In the past week or so I’ve had close to 87 million people send me this poll on PBS.org. The poll is asking if Sarah Palin is qualified to be the Vice President or not. Let’s ignore the fact that polls like this are insanely hackable for just a moment, and ask the larger question, why does anyone care? People are acting like this is the actual vote and the outcome of this poll will some how have an impact on, well, anything except the traffic to PBS.org. It won’t. So what the hell?
But the larger question is about this “qualifications” thing. Is she qualified? Well let’s look at what the qualifications are:
Qualifications for the Office of President
Age and Citizenship requirements – US Constitution, Article II, Section 1
No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.
Term limit amendment – US Constitution, Amendment XXII, Section 1 – ratified February 27, 1951
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.
So is she qualified? Yes she is. But being elected to this isn’t really about who is qualified is it? It’s about who is the best person for the job, and that’s a much better question. Is she the best person for this job? The person who can do a better job than anyone else in the country? I don’t know how anyone can answer that question with a “yes.” She didn’t have a passport until last year, that alone tells me she isn’t the best person for the job. I should not be more well traveled than the president of the united states. I shouldn’t be more well traveled than anyone in major public national office. A major part of running a country is relating to other countries, which requires having been to them. That alone is enough reason for me to know she isn’t the best person for the job.
This on the other hand, is enough to scare the piss out of me. In this Newsweek piece, Sam Harris makes one of the best cases against I’ve seen yet. He writes about her religion:
“In the churches where Palin has worshiped for decades, parishioners enjoy “baptism in the Holy Spirit,” “miraculous healings” and “the gift of tongues.” Invariably, they offer astonishingly irrational accounts of this behavior and of its significance for the entire cosmos. Palin’s spiritual colleagues describe themselves as part of “the final generation,” engaged in “spiritual warfare” to purge the earth of “demonic strongholds.” Palin has spent her entire adult life immersed in this apocalyptic hysteria. Ask yourself: Is it a good idea to place the most powerful military on earth at her disposal? Do we actually want our leaders thinking about the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy when it comes time to say to the Iranians, or to the North Koreans, or to the Pakistanis, or to the Russians or to the Chinese: “All options remain on the table”?
Also, isn’t it somewhat telling that all the sudden the discussion is no longer Obama vs. McCain but now Obama vs. Palin. And what does it mean that half the country is ask “who the hell is this woman and is anyone really serious about her being VP?” while the other half is spending all their time making up excuses to justify everything she says and does?