September 4, 2008

Experience? Maybe. What's important is intellect

The endless back and forth about "experience" is the intellectual equivilent of a circle jerk. It's crazy, because one side insists on making it about the abstract and narrow "executive" experience, of which evne Palin comes up short, and the other argues legislative and leadership experience.

But face it, NO ONE is ever prepared to become president. No one ever has been, no matter how much they deluded themselves, and the public, into thinking so.

What's critical is the candidates style, whether they delegate effectively, or whether they surround themselves with yes-men and sychophants. Do they have some massive ego problem that leads them to make rash decisions? Do they insist that they're always right and discourage opposing advice?

And perhaps most important of all, do they have the intellectual chops to LEARN and absorb the vast amount of knowledge required to make responsible and wise choices?

Bill Clinton was a governor of a southern state. But within months of assuming the presidency, he'd studied incessantly and was better versed in the subjects he addresssed than the experts who taught him. He knew ever neighborhood in Jeruselem and its primary population.

He impressed everyone he dealt with. Those he negotiated with respected his knowledge. Clinton was a scholar, his superior talent proven by a Rhodes scholarship and academic achievement, not to mention his career.

He was a quick study. He was prepared. He knew his stuff.

What's Palin like in this area?

No one knows of course.

So instead of endless cat fights over "experience" and what kind is better than others, what would be most telling, and most important to know, is what was Palin's accademic record like?

How did she do at college? What do her teachers say about her as a student? Did she stand out? Did she demonstrate superior intellectual skills and curiosity? An ability to learn?

What were her grades? Even more importantly, what sort of student was she? Did she demonstrate an interest in serious subjects? Areas of study that might show an interest in learning about the world around her?

We know that John McCain would have likely flunked out of the Naval Accademy many times over were he not the son of an admiral, and barely squeaked through at the bottom of his class anyway. But he's very old. He's had time to gain knowledge over the decades.

Not long ago, only a few hours after planes crashed into the WTC, a vice president was on the phone authorizing U.S. aircraft to shoot civilian airliners out of the sky.

Has Palin got the depth to be charged with handling such a situation?

Knowing more about her academic record, more than her extremely limited experience, more than shooting moose or playing on a high school basketball team, would give Americans a better insight into whether she has what it takes to rise to the challenge of standing a heartbeat away from the presidency.


At 9/04/2008 11:57 PM, Blogger tiz said...

We don't know how she did, but she did attend 5 colleges in 6 years

I have a handful of friends who bombed as a freshman at a 4 year school, came back home to BHC or WIU, and then went back. This could explain the school in Hawaii to the JUCO in Idaho and then to U of Idaho. It happens and it's happened to some of the brightest people I know. Sometimes giving an 18 year-old kid that much freedom is more than they can handle. You wash out, come home, and give it another shot. The going back to Alaska for one semester then coming back to Idaho and what she was did in the spring of 84 could be interesting. I know she tried for Miss Alaska in 1984, maybe that made her take a year off.

All that aside (and apologies to any of you who have a degree in communication) - she took six years to get a crackerjack degree. So even when you take into account her mayorship (is that a word?) of a town smaller than Silvis, and her governorship of a state with fewer people than Memphis, I still have trouble equating her judgment/breadth of knowledge with that of someone with two Ivy League degrees.

I guess that makes me an "uppity" elitist.


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