September 16, 2008

Experience Matters


At this point, there seems to be a clear disconnect between the “media elites in the GOP” and the anti-intellectual, anti-Washington instinct behind the Palin pick.  The following snippet is from the column, Why Experience Matters, by David Brooks (by way of today’s “Playbook” by Politico’s Mike Allen).

‘Is Sarah Palin qualified to be vice president? Most conservatives say yes, on the grounds that something that feels so good could not possibly be wrong. But a few commentators, like George Will, Charles Krauthammer, David Frum and Ross Douthat demur, suggesting in different ways that she is unready. … The elitists favor sophistication, but the common-sense folk favor simplicity. The elitists favor deliberation, but the populists favor instinct. This populist tendency produced the term-limits movement based on the belief that time in government destroys character but contact with grass-roots America gives one grounding in real life. And now it has produced Sarah Palin. Palin is the ultimate small-town renegade rising from the frontier to do battle with the corrupt establishment. …

‘As George Will pointed out, the founders used the word ‘experience’ 91 times in the Federalist Papers. Democracy is not average people selecting average leaders. It is average people with the wisdom to select the best prepared. Sarah Palin has many virtues. If you wanted someone to destroy a corrupt establishment, she’d be your woman. But the constructive act of governance is another matter. She has not been engaged in national issues, does not have a repertoire of historic patterns and, like President Bush, she seems to compensate for her lack of experience with brashness and excessive decisiveness.

‘The idea that ‘the people’ will take on and destroy ‘the establishment’ is a utopian fantasy that corrupted the left before it corrupted the right. Surely the response to the current crisis of authority is not to throw away standards of experience and prudence, but to select leaders who have those qualities but not the smug condescension that has so marked the reaction to the Palin nomination in the first place.’

This image was posted on the TIME White House photo blog back on September 3rd, with the title and caption:  “Closet Space: The dress worn by Sarah Palin at the announcement of her candidacy hangs in the shower on the campaign bus.”

In his gifted way of applying political commentary, photographer Christopher Morris uses visual metaphor to at least suggest something that would otherwise come off as overly harsh in words, which is that the wearer of this garment, in terms of her ability to fill out her designated role, is more of an empty suit.

(slighty updated 12:45 pm PST)

(image:  Christopher Morris/ VII for TIME)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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