David Frum and Joe Klein Agree: McCain is the Risky Choice

Joe Klein sees the Palin problem less as a problem with Palin and more as a problem with respect to McCain’s (lack of) judgment:

I woke up this morning and realized that the most significant aspect of the Palin pick isn’t Palin–we really don’t know all that much about her yet–but the process by which she was selected. McCain really doesn’t know that much about Palin, either. He met her once in February. He interviewed her as part of the vetting process…and that’s it … All this raises again–yet again–the question of whether McCain is temperamentally suited for the presidency … the Palin pick reflects the most dangerous tendencies in McCain’s foriegn policy–the tendency to react, to overreact, to crises, without thinking it through. It also reflects a defiant, adolescent “screw you” attitude toward governance … his is not to disparage Palin. Her views seem very extreme to me–teaching “intelligent design” in schools?–but she may turn out to be a invigorating public presence, with the ability to learn fast (she’s going to have to do the latter). The problem is, there is absolutely no way on earth that John McCain can know what sort of person she really is, which is why this choice–his first major presidential decision–should be a matter of real concern for all Americans. He has proven himself, yet again, ready on day one–to shoot from the hip.

Klein notes us that conservative David Frum had a similar reaction:

The longer I think about it, the less well this selection sits with me. And I increasingly doubt that it will prove good politics. The Palin choice looks cynical. The wires are showing … I’d guess that John McCain does not have a much better sense of who she is, what she believes, and the extent of her abilities than my enthusiastic friends over at the Corner. It’s a wild gamble, undertaken by our oldest ever first-time candidate for president in hopes of changing the board of this election campaign. Maybe it will work. But maybe (and at least as likely) it will reinforce a theme that I’d be pounding home if I were the Obama campaign: that it’s John McCain for all his white hair who represents the risky choice, while it is Barack Obama who offers cautious, steady, predictable governance. Here’s I fear the worst harm that may be done by this selection. The McCain campaign’s slogan is “country first.” It’s a good slogan, and it aptly describes John McCain, one of the most self-sacrificing, gallant, and honorable men ever to seek the presidency. But question: If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency?

Memo to Bill Kristol – David Frum is not a liberal Democrat!

Update: Ruth Rosen notes that Sarah Palin belongs to a group called Feminists for Life:

Feminism is all about having choices, Foster told me, after her talk. I couldn’t agree more. Young women, she says, should have the right to bear a child and have access to high-quality, affordable child care. Again, I heartily agreed. But Foster is cleverly disingenuous. When I asked what she does to promote child care, her answers were vague and evasive. When I read the organization’s brochures aimed at campus physicians and psychologists, I found nothing about campaigning for child care. The real goal is to convince professionals to persuade young women to “choose” to bear a baby. Despite its protestations, Feminists for Life is not really about choice. You can see this on its Web site, where the slogan “refuse to choose” appeared repeatedly. Nor does the organization challenge the real difficulties working mothers face. Instead, it cleverly appropriates the words “feminist” and “choice” to convince young women that abortion is always an unacceptable choice. Part of the problem is that Foster either does not know her history or purposefully distorts the past. She spoke that night as though she had invented the idea of child care and describes pioneer feminists of the 1960s and 1970s as selfish, diabolical creatures who never wanted women to have the choice to bear a child. But she’s wrong. The three demands made at the first national march in New York City in 1970 included child care, equal pay for equal work and the legal right to “choose” an abortion. Many feminists, moreover, spent years trying to persuade the institutions where they worked that real equality for women required family-friendly policies, including child care. Foster also accused Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America of supporting abortion in order to stay in business. But I had to wonder about her own financial goals when I saw, in the organization’s magazine, that I could buy a “stunning new logo pin” in either sterling silver or 24-carat gold for $75. In the end, I decided that Feminists for Life is neither about feminism nor about choice. It is a cunning attempt to convince young women that choice means giving up the right to “choose.” Sarah Palin is the inexperienced woman Sen. John McCain has chosen as his running mate, hoping that she will attract the vital female vote.. It’s the worst kind of affirmative action, choosing a person he barely knows, who is completely unprepared to assume any national office. It’s like nominating Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court. It’s all about ideology and not about competence. To put it bluntly, Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton. Nor does she have the vision and brilliance of Barack Obama. This is an incredible insult to most American women. Just how stupid does he think we are?

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