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"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Saturday, December 3rd, 2016
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Embarrassed and unfortunate

Fri, Oct 3rd, 2008
Posted in Commentary


Well, after the party comes the hangover. The Sarah Palin rise to political stardom - beauty queeen, hockey mom, bear shootin', corruption fighting governor - is grinding back to an ugly reality; as vice-president in waiting she's not fit to lead the United States, not quite ready to take that 3:00 a.m. call.

After viewing Palin in interviews with Charles Gibson (ABC), Sean Hannity (Fox) and Katie Couric (CBS), it's clear that Palin has little knowledge about the economy, domestic policy, or world affairs - her proximity to Russia not withstanding.

Don't take it from me, take it from conservative columnists and pundits who support McCain's candidacy, but find Palin's nomination an embarrassment to the Republican party and the McCain campaign for president. Yes, "embarrassing" is what conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks, long an admirer of John McCain, recently called Palin's candidacy. And he's not alone.

• "I think she has pretty thoroughly, and probably irretrievably, proven that she is not up to the job of being president of the United States," former Bush speechwriter David Frum said.

• After watching Palin in the Couric interview, conservative Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker called for Palin to step down.

"Only Palin can save McCain, her party and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first. Do it for country," Parker wrote last week.

• Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska questioned whether Palin has the experience to serve as president.

"She doesn't have any foreign policy credentials," Hagel said. "You get a passport for the first time in your life last year? I mean, I don't know what you can say. You can't say anything."

Hagel went on to say that experience is not the only qualification for elected officials, judgement and character are indispensible.

Parading Palin around New York so she can rub elbows with a few world leaders as well as Henry Kissinger only brings more attention to the fact that Palin lacks the bonafides to serve in the White House.

"I think it's a stretch to, in any way, say that she's got the experience to be president of the United States," said Hagel, who supported McCain's bid for president in 2000.

In the end, Palin's selection really reflects back on John McCain and raises questions about whether the Arizona senator really put the "Country First" in St. Paul when he selected the Alaska governor to be his running mate. Most people don't vote for a vice-president in an election, but at 72, McCain's age makes Palin's selection more important than just adding a name to the ballot.

Thursday's debate between Palin and Senator Joe Biden didn't change the game in any way. Palin surpassed the "embarrassment standard" by speaking confidently, although not always on point. You had the sense that she could not go into a deep discussion on any one issue because her knowledge of any one topic was limited. Biden on the other hand clearly knew what he was talking about. The debate was not a game changer, although I am sure McCain's campaign was saying "I am glad that's over" on Friday.

In the final analysis, Palin's addition to the McCain ticket may be a hard swallow for many voters come election day.


It is unfortunate that the Democrats chose Al Franken to be their candidate for senator. While Franken certainly has the celebrity and name recognition to attract voters, his "record" as a comedian has given the Norm Coleman camp plenty of fodder to go on the attack with ads profiling Franken as irresponsible. Consequently, this campaign for the Minnesota senate is built around personalities and not issues, with both candidates picking the lowest common denominator - the attack ad.

Had the DFL nominated Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, a St. Thomas professor more in the style of Paul Wellstone, we would have seen a different campaign, one based more on the issues - energy policy, the economy, the war in Iraq.

I am not sure the public has been served in the Coleman - Franken senate race. Which is why Independent Party candidate Dean Barkley's poll numbers keep rising - disatisfaction with the Coleman and Franken campaigns. Barkley served as Senator briefly when he filled out Paul Wellstone's term of office following his death.

While Barkley is not a front runner in the polls, his numbers are significant enough to play spoiler on November 4.

Right now voters are choosing whether they like Coleman's character better than Franken's. If the election comes down to that, Minnesota loses in the end.

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