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August 30, 2008

McCain's Puts Country Second
Posted by Michael Cohen

John McCain has been spending quite a bit of the summer telling voters that he puts "country first" while his opponent Barack Obama puts his own political aggrandizement first.

I wonder how John McCain can make that argument with a straight face after the selection of Sarah Palin as the GOP Vice Presidential nominee. There are many things that can be said about Mrs. Palin, but qualified to be President of the United States is not one of them. This is a woman, who has been Governor of Alaska for less than two years and before that she was mayor of a town of 6,000 people - this is not what anyone would consider a presidential resume. Her foreign policy experience is simply non-existent. 

But putting Mrs. Palin aside for a second, this pick says far more about John McCain and where he ranks country vs. his own political advancement. John McCain is 72-years old with a history of cancer. The question of his mortality has to be front and center in his selection of a running mate. In many respects, this is the single most important and consequential Vice Presidential selection since FDR chose a running mate in 1944.

The person who McCain selects has to be 'ready to lead' on day one; they have to be knowledgeable about foreign policy and national security affairs in order to take over a country that is waging two foreign wars.  It is simply impossible to say this about Sarah Palin. No one can reasonably argue that she has the necessary experience and background to serve as Commander in Chief.

So why did John McCain select her? Well Sarah Palin is a woman and the thought process seems to be that she will appeal to female voters, particularly disgruntled Hillary supporters.  As Ramesh Ponnuru noted over at National Review; "Can anyone say with a straight face that Palin would have gotten picked if she were a man?" Of course, there are plenty of women that John McCain could have chosen, like Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Meg Whitman, but they are pro-choice and thus not acceptable to social conservatives. Mrs. Palin, who is adamantly pro-life, however fits the conservative bill.

Clearly politics plays a role in every Vice Presidential selection, but has there ever been a more blatant example than this? There was a political consideration in picking Joe Biden, but no one questions that he is ready for the job. I have yet to hear a serious argument that Sarah Palin IS ready for the job of President. Indeed she is dangerously unqualified.

John McCain has made a Vice Presidential selection that from a foreign policy perspective couldn't be more irresponsible and reckless. Quite simply, when the stakes were highest, John McCain has put his own political advancement first and the interests of his country second.


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Yes we should vote for Obama for president because of his wealth of experience in .........?

Mike, I would submit that the burden is no longer on Obama to prove that he is better prepared than McCain to be commander-in-chief. Obama has maintained a steady, thoughtful and consistent array of policy positions, both domestic and foreign.

McCain, on the other hand, has been a weather vane for popular opinion on various policy issues (against the tax cut before he was for it; for a federal gas tax holiday gimmick to get him some attention in the polls). And as much as he hates it, McCain demonstrated poor judgment in his vociferous support of a pre-emptive war. For all the hoopla about the surge, it was a tactical response to stem the violence, and it in no way changes the strategic failure that Iraq is for U.S. interests.

Additionally, McCain has shown himself extremely shallow in his understanding of the nuances of a given issue. Chalk up his (three times!) failing to know the difference between Shiites and Sunnis as either jetlag, exhaustion, or old fogginess, but not knowing that basic fact fundamentally affects your understanding of the issue. Maybe he just thinks that all Arabs (including Iranians, who are actually Persians) are terrorists by default, and such hair-splitting is not necessary. Also, his quip about looking into Putin's eyes and "seeing a K, a G and a B" may make for a crowd-pleasing sound bite, but it doesn't advance a coherent position about U.S.-Russian relations.

If, God-forbid, something were to happen to a President Obama, the nation would find comfort in the experienced hand of Joe Biden. Can you really say the same if Sarah Palin became president tomorrow? That willingness to sacrifice the good of the country for political expediency demonstrates a fundamental betrayal of McCain's own "Country First" slogan. It is the height of irresponsibility and short-sightedness and McCain should be ashamed of himself.

As William Kristol himself wrote in a NYT op-ed, the presidency is not a lifetime achievement award. As honorable and inspirational McCain's POW experience is it is in no way preparation to be a statesman abroad and a leader and manager at home.

Let's see that honest discussion about each campaigns’’ respective positions on policy issues, the pool of potential cabinet officials they will rely on to implement these issues, and the fundamental philosophies about America and the world that will shape and prioritize these policies.

There was a political consideration in picking Joe Biden, but no one questions that he is ready for the job

Really? I question that Biden is ready for the job, given his history of (1) facilitating and voting for the Iraq war, (2) obfuscation when he lied about it later and (3) currently lying about Georgia.

Obama has continually made the point (against Hillary) that experience doesn't matter, judgment matters. He even quoted Bill Clinton on it: "The same old experience is not relevant: You can have the right kind of experience and the wrong kind of experience."

Are you also contending that no one questions that Obama is ready for the job? Or that Biden is assuredly ready but Obama isn't?

Face it: If the Shrub can play-act at the exalted role of Commander-in-Chief than so can anyone.

I dunno. I'm more impressed with Sarah Palin then I am with Obama.

In politics since 1992, working her way up the ranks, as opposed to since 1997 for Obama. Won tough elections every time, as opposed to Obama who disqualified his first set of opponents, and stepped directly into a state senator slot.

As Alaskan governor, perhaps she didn't have to deal with Saudi Arabia, but she definitely had to deal with Canada. Or even worse, multi-national oil companies.

As Governor, she's had to manage a budget twice as large as Bill Clinton's when he was governor.

Yeah, only governor a year, but Obama has never managed anything.

I don't think the experience angle is a winner for Obama as Palin has more on some metrics compared to Obama's zero.

Personally, I think most members of Congress couldn't run a lemonade stand, much less a town of 9,000 people.

Bottom line, whatever her experience, I think she was fundamentally the reform pick, and unfortunately, if you want a reformer, you got to get 'em young before they get corrupted by the system.

OK, I'm just going to predict it: Sarah Palin will not be the vice presidential nominee of the Republican Party. Republican leaders are going to find some way of backing out this pick.

How does this pick reflect on John McCain seems to be the tact of the day. I realized beating up Jennifer Palin (I know) would do no good and maybe some harm, but there is no sense in detailing what a ridiculous choice this is, from the "I want to be the leader of the free world," perspective.

Ask yourself, how does the campaign John McCain has run upto this point reflect on the candidate? Right! There hasn't been an ounce of seriousness out of that camp - unless you count the treasonous charges the Ole Coot has been lobbing at Obama for the past month. For John McCain, we're talking the point of no return. Def Con 11.

He has tarnished his so-called "mavericky" image by adopting the far-right platform of his party; broke his word by waging a baseless Rovian campaign; and, as evident by the recent Time Mag article, has disgusted himself with the lack of courage, pride and honor he's shown to this point.

Is it even clear what his campaign theme is? We have POW, then there is P.C.F., oh and, Ready to Lead on Day One! The latter assertion has been in doubt since before he secured the nomination (remember the crew they fielded?).

Get ready for the N-Word!

By the way, what is the story with Bridget McCain? She hasn't been on the trail not once, and is missing from the People Mag spread of the potential R first and second families.

All I can say is John Bush better be happy Barack Obama is a Muslim. And Black!

John McCain is expected to be dead in 3 yrs. 364 days from today. I think we could make it with this Susan Palin lady for a couple of months!

Ok, i've read everyones rant about this Palin lady, Biden and Obama, and i gotta tell you, when I first heard about Palin (who?) my jaw dropped. Not because shes a woman or because of her stance, but because of who McCain is (or who he says he is), "A MAVERICK", "A POW" and an advocate for "COUNTRY 1ST". He just ate everything he says he stands for. Obama said this would happen in so many words, amazing. So now what? We have just been shown a glimps into the future of our beloved country once again by the GOP of whats to come if this foolishly selfish man becomes president, and my question to you is, what are we going to do about this? I don't know about you guys but i cant do this again, not another 4 years of a second rate life. My children's future is far too important to me. Palin is not Vice Presidential nor Commander and Chief material. What she is though is a distraction and a placed marketing brand to attract women (as if women are somekind of idiots). So now what? MAVERICK? POW? COUNTRY FIRST? My God. We have to pay attention to what's going on! We cannot put this man in office.

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