Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sarah Palin Is Qualified

John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate and that’s the only credential she needs.

No presidential candidate has ever picked his running mate based on their ability to lead the nation.

Did Kennedy select Lyndon Johnson because he felt the nation would be safe in his hands or because he needed votes from the South? Did Johnson tap Hubert Horatio Humphrey because he liked the guy’s name or because he was from the Midwest?

Did Richard Nixon choose Spiro Agnew because of the man’s intellect or was he looking to balance the ticket with an established East Coast pol?

Walter Mondale? Dan Quayle? Despite the fact Al Gore invented the Internet and was portrayed by Ryan O’Neal in a movie, even he wasn't exactly an “A” player before he was tapped.

What if McCain can’t go on and Palin steps in?

Harry Truman possessed no college degree, his only business venture went bankrupt and he had no foreign policy experience. After FDR died, Truman managed to wrap up WW II, integrate the armed forces and stare down the Soviets in the early days of the Cold War.

After JFK was murdered, Lyndon Johnson used his formidable political expertise to pass landmark voting and civil rights laws. But he utterly failed to manage the war in Vietnam and walked away from a re-election fight because of it.

Conclusion: It's a crap shoot.

Voting for a presidential candidate based on a running mate's qualifications to run the nation makes no sense -- unless you're betting the top of the ticket will die in office.

And that's macabre.

Foreign Policy Doesn't Count In Elections

During the presidential primaries Barack Obama was criticized for lacking foreign policy experience. Now vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin is suffering the same attacks.

Historically, though, American voters could care less.

Only two presidents elected since 1824 could claim foreign policy experience before taking office. The first was Dwight D. Eisenhower, who commanded multinational armies in Europe during World War II. The second was George H.W. Bush, who was ambassador to the United Nations, head of the American interest office in China and CIA director.

Other than Bush, only two vice presidents in the nation’s history held foreign policy credentials prior to election. John Adams, the nation’s first vice president, negotiated the peace treaty between the fledgling United States and Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson served as secretary of state before he became the nation’s second vice president.

By nominating McCain and Obama, voters have once again declared foreign policy experience and issues of secondary importance to the other characteristics and ideas they want from a national leader. Let’s get over it and move on.