve.

Sarah Palin is more of a celebrity than she is a politician. She acquired her celebrity position because John McCain’s campaign handlers made her a celebrity. She also achieved her celebrity as a result of the tabloid nature in which her image was exploited, to which many Americans seem to have an obsession. She didn’t arrive at her celebrity as a result of her capacity for hard work or organization, or because of her political skill. And, one must answer the question for themselves, why did the John McCain and his campaign managers choose her. Most reasonably minded people know the answer to that question.

President Obama has a progressive vision for America, one that evolves with prevailing conditions -- a vision that takes into account modernity and globalization and does not support the status quo. He has substantiated that position many times.

Sarah Palin’s mindset is in the same camp as Cheney and Bush in terms of Iraq and Afghanistan, foreign policy, and economics. She is a strict status quo conservative who has no progressive vision for America. She would make a better commentator on Fox News than President of the United States.

Cognitive Style
Barack Obama is a critical thinker and a builder of strategies to accomplish goals. He has a style of listening rather than dictating or talking. He is a consensus builder at heart, ever though he has 535 congressional members who for the most part are not. President Obama has an impressive handle on the issues and can clearly communicate them. He strongly believes, as evidenced by his actions, that it is important for a leader to surround themselves with reliable people from which to draw a variety of views prior to making decisions.

Sarah Palin has not demonstrated an acceptable cognitive style, at least to my satisfaction, so far. Sarah Palin certainly does not seem to be a critical thinker. She has a combative and confrontational demeanor in the style, more or less, of Hannity, Beck, and Limbaugh, when presenting and defending her positions on the issues.

Emotional Intelligence
President Obama has outstanding control over his emotions. He is cool as a cucumber under the most difficult situations and controversy; he exemplifies reticence and dispassion.

From the examples Sarah Palin has shown, she does not seem to have the emotional intelligence necessary to be President of the United States. It is clear that she does not have the ability to control her emotions. When she said, you can describe the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull in a single word: "lipstick," she was self-describing herself as a pit bull, which in slang means: one who behaves in a markedly aggressive or ruthless manner.

Character and Credibility
Barack Obama has gravitas, and he makes outstanding judgments concerning the issues that face America.

Sarah Palin has not demonstrated gravitas or credibility.

These are some of her fallacious remarks:

Ronald Reagan faced an even worse recession than the current one;

Says she couldn't take stimulus money because it required universal building codes;

Obama would experiment with socialism;

Seniors and the disabled will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care;

A provision in the health care reform bill for end-of-life counseling for seniors is not voluntary.

Ms. Palin certainly does not show thoughtful, well-reasoned responses to Interrogation, nor does she give dignified responses, such as her response to the healthcare reform issue.

Sarah Palin thought the interview during the campaign with Katie Couric would be a hockey mom to hockey mom sort of thing. She could not name any regular news or magazine publications that she regularly read. And, citing Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of her foreign-policy experience clearly showed, if nothing else, how unprepared she was for the interview.

And, the question posed by Katie Couric here certainly should reveal to anyone that Sarah Palin is not Presidential material:

COURIC: Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700bn helping middle-class families, who are struggling with healthcare, housing, gas and groceries, allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?
PALIN: That's why I say, I, like every American I'm speaking with, we're ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the tax payers looking to bail out, but ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping tho— it's got to be all about job creation too, shoring up our economy, and putting it back on the right track, so healthcare reform and reducing taxes and reigning in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as— competitive— scary thing, but one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.

What did she say that was coherent? It was garbled, inscrutable, and she was simply copycatting the conservative or republican position without any nuance. Unlike President Obama who is skilled in presenting things in a nuanced way as well as with depth of meaning.

This is the most important criterion for a President of the United States. All of the qualities presented here are encompassed under the header of leadership. But, leadership in its essence is the ability to lead people in the pursuit of a common goal or in developing a common purpose, a vision, recognition for a job well done, instilling pride in participatory ownership of the goal or vision, and eliciting sacrifice for the greater good. A good leader must represent authenticity and believability, as well as to provide guidance and direction. Leadership lies in the capacity to act personally, as well as representing their organization or country, in this case the United States of America, by setting the best example through best practices for themselves and their country.

President Obama is such a leader. I really doubt that Sarah Palin could measure up to that.

Someone once said, and I believe it to be true, there is no previous experience that can adequately prepare anyone for the Presidency of the United States, other than the preponderance of their own life’s experience.

Education, Work Experience, and Accomplishments

Barack Obama

Graduated from Columbia University in New York

Received his law degree, graduating magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School

He became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review

Worked as a civil rights lawyer and as a community organizer in New York and Chicago

Lectured in constitutional law at the University of Chicago

He was elected to the Illinois state senate in 1997, where he served as chairman of the Public
Health and Welfare Committee

Third African-American to deliver a keynote address at a Democratic National Convention
when he took the stage at the 2004 convention in Boston, MA.

In 2004 he was elected to the U.S. Senate and quickly became a major national political figure

He was inaugurated as the 44th — and the United States' first African American — President
on January 20, 2009

Sarah Palin

First female governor of Alaska

Earned a journalism degree from the University of Idaho in 1987

A few stints as a TV sportscaster in Anchorage

Wasilla city council in 1992

Wasilla city's mayor from 1996-2002

In 2002, she made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor

On December 4, 2006, became Alaska's first woman governor, but resigned in the middle of
her first term

From 2003 to 2004 chaired the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. However,
concerned by ethical conflicts involving a commission member who was also republican state
party chairman, she resigned after serving less than a year

Became John McCain's running mate in the U.S. presidential elections of 2008


It seems to me that any logical thinking person would easily see that Barack Obama is significantly more qualified to be President of the United States than Sarah Palin.

Along with Limbaugh, and Fox News’s Hannity and Beck, she certainly is and will continue to be a rebel rouser for, and will represent the values of, the Republican Party. However, at this time she should never be considered for the office of President of the United States of America.

And, for that matter, I don’t see where she, Fox News, or Limbaugh do anything positive to advance the authentic positions of the Republican Party.

(Cartoons are the courtesy of US News and World Report)