National Commentary

Nicholas F. Benton: The Perils Of Palin




In the intense global competition among current and emerging superpowers, it is clear to almost all parties involved that the development of science and technology, and the cultivation of “human capital” through mass education and training in those and other disciplines, will determine how things play out.

It is in light of this that the leaders of the U.S.’s major competitors are slapping their knees and rolling on the floor in laughter at the prospect the U.S. may choose to be led by someone who believes the universe was created in a week, and is 5,000 years old.

Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, because she may become a heartbeat from the U.S. presidency, is a menace to U.S. strategic and national security interests.

The obligatory disclaimers apply: No, it’s not because she’s a woman, a mother, a moose killer or small town mayor.

It is for two reasons alone, and each is sufficient to summarily disqualify her from getting anywhere close to the White House in an executive position, at least from the standpoint of common sense or a modicum of rationality.

First, she is categorically unqualified from any number of standpoints, of experience, of testing under fire, of knowledge of global and domestic affairs and their nuances, of a capacity to think and act appropriately on her feet, and so on.

Second, she holds to shallow and extreme right wing views, including a belief in creationism, that she defends with slogans and rehearsed one-liners. There is no evidence she has the intellectual honesty or agility to lead a global superpower.

The Republicans are already making it clear they intend to extend her current fad status using their usual bag of smokescreens and diversionary tricks, including making lipstick a major issue for deciding the next president.

Comparing her lack of experience to Obama’s is another such ruse. Nothing makes her lack of qualifications clearer than the fact that her handlers remain unwilling to cut her loose for the kind of tough and relentless scrutiny, challenges, questions and free-for-all gives and takes that Obama, and all the other candidates seeking their parties’ nomination, have gone through ad nauseum for the last year.

Their cloistering of her is the best single piece of evidence that she’s abjectly unqualified to be president.

But pathetic, bleating major media so-called journalists are being led by their noses by these diversions. Then again, the real so-called “lipstick on the pig” in all this is the cosmetic notion that the media is either fair and balanced, or even more laughable, leftist. In fact, lest anyone forget, every one of the major media outlets in the land are owned by mammoth corporate interests, all of whom want McCain’s tax cuts for the super rich, and so forth.

Such corporate interests are notoriously too myopic to see beyond their next tactical objective, which now involves the election of McCain, and the use of Palin to that end. As for the cataclysmic consequences of Palin becoming president, they figure they’ll cross that bridge when they get to it.

But the American voting public doesn’t have the luxury of such an approach. As the current Bush administration leaves its economy in a shambles, and a world looking ever more hostile to the U.S., a majority of voters will simply not be willing to walk into the polls on Election Day and cast a vote that imperils their nation in the way a Palin presidency would.

In the remaining weeks before the election, Obama supporters should key on the words of former Virginia Governor Mark Warner delivered in his Democratic Convention keynote speech. It’s a race between the future and the past, he said. “If you think there have been dramatic changes in the world and in technology over the last 10 years, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The race is on, and if you watched the Olympics, you know China’s going for the gold.”

With Obama, he said, “We will have an administration that actually believes in science. Then we can again lead the world in life-saving and life-changing cures.”

And as the United Church of Christ, Obama’s progressive Christian denomination, affirms in its latest national advertising campaign, “God makes room for quantum mechanics, and regular ones, too!”

But that’s such a far cry from a mental captivity to myth and superstition that could possess our presidency, if Palin came within a heartbeat of it.