Friday, October 3, 2008

Sarah Palin is no VP material (or Prez)

It is management parlance that a manager is only as good as his employees. No manager enrolls employees who are persistent nay-sayers. Certainly they would not select sycophants either. A manager, especially at higher executive levels, looks for some resonance in a person that is being hired. However it is expected that even a manager should be challenged on ideas, open enough to take professional criticism etc. All that means the employee should have the intellectual maturity to not be cowed down by authority, the intellectual heft to shine a different light on what is discussed, give a value added advice.

Sarah Palin is an intellectual lightweight. One of my favorite yardsticks in judging how people form ideas is to ask "what do you read". I love to know how a person is influenced, what are the channels they allow information to flow through. I especially look for how does a person seek ideas of both sides, does a person "actively seek" opposing view points.

Even Bush, given his label of being an incurious president, is actually well read. I know many might become apopleptic reading that. I give credit to a man who can plough through 1000+ pages of Roy Jenkins bio of Churchill. He invited Fouad Ajami and Bernard Lewis, two of the most pre-eminent scholars in Islam, the latter especially from archh liberal Princeton University, to discuss what he can expect out of Iraq. All of these are lost on a public that is focusing on his failures.

When I imagine Sarah Palin, sitting next to John McCain in the Oval office in a hurriedly convened cabinet meeting on analysing an economic meltdown or a crisis in Georgia or pushing for a sticky nuclear deal for India, I do not see her contributing anything in a value-added input.

What is all this crap of being folksy? What is all this "darn it" "you betcha", the barnyard diction. My foot I'll hate it for my VP to be talking like that in Davos. America, when it send out its leaders, should send out beacons of intellect and those who can command respect. Evoling hostility, as Bush does, based on ideological positions is respect too. As much we do not want a pointy headed egg-head in an ivory tower "representing" people we also do not want unvarnished plebians.

The question where she really blew was on the threat of Iran Vs Pakistan. She had no idea of the simmering cauldron that Pakistan is and how it could practically undo all the gains made in Afghanistan since 2001. Palin sought to frame the question of Iran solely within the parameters of Israel and prattled on and on about Israel as ally. I wondered if she was answering the question or campaigning in Florida for Jewish vote. Joe Biden blew that question out of the park with his command of ideas and facts.

Sarah needs to be sent home packing. Sorry McCain.

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