America Politics Presidents

Nuance This!

Greg Sargent of The Washington Post points to a telling section of Mitt Romney’s entirely predictable critique of Obama’s handling of the situation in Libya:

“I believe that it flows from his fundamental disbelief in American exceptionalism. In the President’s world, all nations have ‘common interests,’ the lines between good and evil are blurred, America’s history merits apology. And without a compass to guide him in our increasingly turbulent world, he’s tentative, indecisive, timid and nuanced.” [emphasis mine]

The first three adjectives Romney uses in the last clause to describe the President are typical of right-wing critics. But the last one is new, though, again, entirely unsurprising. That the 2012 Republican frontrunner sees nuance in a president’s approach to foreign policy as a weakness reveals that the black-and-white, good-vs.-evil dichotomy perfected by George W. Bush is still alive and well in Republican dogma.

Of course, the other GOP frontrunner out there has been a walking example of this no-nuance policy every time she speaks.

America Politics Presidents

Sarah Palin Is Not A Serious Person

If Sarah Palin plans to run for president in 2012 (which I’m not yet sure if she’ll do), many people will vote for her. But count me as one of those Americans who will not check the box for Sarah Palin if that day comes.

There are a few reasons why I won’t vote for Palin for president. The biggest one, though, believe it or not, does not involve her politics. As a political moderate I agree with Palin on some issues and disagree strongly on others, which is also the case with the President.

The biggest reason, then, why I will not vote for Sarah Palin is that Sarah Palin is not a serious person.

In times like these as well as in times of prosperity, the President of the United States must be a serious person. This doesn’t mean they can’t be fun or funny; it means they have to understand the seriousness of the job and have the natural capacity to perform that job well.

Barack Obama is a serious person. I knew that when I voted for him. His politics aside, when he ran for president he understood the seriousness of the job. Sarah Palin, I think, does not.

If she were a serious person, she would not have quit the governorship of Alaska halfway through her term to become a TV star and write a book.

If she were a serious person, she would not use Facebook notes (which are probably written by a publicist anyway) to spread misinformation about health care reform and other serious issues I think deep down she knows to be false.

If she were a serious person, she would not tote her Down syndrome baby under her arm at every stop on her book tour to show off her “pro-life credentials” to her fans.

If she were a serious person, she would prepare for being president not by throwing firebombs on FOX News but by supporting bipartisan compromise and studying up on foreign and domestic affairs.

If she were a serious person, she would not be instigating so much anti-government hatred from the Tea Partiers when she has no intention of doing anything to solve the problems they decry except for make another stump speech rife with tired talking points.

Of course, all of this presidential-run talk is still speculative. And the fact that so many people care so much about Palin’s political future that they’re talking about it so early and frequently simply plays into Palin’s hand. But if she does run, she will have the Tea Party movement and its acolytes behind her. If she were a serious person, she would know she needs more than pissed off conservatives to win a presidential election.

But she is not a serious person. And it doesn’t look like she intends to become one any time soon. If that’s the case, and she does in fact run for the Republican nomination in 2012 and wins it, consider this my formal un-endorsement.


America Politics Presidents

And So It Begins…

Barack Obama and Joe Biden versus John McCain and Sarah Palin. Now this is a race.

The first thing I thought when I heard the news of McCain’s VP choice was that it was brilliant on his part. Not only is he trying to siphon Hillary supporters away from Obama with the choice of a younger woman, but he announced it the day after Obama’s convention speech in order to neutralize his post-convention bump.

Then, as I read up on Palin and read a few opinions of the choice, I see a fascinating paradigm between the two tickets. First, there’s Obama and Biden. Obama, an unconventional and historic candidate with limited legislative and foreign policy experience, pairs with an old seasoned Washington insider who is an expert on foreign policy.

Now look at the McCain-Palin ticket. McCain, the old seasoned Washington insider who is a self-proclaimed expert on foreign policy, chooses Palin, an unconventional and historic candidate with limited legislative and foreign policy experience.

Within each ticket, the contrasts are stark. One is a young black man, the other is an old white guy. One is an old white guy, the other is a young white woman.

Clearly, McCain wanted in on the Change narrative of the election. If he had picked Romney or Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman, there would not have been anything special about the ticket. But now McCain has something to offer those who want to see some sort of change.

Time will show if the Hillary Hold-Outs will actually defect and vote for McCain simply because he will have a female vice president. But that also brings up another thought: with McCain’s health and age in question, America will have to wonder if they want the possiblility of having a female Commander in Chief. We’ve just assumed that question concerned Hillary Clinton. But not anymore.

Who is Sarah Palin? We’ll be finding out shortly. She’s going to have to debate Joe Biden, who’s foreign policy experience is deep and respected. But in an election that has quickly become a mandate on the economy more so than the wars or anything other pressing issue, both tickets will be fighting for supremacy.

There are approximately 67 days until the election. It’s going to be a long 67 days, that’s for sure.