Monday, November 10, 2008

Sarah Palin's stupidest mistake

Sarah Palin continues to make headlines post-election. Rumors swirl about whether or not she thot that Africa was a country or a continent. I'm agnostic on that one, because we'll never know, but I file it under "You Can't Make This Stuff Up." If I were a McCain staffer looking for ways to trash Sarah Palin, I wouldn't make that rumor up, because it's so absurd that many people don't believe it. So I suspect that there is a kernel of truth in that anecdote.

But Sarah Palin's stupidest idea did not involve basic questions of geography, or anything she said in either the Charlie Gibson or the Katie Couric interview.

Sarah Palin believed - and presumably still believes - that she is qualified to be vice president of the United States, and that she is therefore qualified to be president of the United States. That's a real humdinger, but that's not the stupidest thing she believed, or believes.

The stupidest thing Sarah Palin either believed, or believes, is that the American people would also think that she was qualified to be vice president, and therefore president, of the United States. Sarah Palin actually thot that the American people would look at a resume whose primary line item was mayor of a small town in Alaska, and think, "Oh, sure, she's qualified to have her finger on the button. No problem, we're sure she can handle any international crisis!"

When I was a little boy, I remember getting my hair cut at a barbershop in our hometown of Indialantic, Florida. One of the barbers was also a real estate agent. And the mayor. He could do all three jobs because none of them were terribly demanding. And, presumably, none of them paid much. So the mayor of this small town had enough spare time to sell real estate and cut hair. Indialantic is smaller than Wasilla, but not by much (it has almost 3,000 people).

One big difference between the little town I grew up in and anywhere in Alaska is that we were in the shadow of the Kennedy Space Center, so most people knew at least someone who was literally a rocket scientist. The local newspaper had a notice every day about when the next rocket was going to launch. So we had a close personal connection to one of the most ambitious projects in the history of mankind. I don't think there's quite the same sense of scale in Wasilla. It's possible that being mayor of that small town really is a big deal in Alaska, because there isn't anything else going on around there that is a "big deal" as it would be defined in, say, New York, where they negotiate massive investment banking deals, or Detroit, where they build cars.

Or the smaller city of Bentonville, Arkansas, where some people run the largest retail company in the world.

So maybe Sarah Palin never met any investment bankers or GM or Walmart executives, so she didn't have much of a clue what's involved in running a massive, complex organization with revenues in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

And maybe she didn't realize that there are lots of Americans who have jobs that are more complicated than being mayor of a small town, and there are many Americans who know people who have jobs that are more complicated than being mayor of a small town, and all of those people looked at her a little funny when she said that she was ready to be vice president of the most powerful country in the world.

I think this is what Donald Rumsfeld would describe as a "known unknown," i.e. if she didn't know how people outside of Alaska would feel about a small town mayor jumping from there to governor to VP pretty quick, maybe she should have considered it. Or listened when people started telling her that. That would have been a smart move.

But regardless of what she knew or what she should have known, the fact that Sarah Palin thot that the American people would consider her qualified to be "one heartbeat away" from being president of the US of A is just incredibly, godawful stupid.


Laryssa said...

I big factor in her arrogance is the religious tradition she was raised in. She was baptized a Roman Catholic, but the family became Pentecostal when they moved to Alaska (from Idaho, I believe). We;re told that she has never spoken in tongues, but that religious tradition emphasizes one's intimate relationship with God in such a way that the holy spirit can and does move through you, and also that you can communicate directly with God and moreover that God can and does directly move you. It would seem almost expected that someone who feels they communicate with God directly would have an seriously exaggerated sense of self, bordering on a major arrogance complex. Like her buddy W, in her mind when she was running, God wanted her to be VP and placed her in that position himself, the same way that W is on a "mission from God" in Iraq.

So I'm not sure both of their delusions were pure stupidity, but rather brainwashing. And they are both completely koo-koo. :)

Anonymous said...

well said, I completely agree - I also think this TOTAL lack of self awareness alienated ALOT of educated women. It insulted their intelligence, as it should have.

And WHO ARE THESE so called WalMart Moms who rallied around her. They are the lack of a brain in our country.