November 21, 2009

Sarah Palin continues to delude herself -- or at least, is desperately hoping to continue deluding her fans, which isn't very hard to do -- that she, as the two-year governor of Alaska and former mayor of Wasilla, has more "executive" experience than either Barack Obama or Joe Biden. At least, that was what she tried telling Bill O'Reilly in the second part of her interview shown last night:

O'Reilly: You pointed out his [Obama's] lack of experience -- you don't have that much experience. You walked away from the governorship after, what, two years? Two and a half years?

Palin: Going into my lame-duck session -- my fourth legislative session -- and not wanting to put Alaskans through a lame-duck session --

O'Reilly: OK, but is it fair for you to criticize Obama's lack of experience when somebody could make the same criticism about you on the national stage.

Palin: If you're talking about executive experience, I would put my experience up against his any day of the week. I have been elected to local office since 1992, and was a city manager, strong-mayor form of government, was a chief executive of the state, and was an oil and gas regulator. There was some good experience there that could have been put to use in a vice presidential ticket. We've to remember too that I wasn't running for president.

O'Reilly: No, but that's the key question. Because John McCain is up there in years, you had to be qualified to take that office over.

Palin: Right. But I -- I'm saying I was running for vice president, just like Joe Biden had been running for vice president. I never once heard you or anybody else question Joe Biden and his experience.

O'Reilly: Well, he's got a lot of experience.

That's the whole absurdity of Palin claiming she has more "executive" experience, as though being mayor of a small town places her on the same level of experience as a United States Senator. The issue of experience isn't related to the organizational context, but rather the scale of it: Joe Biden has nearly a half-century of wrestling with national and international issues -- the kind a president has to deal with -- and has an established track record there.

When Palin was Wasilla's mayor (and before that a council member), the issues she was dealing with involved placement of a sewage-treatment plant and deciding whether someone's driveway needed paving. Oh,and let's not forget the vital issue of building a new gym with taxpayer dollars.

But the interview reached its real nadir when Palin tried to explain why voters would want to vote for her. It's possibly the most garbled, incoherent piece of anti-intellectual right-wing populist nonsense I've ever heard:

O'Reilly: Let me be bold and fresh again. Do you believe you are smart enough, and incisive enough, intellectual enough, to handle the most powerful job in the world?

Palin: I believe that I am because I have common sense, and I have, I believe, the values that are reflective of so many American values. And I believe that what Americans are seeking is not the elitism, the, um, the, ah -- kind of spineless -- a spinelessness that perhaps is made up for that with elite Ivy League education and -- fact resume that's based on anything but hard work and private-sector, free-enterprise principles. Americans could be seeking something like that in positive change in their leadership. I'm not saying that that has to be me.

No, it definitely doesn't have to be you, Sarah. Indeed, I think it's safe to say that this level of intellectual incoherence would be a real danger to the country.

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