Historians Find Palin Least Experienced Person On Major Party Ticket In Modern Era

One of the remarkable things about conservatives is the manner in which they will try to pass off the most absurd statements to defend their politicians. We saw that as they made excuses for Bush, including their claims that there was WMD in Iraq and that Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attacks. Yet another major absurdity to come from the right for the past day has been the attempts to deny Sarah Palin’s lack of experience, and to even claim that she is at least as experienced as Barack Obama, if not more so.

To put Miss Wasilla 1984’s lack of experience in perspective, The Poltico quotes historians as calling Palin the least experienced politician with the weakest credentials to be on a modern ticket:

Presidential scholars say she appears to be the least experienced, least credentialed person to join a major-party ticket in the modern era.

So unconventional was McCain’s choice that it left students of the presidency literally “stunned,” in the words of Joel Goldstein, a St. Louis University law professor and scholar of the vice presidency. “Being governor of a small state for less than two years is not consistent with the normal criteria for determining who’s of presidential caliber,” said Goldstein.

“I think she is the most inexperienced person on a major-party ticket in modern history,” said presidential historian Matthew Dallek…

“It would be one thing if she had only been governor for a year and a half, but prior to that she had not had major experience in public life,” Dallek said of Palin. “The fact that he would have to go to somebody who is clearly unqualified to be president makes Obama look like an elder statesman.”

And Alaska is a much smaller state than Illinois, the political base of Barack Obama, whom Republicans have repeatedly criticized for being inexperienced, having served nearly four years in the U.S. Senate after eight in the Illinois state Senate.

“Not to belittle Alaska, but it’s different than the basket of issues you deal with in big, dynamic states,” Dallek said.

Palin has no experience in national office. Before becoming governor in December 2006, she served as a council member and mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, which had a population of slightly more than 5,000 during her time in office…

Back in June John McCain tried to make some comparisons between Barack Obama and Williams Jennings Bryan. The attack failed as few people other than John McCain were old enough to understand the attack, but it now turns out that it is John McCain who has one of the deficiencies of the ticket Bryan headed:

If elected vice president, Palin would appear to have the least amount of experience in federal office or as a governor since John W. Kern, Democrat William Jennings Bryan’s 1908 running mate, who had served for four years in the Indiana state Senate and then four more as city solicitor of Indianapolis. The Democratic ticket lost to Republican standard-bearer William Howard Taft and running mate James S. Sherman by an Electoral College spread of 321-162.

The Republican Party, which previously gave us Spiro T. Agnew and Dan Quayle now gives us Sarah Palin. Vice presidential candidates are not likely to make very much difference with regards to the success of a presidential campaign, but it won’t help McCain’s credibility to have to repeatedly defend the choice of Sarah Palin.

The Reactionary Views of Sarah Palin, Miss Wasilla 1984

I’ve been mocking the choice of Sarah Palin by repeating her title of Miss Wasilla 1984 because this points out two problems in her selection. Prior to her one and one-half years as Governor of Alaska, her experience was based upon being Mayor of Wasilla, population 9000 (where she had previously won the local beauty pageant). Her choice kills any hope of McCain raising experience as an issue against Obama, along with creating real concerns about the Republican ticket considering his age. The 1984 part is also signficant. Obviously I would not claim her reactionary views are anywhere as bad as those in Orwell’s 1984, but on a libertarian to authoritarian spectrum she is definitely leaning towards the 1984 end.

The Boston Globe provides some examples of her right wing views:

“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).”

The article also cites another report of Palin supporting the teaching of creationism in a debate. The New Republic provides another example of Palin’s right wing extremism. In 1999 she backed Pat Buchanan for president, quoting this AP report:

“Pat Buchanan brought his conservative message of a smaller government and an America First foreign policy to Fairbanks and Wasilla on Friday as he continued a campaign swing through Alaska. Buchanan’s strong message championing states rights resonated with the roughly 85 people gathered for an Interior Republican luncheon in Fairbanks. … Among those sporting Buchanan buttons were Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin and state Sen. Jerry Ward, R-Anchorage.”

Ben Smith notes that between her support for Pat Buchanan and her conservative social views Palin is already receiving criticism from Jewish groups. Smith also reports that Buchanan had referred to Palin as a supporter of his campaign on Hard Ball. It already looked like the Jewish vote would go heavily for Obama, and the choice of Palin will clinch this.

One might think that supporters of Hillary Clinton would also oppose any ticket which Palin Sarah  is on. This would be true of those who followed the advice Clinton gave during her speech at the Democratic convention when she asked, “Were you in this campaign just for me?” However, as I’ve pointed out many times in the past, many Clinton supporters do not support liberal values. They are ignorant of John McCain’s opposition to abortion rights and ideologically are much closer to the views of John McCain and George Bush than to liberal Democrats such as Barack Obama on many other issues.

Taylor Marsh writes that John McCain must think that women are stupid if he thinks they would support a ticket with Palin:

Seriously, all this suffrage rambling is convenient, but considering both McCain and Palin are against women’s civil rights and equal pay, hoisting her into the public spotlight and hearing her talking about Hillary is absolutely insulting.

Does McCain think women are stupid? Evidently, yes. They believe that just because Sarah Palin is a woman, disaffected HRC voters and women are supposed to flock to her. Experience, for Republicans has got nothing to do with it, especially if you’re a chick.

Unfortunately many of the women (and men) who backed Hillary Clinton really are stupid. While some might have found this to be unexpected, I was not at all surprised that The Volokh Conspiracy found a contingent of Hillary Clinton supporter who are thinking of voting Republican now that a woman has been added to the ticket. After all, lacking both understanding of and a commitment to liberal values, they have no reason to look beyond the gender of the candidates.

The Volokh Conspiracy quotes from several comments at this Hillary Clinton Forum such as, “Wow, Thanks so much to this Sarah Palin who never forgot us. She is a fighter. She paid her respects to our Hillary and Geraldine . They now no more think women in this country are 2nd class. You go girl and thank you for a refreshing pick Sen. McCain.” To them a woman who would help John McCain bring back shirt hanger abortions is preferable to a male Democratic candidate with a strong record of supporting abortion rights.

Their ignorance and blind acceptance of disputed right wing smears is seen in comments such as, “Remember just a short while ago Obama would not visit the wounded soldiers in Germany…” The degree to which Clinton supporters and the McCain campaign echo the same Rove-style lies is just amazing.

Some Clinton supporters cite this (along with the sun raising in the east) as proof that Democrats should have nominated Clinton instead of Obama. What they fail to realize is that only a tiny number of vocal nuts on the internet actually think this way. The number of votes that Democrats would have gained by having Hillary Clinton anywhere on their ticket would be greatly outnumbered by the votes she would cost the Democrats with Clinton being an extraordinarily weak candidate in a national election campaign.