Sunday, August 31, 2008

McCain's case for affirmative action

Over the past few years, I allowed myself to be lulled to sleep. I was ready to declare the need for race-based affirmative action over and was prepared to embrace a system that was geared more toward class and income.

Then John McCain and the right-wing cabal started to make their case for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Not as vice president. But as a more experienced, qualified candidate for public service than Obama.

And that's when I realized it was time to wake up.

In an interview with NBC News, McCain called comparisons of Palin's experience with Obama "ludicrous":

"She has balanced a budget, she had executive experience as governor, as mayor, as city council member and PTA. So she was in elected office when Senator Obama was still a 'community organizer.'

Sen. Obama has never had one day of executive experience. ... It’s no contest."
Agreed. But, obviously for very, very different reasons.

Look, there's reasonable ways to make the argument Palin was a good choice as v.p. Chief among them that she's a popular governor, she can reinvigorate the social conservative bloc of the party and that, in only two days, she's generated more excitement for the McCain campaign than it's had in the past 18 months. But arguing her qualifications as a public official over those of Obama ... that's just insulting and bordering on offensive.

I don't even have to mention the differences in education credentials (a B.S. from the University of Idaho compared to a B.A. from Columbia University and a law degree from Harvard) because that's too obvious. But I could do that. Easily.

Most importantly, Obama has been a U.S. senator for three years from the nation's fifth-most populous state while Palin, for little more than a year, has been governor of the 47th-most populous state. There's significant gaps in their experience on issues like foreign policy, pushing important legislation through the House of Reps and dealing with a multitude of other important federal issues on a national stage.

About the only professional experience where Palin has a significant edge over Obama is as a beauty contestant and a sportscaster. She might even be his equal as a basketball player though somehow I doubt it (in all fairness, Alaska did produce Carlos Boozer and Trajan Langdon).

Yet there's McCain and Co. arguing in all seriousness that Palin is better prepared than Obama to work in the White House. What an unserious argument from a group of dangerously irresponsible people.

And we should take note of this. If some people are willing to argue that Palin is more qualified than Obama, then we should wonder what some people are considering when they're making the job-hiring decisions at banks, newspapers, police departments, etc. Using that standard, no black person could ever be more qualified than any white person, ever. I mean, McCain even went so far as to refer to her "executive" experience on the local PTA and as a council member (which is odd, because quite the contrary, that's not an executive role) to sell his argument. Not for one second pausing to consider the value of certain types of experience - a manager of your local Taco Bell has more "executive" experience than McCain, for instance. But that's a weak point.

A word of thanks, however, to the McCain camp for rudely awaking me from my slumber. I'll try to remember to never sleep on affirmative action again.

UPDATE: Publius at Obsidian Wings explains the importance of using common sense when invoking the phrase "executive experience."


Librachick said...

glad you FINALLY woke up! Lol.
And ummm, Palin is not all that hot - the only way she could beat Barack in a beauty pageant is if the pageant was only for women...
Barack is hot fiyah though, lol. (I still don't feel all the way comfortable saying that, lol...but ladies - y'all know it's true!)'

But seriously, it's frightening to see how folks will just follow ANYTHING. I was just having a convo with a friend earlier today and he was saying how it doesn't matter WHAT a candidate does, Republicans will always vote the Republican ticket. ALWAYS. Even if the candidate contradicts their party platform...

What do you think?

blackink said...

Haha. Hey librachick, I can agree that Barack is a handsome dude. But given a choice to take someone out for a milkshake and a movie, I'm definitely going with Gov. Palin. That's the only vote she wins from me over Obama.

That said, I think voting straight party-line is ridiculous. We should always put our political ideals first, then the personalities. That's why I can't fathom Democrats voting for McCain. If the issues really matter, then you have to draw the line somewhere, no matter how much your feelings were hurt during the primary.

I mean, had Sen. Clinton emerged as the nominee, she'd have had my vote in the fall. It might have been a bitter pill to swallow but that's how much conviction I have in her ideals and platform. Voting is serious business and people should treat it as such.

Don't you think?