Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin: A Case of Reverse Discrimination

There are over 100,000,000 American citizens over age 35, and thus eligible to be vice-president.

Do you think if Sarah Palin were a white male, she'd be deemed the one out of that 100,000,000 most qualified to be a 72-year-old's heartbeat away from the presidency of the United States?
  • According to an Associated Press report, Palin started college at Hawaii Pacific College, transferred to North Idaho College, and transferred again to the University of Idaho, where she she got her B.A. in journalism from the University of Idaho yet never wrote for the student newspaper nor worked for the campus TV station. No professor remembers her. To this point, neither she nor the University of Idaho have reported her G.P.A.
  • Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (average population 5,500 when Palin was serving.) Amid accusations of cronyism, Alaska's largest newspaper, the Anchorage Daily News reported that a campaign to recall her had been initiated.
  • 1 1/2 years as governor of America's least populous state, where Palin currently is the target of an Alaska legislature investigation into an alleged Troopergate-like abuse of power.
More central, a column in today's Anchorage Daily News said about Palin's governorship, "There's a growing sense that the government isn't running all that well...The long and short of it is this: We're not sure she's a competent governor of Alaska."

  • Zero national and foreign policy experience. An editorial in the Anchorage Daily News said Palin is "a total beginner on national and international issues." CNBC's Chris Matthews reported her as saying, "I haven't thought much about Iraq."
Unless the Republicans give her a helluva crash course, in the Oct. 2 debate with Joe Biden, Sarah Palin will be the Dan Quayle of 2008. She may even become a Thomas Eagleton, and withdraw before the election, especially if it turns out to be true, as reported in The Atlantic, that she claimed that her 16-year-old daughter's baby was her own to avoid admitting her daughter got pregnant out of wedlock.

America is becoming, ever more, a reverse-discrimination nation That, I believe, is core to our inability to compete with China, India, etc., and is accelerating America's demise into third-world status.


Craig said...

Hopefully she isn't like Dan Quayle.. he won.

Anonymous said...

Ronald Reagan did not have foreign affairs experience either, BUT he surrounded himself with those that did.

When it comes to diplomatic and intellectual skills, the Nixon Administration was second to none. Even Dr. Condi Rice does not have a geopolitical mind. She is no Kissinger.

Marty Nemko said...

Of course, experience isn't everything. But is there enough about her to suggest she is the best person in America to be a 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency of the United States?

Archivist said...

Presidential nominees rarely if ever pick the most qualified person as running mate. Let's be honest, they would need to look outside politics for that. What makes a Senator especially qualified to be a nominee anyway? Why not a college professor? Presidential nominees choose someone who can help them get elected, or who at least someone who won't hurt him. Does anyone think John Kennedy would have selected Lyndon Johnson in 1960 if he were not looking to pick up crucial votes? Not a chance in hell.

While it is true that far fewer women run for elected office -- probably due to the absence of testosterone (I know -- we're not allowed to say that out loud), but does that mean that women should be automatically blocked from serving in an office that represents more women than men?

NOW hates the choice which means it was probably a good one.

Marty Nemko said...

Of course, women shouldn't be "automatically blocked" whether they're serving a majority woman or a majority man constituency.

But as I believe my post made painfully clear, this particular woman is so far from being qualified to be a 72-year-old's heartbeat away from the presidency of the United States that it places the U.S. in danger, makes a mockery of our political process, and will give the rest of the world yet another reason to ridicule the U.S.

Archivist said...

With all due respect, I am disinclined to cast a vote based on how the "rest of the world" views the United States. The "rest of the world" includes the Berliners who had a noctural emission over Barack Obama for reasons having nothing to do with substance. The "rest of the world" includes the hundreds of thousands of Europeans who mounted protests against Ronald Reagan in the mid-1980s and who never bothered to thank him after he, more than anyone else in the world, won the Cold War.

And "makes a mockery" of our political process? To say that this comment is strident would be an understatement. You mean "makes a mockery" in the same sense that the selection of Abraham Lincoln to head the Republican ticket in 1860 "made a mockery" of our political process? There are no Lincolns on the current national scene that I am aware of, but if you're talking about "qualified" in the sense of holding major elected political office, then one would have to conclude that Palin beats out Lincoln on that score. That's not a determiniative qualification.

I have seen your argument posited over the past twenty-four hours with cookie cutter redundancy by persons who never had any intention of voting for John McCain this year, eight years ago, or at any time, ever, in their entire elitist lives. They cite Alaska's small population (as if they ever, at any time, in any way, supported Ronald Reagan -- based on California's huge population, of course); they cite Palin's 20 months of executive experience (contrasted with Obama's slightly longer service in a legislative post where his major responsibilities consisted of taking potshots at the president). The fact is, they are concocting an issue to reach a conclusion they reached years ago: they would never, in a million years, vote for John McCain.

Anonymous said...

"Of course, experience isn't everything. But is there enough about her to suggest she is the best person in America to be a 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency of the United States?"

Was Nikita Khrushchev, the Red Army soldier, the best person to lead the Soviet Union? How about Brezhnev and his certificate in steel rolling? Most Soviet premiers were uneducated, working class stiff. Andropov and Gorbachev were the exceptions.

Anonymous said...

It seems the VP role is about giving the President balance more than a role requiring experiential qualifications. Isn't Bush - Cheney evidence of that? I'm conservative and even I realize Bush brought little to the table but his name. Were not Cheney and Rove the "real" Presidents?

A better question perhaps is what is "qualified" when it comes to being the VP in world that's constantly changing? If she can think on her feet, it will help her more than a two-page political resume. "Experienced" to me is someone that has been in Washington too long and I don't want that.

Marty - you rail against women on behalf of men for good reason, but I have to admit, when she took the mic yesterday I genuinely began to think this woman was the best choice in America. Perhaps I felt comfortable with her because I don't see the Presidency as one person, and if McCain dies, she will have presumably surrounded herself with the right supporting cast, per Dave's comment on Reagan.

One last thing...

"this particular woman is so far from being qualified to be a 72-year-old's heartbeat away from the presidency of the United States that it places the U.S. in danger, makes a mockery of our political process, and will give the rest of the world yet another reason to ridicule the U.S."

Marty, isn't that a little strong? So if McCain dies this ONE WOMAN will bring the country to ruin?

"Places the US in danger?" This one tickled me. Who on this blog would not be a billionaire if they had a dime for every time a talking head/blogger/politician suggested "danger" if XYZ happened?

Funny how no one EVER has to qualify a danger warning on the back end. Maybe it's because the great danger that's so loosely predicted doesn't usually happen, and no one cares to say later over beers "Hey, remember when you made that absurd claim?..."

We're the United States. Aren't we already in danger anyway? C'mon - give Sarah a break. She eats moose. (-:


Marty Nemko said...

Thank you, Archivist. I particularly welcome intelligent disagreement--that is what blogging should be about. And your comment is a perfect example of that.

I might mention that I started observing this campaign unsure who I would vote for. I will likely, as I often have done, vote Libertarian, despite my not being thrilled with Barr and especially Root. I had considered the possibility of voting for McCain but, you're right, I've come to the conclusion that I won't. The reasons that were dispositive for me: It's becoming clear that he is a cognitively old 72 (too many slips and not intelligent-enough comments,) being anti-choice (including a VP nominee who would prohibit abortion even in the case of rape), plus choosing a VP clearly based far more on trying to win (a foolish judgment) than on competence.

Anonymous said...

That's it, Marty. After reading this post, I'm unsubscribing myself from your RSS feed and will no longer read anything you write. Such a shame, as I've been a huge fan of your columns for about 6 years now. I've communicated with you via email for years as well, and it was all positive. But this post, along with everything you've written in the past week, has seriously made me question your once-impeccable judgment.

Yes, this is an example of reverse discrimination. Of course it is. But you're missing the point: it doesn't matter. People are jazzed about her being nominated because we'll do anything in our power than elect a liberal. Seriously, I'd elect Mrs. Roper before I'd elect any Democrat. It's not that Republicans are so great (they're not), it's that liberals scare us to death.

I'm ecstatic that McCain picked Palin; not because she's so incredibly qualified, but because we know it's a pick that will enable McCain to win. It's all about winning the White House.

As for your argument that she has scant experience, well, yes, you're right. And that differs from Obama how exactly??

Nice knowing ya. Goodbye, Marty.

Marty Nemko said...

Again, Anonymous, I'm the last one to say that experience is dispositive. But what should be dispositive in nearly all hiring decisions is intelligence, drive, and ethics. And if you'll look at what she's done as summarized in this post or elsewhere, I daresay that she's far from the most qualified to be VP.

And yes, a pick like that makes a mockery of our political process--Sarah Palin--is what our process resulted in? (What in the world Lincoln has to do with this, escapes me.)

And yes, America will be more dangerous with such a lightweight as vice-president, let alone if she had to become president, which is not unlikely given McCain's age and medical record.

Anonymous said...

By the way Marty, was it discrimination when you said you wouldn't hire an attractive female as your assistant because, in your words, you didn't want to be tempted?

How does a person's looks play into how well he/she would perform as your assistant? And if you took vows to love your wife, why would you be tempted in the first place?

Marty Nemko said...

Perhaps it could be called discrimination, but it really was job-related. I am a normal heterosexual man who wants to continue being monogamous. To have an attractive woman, alone with me in my home, day after day, year after year (My assistants have stayed with me for an average of six years,) could add unnecessary stress to my already stressful worklife. I preferred to avoid that stress and temptation, just as I try to keep fattening food out of my refrigerator.

Anonymous said...

Palin is also anti-science and thinks teaching Creationism in schools is a good idea:

"A significant part of Palin's base of support lies among social and
Christian conservatives. Her positions on social issues emerged slowly
during the campaign: on abortion (should be banned for anything other
than saving the life of the mother), stem cell research (opposed),
physician-assisted suicide (opposed), creationism (should be discussed
in schools), state health benefits for same-sex partners (opposed, and
supports a constitutional amendment to bar them)."

This is reason enough for me not to vote for her -- whether she was a woman or a man.

Marty Nemko said...

I agree completely with the previous anonymous commenter.

I feel the need to reiterate that I am a fervent supporter of equal opportunity for women and men, and am ESPECIALLY admiring of working women who provide quality time to their romantic partner and kids while still doing a great job at work.

I can't think of a better example than my own wife, Dr. Barbara Nemko, a recent regional Schools Superintendent of the Year.

Anonymous said...

If Barack Obama were a white Irish Catholic named Barry O'Brien, all other things equal, would he be the Democrat nominee right now? What suggests that, no matter what color he is, he currently possesses the qualifications to be not just second in command, but first? Not a heartbeat away, but in the driver's seat? I have yet to see any, no matter how well he can speak and persuade.

This whole process has become less about qualifications and more about a popularity contest. One of the ways to increase your popularity is to make things look more diverse, even if it's at the cost of quality. My guess that we haven't seen the last of this in our presidential elections.

By the way, Mr. Nemko, one might counter your argument of Palin's uncertain governorship with her reportedly high approval rating. Can Congress, where the other VP and presidential candidates hail from, honestly claim the same?

Marty Nemko said...

Valid point, Anonymous.

Stella Commute said...

Oh, my stars, I'm agreeing with you Marty! I didn't think it was possible.

I'm not sure it's reverse discrimination, per se, but more likely unchecked pandering to the religious conservatives that the GOP desperately needs to activate for them to have any hope of winning the election. If she was picked strictly because she is a women, it's hard to believe that they couldn't find some other gal who was pro-life and maybe had spent some time outside her hometown of 7,000 people.

It really pains me to watch vastly more qualified men and women from the shortlist (Boehner, Hutchison, etc) have to say words like "more qualified", "most qualified" and "right for America" when talking about her. She'll get the single issue voters behind them again, but as a woman and a feminist, I don't think it's necessarily sexist to question the qualifications of anyone so woefully under-educated and under-experienced. Uh, and the judgement of the vetting committee members who said "Yes! She's the one."

Anonymous said...

Palin as young and inexperienced as some people say is still the BEST thing to come around to politics in a VERY long time. GO Palin we need you!


Anonymous said...

she has discriminated Obama.Is that justice?Oh sure,she was in a higher rank then Obama,but look at Lincoln!Lincoln was a poor kid living in the woods until he became president and he even freed black people from slavery!!!!I think she should learn a lesson!

Anonymous said...

If McCain had picked Olympia Snowe, we wouldn't be having this sideshow effort to distract us from McCain's stances on the real issues: tax cuts for the rich, continued war, more losses of individual freedoms for the illusion of greater security. Snowe would have been stately and well-spoken and versed in domestic and foreign affairs. The disaffected Clinton voters would have fallen over themselves to line up behind her, and she'd have picked up a number of moderate Democrats with them.

Instead, we have a VP nominee who's under ethics investigations, who faces allegations of censorship, political cronyism, major flip-flopping for political gain, abuse of power, not to mention forcing her home city into financial ruin via a shady deal on a sports arena. I keep seeing people claiming that Democrats are running scared of her, and those comments are correct: I am scared to death that, one melanoma from now, this woman could have her finger on the button and doesn't have the self-control to stop. I'm terrified that we're in for four more years of an uneducated wannabe surrounded by advisers who are all about lining their pockets at the expense of soldiers' lives and environmental catastrophe.

Anonymous said...

I found your post about Palin’s nomination and reverse discrimination interesting and I would like to contribute the following thoughts in hopes of sparking up a dialogue. Without claiming to know the inner workings of the McCain campaign, I believe I can reasonably surmise that political experience, breadth of knowledge and Washington pedigree were not on the top of the McCain campaign’s list as they searched for the VP nominee. For that reason I would assert Palin is not a prime example of reverse racism. I feel that claiming reverse discrimination in the choice of Palin for VP assumes that McCain was looking for a set of skills/experiences that could and should be separated from an individual’s life experiences/gender/age/ethnicity. In politics this type of search does not exist, nor is it useful. Palin’s gender, age and Caucasian ethnicity undoubtedly were qualifying factors in McCain’s decision - but why should this considered discrimination? Consider that McCain might have commenced his search looking for those specific characteristics to fill the “holes” in which his campaign felt he was lacking. It seems a null point to argue that a more qualified individual should be in her place because among the qualifiers for the position in this case were age/gender/ethnicity. I imagine that one of the goals McCain and his advisors established for the VP pick was to choose an individual who could counter Obama’s message of change and the fact that as a black man he would literally be a change to white Washington politics. Additionally, the campaign saw an opportunity to woo Clinton supporters by choosing a woman. Why should gender and age, when they clearly have significant impact on the lives of average Americans, be excluded from qualifiers in an election process?"

Marty Nemko said...

Being a woman is not sufficiently tied to job performance to justify selecting Palin, who, on every dimension is simply not qualified to be an old-72-year-old's heartbeat from the presidency of the United States.

Being a woman may help McCain-Palin get elected, but that's insufficient grounds for selecting her.