Still on hiatus
Jane wondered if the Open Letter was the appropriate posting after a three month hiatus. I wonder if she would have preferred that we simply post the explanation.
Say hello to our son, Sidney McLaren Star. Born free on July 19, 2008 and going to Stay Free!
An Open Letter to Barack Obama
Dear Senator Obama,
Please shut up about Sarah Palin’s experience, particularly foreign policy experience.
Your campaign has spent the better part of the last two years arguing that judgment is more important than experience. This is a good argument because it is true. Voters apparently do not care about foreign policy ‘experience’ and experience appears to have no bearing on whether a candidate will use that experience wisely.
George W. Bush, hick governor, had no foreign policy experience. He beat a two-term VP with over a decade in Congress. Bill Clinton, hick governor, had no foreign policy experience. He beat George H.W. Bush, a sitting president, two-term VP, Congressman and head of the CIA. Bush? He beat Dukakis, proving nothing. Reagan? None. Beat a sitting president who negotiated a peace treaty in the Middle East. Carter? None. He beat a sitting president and veteran of Congress.
Does experience look like it matters?
So, having staked your campaign on your judgment, you chose Biden as VP, sort of admitting that maybe experience counts a little. This was kind of bad, and not only because you were already getting Delaware’s 3 electoral votes. I don’t even hate the Biden pick because I think he should be able to overcome the terrible atmospherics of his selection by being a decent attack dog - but you have to admit that the atmospherics suck.
Then you had the balls to go after Palin’s experience when what you should have been going after was her judgment. When McCain selected Palin as VP he didn’t choose someone who had no foreign policy experience; he chose someone who had apparently never spent a day of her life thinking about anything beyond the border of Alaska. Alaska’s proximity to Canada is, according to the GOP talking heads, supposed to mean something about her foreign policy bona fides. After 9/11 you needed a passport to get into Canada. She got a passport in 2007. As far as the world knows, Sarah Palin has never thought about the world at large. She has no record on foreign policy and so she is now a blank slate to be filled in however the McCain campaign deems politically expedient. Not only would you be able to attack Palin’s judgment - a mid-40’s governor with no public statements on foreign policy should not be considered a serious candidate for the Vice Presidency - you would be able to attack McCain’s judgment for making such a dimwitted choice.
This is how you should have gone after her selection. It would not only have been consistent with your own talking points, it would have kept the GOP from exploiting ‘experience’ - what most polls show is your biggest vulnerability.
And in doing so you opened up a line of attack on your own judgment.
P.S. The right answer to “admit that the surge is working” wasn’t It’s working, but who knew it would! when you are running against a candidate that staked his campaign on the surge. The right answer was Working? By what standard? If the U.S. pulled its troops out tomorrow we would be exactly where we were before the surge started. If Iraq can’t survive without the surge troops in place, we have established a permanent occupation. I’d call that a failure.