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.]


  1. I have to come back and look at video and read article. Time constraints.

    Both sides feel the supporting side doesn't ask the hard questions of their favored candidate.

    Believe me...the View (which I don't watch)did not treat McCain the same as Obama and his wife.

    Maybe it was an unfair clip if edited out, but I was disappointed to see Barbara Walters not make any eye contact with him as, bur rather he only got the side of her cheek as she asked him questions.

    Obama gets called "sexy" and asked if he is related to Brad Pit? Hard hitting?

    I have always respected Barbara Walters and enjoyed her interviews on the news shows. But this show is NOT a news show and so perhaps I am wrong to mention this.

    A person can believe in God and still be a good candidate. Look at George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. Well I know you don't like Regan.

    I do like the surgery analogy.

    Btw... I respect you even more for knowing your limitations and not looking to prove something, ride in like a cowboy to save the day. You put the patients first. Thus the perfect analogy for your post.

    Is Wall street still standing? haven't looked at the news yet.

    Debates should be interesting.

    Palin will show what she is or isn't made of then.

    McCain can hold his own with foreign policy. He's lived it for ALL these years.

    Whether you agree with his views or not...he does seem to know what he believes, doesn't change with the political winds and says what he thinks.

    It will be most interesting to see the off the cuff responses with both candidates.

    This stuff with wall street too is so intense.

    I hope it is a landslide election for the winner because I just could not stand cries of cheating and miscounted chads again.

    Oh and about withholding the military vote...of ALL votes (and we are all important)the idea...that the people risking their lives in support of our country (whether anyone agrees on that issue)is appalling! I seriously that does not happen again!

  2. seaspray: I don't think the measuring stick is the fairness of The View. Silly Sarah has been kept from the media to an unprecedented degree. In the only two interviews which asked actual questions, she did okay when she found the right talking point on her note cards. When she didn't, she looked like the proverbial deer in the headlights, and made no sense at all.

    Believing in God isn't the issue: all of them profess to do so. But if it's fair to discuss the implications of things Obama's pastor said when he wasn't present, surely it's fair to consider what Palin's said when she was there. If you accept a guy who actually called women witches and had them cast out, if you believe a pipeline is god's will and that praying for it would get it done, it's relevant to how you might handle policy decisions. The Iraq war, after all, was god's will according to bush.

    Actually argue that being close to Russia (the capitol of which is several thousand miles from Alaska) makes one a foreign policy expert is beyond laughable. What's even more so is watching her and other reportedly intelligent people trying to defend it.

    Surely the Republican party has other women in it McCain could have chosen that actually filled the bill in ways other than pure politics.

  3. The view is politically biased entertainment for those of the same political persuasion.

    I don't watch it because I rarely turn the tv on but I also don't see any point in being aggravated by twits and so won't ever be putting it on in a political season as I do not care about their opinions. I was disappointed to see Barbara Walters, a journalist I have admired...let her political bias affect the quality of her interview.

    And I am all for asking the hard questions of ANY AND ALL candidates.

    It was her disrespect that was a total turn off. I liked and supported her in the early days when people talked against her when she was first breaking into the evening news.

    I also enjoy all most SNL political skits. The presidents are on spot with their characterizations. My personal favorite was the Parody on Al Gore's "Lock box" and I can appreciate the humor and that of the Colbert Report and John Stewart. That being said...I LOATHED the disgusting-not funny SNL skit last weekend about incest in Palin's family.

    I know I am off topic..just venting. If she can't handle that... then she certainly can't be VP but these politicians have tougher skins then to be affected by these petty insults. It's the talking heads on BOTH sides that try to stir the pot with that garbage hoping to rile up the thin skinned voting masses.

    Palin...possibly...and I am just tossing it out there...could be playing dumb like a fox... and then do a grand slam during the debates. We will see.

    McCain will ace foreign policy and Biden will in all likely hood trump her with that... but none of us knows for sure.

    As far as praying...Dr S., it is perfectly normal for someone to pray to their God for a pipeline, healing or whatever is important to them. that is what faith is all about. That doesn't mean God agrees with the prayers...OR...that he will answer them. But it is always acceptable to pray for such things. You can be a person of faith and not affect legislation with said faith.

    And if you read about the other presidents with gave them great strength to do the things they needed to do. Because one person has faith...does not mean you or anyone else has to.

    I thought she meant just because Alaska is close to Russia, just as Mexico is to Texas, etc..that Governors in those states have to be more aware of their borders. ? I would think that is a concern. i would also think that all states that border Canada are a concern too because of terrorists, etc.

    I think he chose her because she has demonstrated her willingness to go against her own party and because it takes a certain strength in character and would have been far easier to just stuff her pockets, shut up and go with the flow. He claims he wants to change things.

    Interesting how the republicans turned the change theme onto them and Obama, choosing Biden went with the old. That being said...I am glad he chose Biden because of his experience. I also liked the documentary Fox showed on Biden's life which actually helped me feel better about him. I thought that was quite fair for them to air that.

  4. "Whether you agree with his views or not...he does seem to know what he believes, doesn't change with the political winds and says what he thinks.

    I guess I should have responded to this, too. He's changed on Roe v Wade, he's changed on the Bush tax cuts, he's changed on immigration, he's changed on the "agents of intolerance," he's changed on the fundamentals of the economy being strong, he's changed on bailout of AIG and on deregulation. To name but a few. And, of course, with the selection of Palin, he's changed on "country first." If you want to argue for McCain, feel free. But do it in the context of what he's actually done, which is, in fact, the exact opposite of "doesn't change with the political winds."


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