Everybody has certainly fallen in love with Sarah Palin. What does it mean?
CNN Showbiz Tonight this morning had a segment on how Sarah has become a bigger celebrity than Obama. Does that mean McCain will have to disavow those commercials comparing Obama to Paris Hilton? Would it be more accurate to compare Sarah to Paris, or to Britney, or to Britney’s mom, since Britney’s little sister has gotten pregnant?
Unmarried, pregnant, teenage daughter? No problem, “it just makes her more like you and me.” Really? Well, we all have problems, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. People shoot their neighbors on a daily basis, but by and large they don’t get congratulated for it. There are a lot of shotgun weddings, and a lot of unmarried, single mothers, but that doesn’t mean it’s society’s ideal. It’s a little suspicious that there was apparently no urgency for Bristol to get married to her baby’s father until her mother got named vice presidential candidate. Does that mean they didn’t care, that they didn’t really like the boy, or what? Apparently the religious right in the Republican party says it’s okay for teenage girls to have sex and get pregnant, as long as they don’t get an abortion. That’s a pretty low moral standard. I’m not sure there’s a lot of Biblical support for that position, and maybe some criticism, like the Commandment not to commit adultery. Kids today reading Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter probably have no idea what the fuss is about.
In sum, while Sarah may have been an okay governor, she was a less than completely successful mom.
Meanwhile we have the black candidate, Obama, who comes from a tradition where black men routinely desert the women having their babies, but who has tried to have a traditional family relationship with his wife and kids. His wife says she tries to do only campaign day trips so that she can be at home with her kids afternoons and nights. Did Sarah do that while she was working on her career? Or did her career come first, ahead of her family?
Finally, besides wanting to know what Sarah knows about foreign policy, what else does she cares about. She didn’t go to a big name school, no elitism there. But does she read? Does she know anything about Plato, Locke, Samuelson, Shakespeare? What music does she listen to? Does she have in-depth knowledge about the economy, or does she get everything in sound bites? Is she more interested in hockey than war and peace? It doesn’t take much effort or intelligence to be a hockey mom. It takes more to be vice president, or at least it should. I would like the Vice President to be someone with a little culture, refinement and background. My impression is that in terms of upbringing and social status, she’s no Margaret Thatcher.
The problem with people with little education and experience is that they tend to reinvent the wheel, even if they are smart. They don’t know what other smart people have thought about similar problems before, and what solutions worked and what didn’t. Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. While Obama has relatively little executive experience, he is well educated, and so far, no matter what you think of Harvard and elitist institutions, they do tell people important things, and if you learn well, it helps in life. Bush’s problem is that he went to Yale but made a point of rebelling against it, as McCain did at Annapolis. Remember that Cheney flunked out of Yale; maybe we should have paid more attention to that before we put him in a position to start a war with Iraq and order the torturing of prisoners.