The blogs and airwaves are alive with Democrats looking down on Sarah Palin.
She’s inexperienced. She’s just a pretty face. She was chosen merely for her gender and her “Movie of the Week” life story.
Sound familiar? Just change the pronouns “she” and “her” to “he” and “his,” the word “pretty” to “handsome” and “gender” to “race,” and you’ve got our Democratic nominee for President: Barack Obama.
One huge difference, of course, is he’s running for President and she for Vice-President. The latter position traditionally goes to a less-experienced candidate. The Democrats would like you to forget that inconvenient truth and imagine that McCain’s health is so precarious, his age so advanced, that Palin is almost certain to become President within a few days of his inauguration (although according to actuarial tables, his life expectancy is actually 11.5 years. But who’s counting?)
The biggest difference is that Obama is of the Left and Palin of the Right. That he speaks as though he’s a reformer but was deeply in league with and assisted by the corrupt Chicago political machine of his own party, while she fought against the corrupt politics of fellow Republicans in her own state and won. That her admittedly meager high-level political experience is of the executive sort, while his similarly sparse resume contains only the legislative type. That she is a woman of action and he a man of words. That she chose to have her Downs baby and care for it and he fought to allow babies born alive after attempted abortions die. That he is inordinately fond of weasle words, contradicting himself, and the repetitive hum of “ummm;” and she (in the little we’ve seen of her) seems direct and straightforward.
Obama trumps Palin in the category of academic credentials, if you like that sort of thing. I’ve never noticed it has much to do with whether a President is effective or not, or even especially smart in terms of what one might call horse sense.
Palin has similarities not only with Obama. Her personal vibe is a bit like that of Harry Truman. Although he had a much longer pre-VP tenure in national political life than either candidate (twelve years as Senator from Missouri) he, like Palin, was a folksy down-to-earth plainspeaking rural sort. He even wore the wire-rimmed eyeglasses, although they didn’t look as good on him as they do on her (and Truman bears the distinction of having been the last President who didn’t even go to college).
Truman lacked any hint of the outdoorsman/woman ruggedness that Palin exudes. That latter characteristic is reserved for another president sharing some traits with Palin: the muckracking, hunting, wild Western: Theodore Roosevelt. Other similarities: five children, not a great deal of prior national-level political experience (Teddy’s highest offices before being tapped for VP were Assistant Secretary of the Navy for one year and NY Governor for one year—although his military exploits with the Rough Riders had made him nationally known). Teddy was also extraoridnaily young; at 42, he remains the youngest President ever.
And again, there were those wire-rimmed glasses.