Palin vs. Putin

Debating hypotheticals is what political nerds do when they’re sitting at a bar since they’re too shy to talk to women.  Such debates are always an asinine waste of time. Except when they’re not.  On rare occasions they’re necessary.  Today is such an occasion.  

The prospect of a John McCain presidency – less and less likely, but a prospect nonetheless – now means the prospect of a Sarah Palin presidency.  As has been repeated ad nauseum, Palin would be a mere “heartbeat away” from the White House daddy chair.  Since McCain is 72 and a four-time survivor of skin cancer, the hypothetical seems less hypothetical.

How would this hockey mom, grandmother, and newbie governor of our 47th most sparsely populated state handle herself when confronted with, oh, let’s just pick something wild and crazy out of a hat: a testosterone-mad Russia invading one of her neighbors?  Call it Sarah Palin vs. Vlad “the Impaler” Putin.  


Palin with gun

Palin with gun


We hear that a good portion of the Republican base – the gun nuts, the Jesusheads, maybe even a part of the “Remember Ruby Ridge” camp – find Palin irresistible and even sexy.  A true VPILF. She’s tough, they say, strong, intrepid, principled.  Indeed, comes off that way.  Exxon, BP, et al got their asses handed to them when Palin was chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.  .  Stories of how her the bodies of her political enemies litter the Alaskan landscape have filled the airwaves of conservative talk shows.  Even The New Republic has published a piece calling her “a true political savant” whose accomplishments in office “routinely outperform her resume.”  

We can have little doubt that Sarah Palin is a tough woman, even an admirable woman.  In fact, if you’re of her political bent, she may even make an excellent president one day.  But not today.  

China is ambitious and growing, Russia is resurgent, the EU presents complicated problems for our own economy, and the Middle East is, well, the Middle East is as it always is.  These problems are intertwined and pose grave strategic risks; move a pawn there and your knight may be in jeopardy; don’t move the pawn and you risk your bishop.  The calculus involved requires experience and training as well as a lifetime of study.  Is Sarah Palin prepared to play at this level?  No.  


Putin with gun

Putin with gun

Then again, few presidents in recent history have entered the office with the sort of foreign policy experience that would seem to be a prerequisite for the job.  Neither Bush nor Clinton nor Reagan had much besides their wits, their advisors, and, yes, their experience as governors to inform their decisions.  Only George H. W. Bush could brag of having the home numbers of princes and prime ministers in his Rolodex before setting foot in the White House.  In short, nobody can really have what it takes to be president until, gray and haggard, their term is up and they slink off to write their memoirs.

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One Response to Palin vs. Putin

  1. Ludwig von Hapsburg says:

    Good points made. She is green. She is in a rather remote state, with little issues pertaining to border control, poor state infrastructure (road congestion, etc.), but does of course have her state’s share of corruption.

    Yet, aren’t we overlooking some items? Hate to mimic any given sound byte, but we are addressing the #2 on the ticket, not the #1. Historically, Governor’s have always been better positioned to run for the presidency, but alas, we are talking about the VP spot…not much to weigh on…and say what you will about Palin’s ability to take control with a steady hand if the inevitable befalls President McCain in the next 4 years.

    I point to a similiar concern. The time: 1944. Its FDR’s 4th run, and the man is not expected to see the peace in Europe, let alone the Pacific. Whom does he choose as a running mate? I widely marginalized Missouri Senator…no foreign policy background, not executive background. And look what was thrust upon him. Who’d of thunk?

    Give the MILF a chance…and leave the notion of a deer in headlights at the door. She will have a cabinet you know. And maybe Obama will be available for her to call at 3am for real advice. That is, unless its above his pay grade.

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