Friday, September 26, 2008
When I first went into practice, my partner asked me if I wanted to do vascular surgery. I'd done some in training, I told him -- fixed a carotid artery or two, repaired a couple of aortic aneurysms -- but I really didn't feel I'd had enough experience to do it in practice. "I'll help you do the cases until you're comfortable," he offered (and lest anyone think otherwise, he was an excellent surgeon and a really good guy.) Not wanting to pass myself off as something I was not, I demurred. The thought of trying to convince people to let me paw around in the inflow to their brains, knowing I'd be relying on someone else to make it happen, sat unwell.
At some level, watching the videos of Sarah Palin's interviews with Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson (Sean Hannity, as expected, never asked her anything harder than what it's like to be a mom), I found myself nearly feeling sorry for her. She's clearly in way over her head. It's possible she's smart; undoubtedly she has certain political skills, at least the ones necessary to succeed in small towns and in corrupt states. It might well be that, given time, she could become a decent Senator (if she can separate herself from her crazy religious beliefs.) But it's clear to everyone but the most damn-it-all-I don't-need-no-facts partisans she's absolutely not ready for the national stage. Looking furtively at her notes, mixing up her talking points, blithering.
But here's the thing: when McCain asked, she said yes. Surely she didn't think she was ready. (If she did, that's game, set, match: she's too clueless to be there.) She could have said no. Like I did, back then.
It's shameful. The shame is hers to share, but more than anyone, it's McCain's. Selecting her, whether it represents supreme carelessness or scary impulsiveness or craven cynicism, is an absolute disqualification from being president. It's reckless, and disrespectful. It's deeply worrisome; it disgraces both of them. I wonder if we'll ever get the truth: does he regret it now, or is he 100% cynicism. As the revelations rain upon them, are there second thoughts? Are his handlers angry as hell at him, or was it their idea? What are they saying, in private?
And, mostly, how can ANYONE, man or woman, look at her performance and remain enthusiastic?
[Update 1: Here's a more authoritative, and much lengthier statement, by a more famous person than I, which, it turns out, says much the same. Other than the surgery stuff.]
[Update 2: Well, by golly, lookee here.]