NPR’s Morning Edition today had a report on Governor Sarah Palin. Apparently she is taking a page from President Bush and carefully controlling media access. In other words: limited interviews, and no press access. What little press she has had has been bad. Between the ongoing investigation and her refusal to release her income tax records, one has to wonder if she really is ready for her current position of governor, much less that of vice president. One also has to wonder why the people of Alaska put up with this sort of behavior.
Say what you will about Senator Biden, either through intent or incompetence, he has a long history from which we can judge (and have). This leads to the first rule of governing: you have to show up, and Sarah Palin is not.
Worse, even when she makes statements they are plattitudes. Telling Americans not to question Israel is as destructive to the democratic process here at home as it is to Israel and her neighbors. We cannnot be an honest broker if we do not question all parties, and that is what the region needs most of all. Even the current administration recognizes the mistakes it has made. These were lessons that ought not to have been learned in office, and we certainly cannot afford for another administration to learn them again.
We need better.
“I don’t want to look like a schmuck. I want you to look like a schmuck.”
-Kevin Kline in Dave
Senator Obama had his choice of huge range of individuals for vice president candidate. He could have picked Hillary Clinton, who has a solid constituency, or he could have picked Bill Richardson, who has a brain the size of the planet and represents the left well. Instead, he picked Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware, who received a whopping 1% of the vote in the primaries in which he participated. Biden has a less than distinguished carrier in the Senate that includes such debacles as the Anita Hill massacre, in which Clarence Thomas was confirmed as a justice of the Supreme Court, having been publicly shamed by his assistant. Biden chaired the mess.
He also was accused of plagiarizing work of other candidates the last time he ran for president in 1988. While this is a seemingly normal thing for politicians, it’s not something I want my daughter to aspire to do.
Why, then, pick this man?
Senator Obama has put a huge effort into seeing that he is perceived as a positive campaigner. He objects to each of Senator McCain’s attack ads, and he does his best to not fight back in kind. But it’s pretty clear that at least someone thinks he needs someone to fight back. That would be Joe Biden, in the fine tradition of Spiro Agnew. This, it seems to me, is why Obama picked Biden. The man won’t make a great vice president (whatever that means), but he can be nasty, in a whithering sort of way.