One of my smartest friends sent me a heartfelt email about his fears about the McCain-Palin ticket, and I think it’s very much worth reading. He definitely lands some blows.
I will now share some “private” thoughts. I really am worried about the utter absence of domestic policy seriousness on the part of the McCain campaign. I worry slightly more about Obama’s foreign policy instincts. Yet, as a friend suggested to me recently, Obama’s extreme risk aversion might be a plus: he won’t do anything egregiously bad. The question is, do you think this is a moment when we require foreign policy activism? By activism, I don’t mean invading a dozen countries, but I do mean something other than cautious retrenchment. And if Obama proves to be an activist presence — unlikely, in my view, but possible — what will be the tenor and orientation of his foreign policy activism?
As for McCain, well, I’m simultaneously optimistic and pessimistic about the economy. Pessimistically speaking, if you look at Flynt Leverett’s analysis, we could be on the verge of a collapse in our relative economic standing. Optimistically, I think you’re seeing some encouraging trends in low-cost areas of the country that could point to an economic revival in the not-too-distant future. But either way, I think we need a creative, forward-looking economic strategy, one that rests not on shibboleths concerning energy independence (both campaigns are guilty) or the abolition of offshoring (a bad, dangerous, destructive idea), but rather on building on our strengths: reforming the labor market by, among other things, reforming healthcare; pressing for tax reform, not just tax cuts; revitalizing public infrastructure, etc. Are any of these issues on the radar for McCain? Healthcare, maybe. His tax proposals are frequently ill-conceived. I don’t sense he’s interested in infrastructure. It’s discouraging.
Anyway, read my friend’s email below.
I know that this might be – “you’re a Republican, and I’m a Democrat,” and this is how things go… but I can’t muster up the counterintuitive middle ground here. I’ve even started to agree with Andrew a bit, although I’m savvy enough to know that attacking Palin is bad politics.
And yet… I don’t find her inspiring; I find her frankly, revolting. I was waiting for my sympathy to build because of Bristol and Trig, but it never came. I’ve started to loathe her. It’s so hard to listen to flacks cover for her, and not build some of that “elitism”. Her answer on the GSEs was profoundly stupid; and I’m saying that partly because I do think that economically we are right on the edge of a cliff that the McCain/Palin camp is wholly unprepared for. I trust Obama to hire Larry Summers and some Goldman execs; I do not trust McCain/Palin.
And this isn’t a question of Palin’s faith or policy inclinations. I’m pro drilling. I don’t particularly care about abortion. I believe in dinosaurs (and have little patience for literalists of any stripe) but I don’t care if she’s down on them. I like Bobby Jindal (could be president). I like Mike Huckabee (equally not ready for President, probably). She’s just not smart enough, not data/driven or analytic enough, and she’s not a good manager.
Just b/c she’s a social conservative, she’s not supportive of the ideals of Grand New Party. She’s a Monica Goodling. She crowed about “reading the terrorists their rights” during that agonizing convention speech. She will kill any chance of the ideas in GNP being implemented successfully. The ghost of John DiIulio is watching. She’s the furthest thing away from what you want as a Republican President. It’s Bush all over again. For anyone who wants good government, the trail of firings are way worse than any position on the Ketchican bridge.
And it’s hard to read the Scene on Wooten or Ketchican, when these things have been reported more clearly. No offense, but, she heralded Monegan for his efforts against bootlegging, tried to “promote” him to a position overseeing bootlegging, and then fired him for not dealing with bootlegging well enough. She lied about her own and her office’s communications with him. The bridge report you linked to left out her campaigning for the bridge when running for governor.
And McCain isn’t very GNP either! … [S]ince you’re basically a domestic policy conservative, do you think that McCain’s Afghanistan/Iraq policy is going to be better, let alone significantly better than Obama’s that you’re willing to roll the dice on someone without any domestic policy agenda?
I mean this in good faith. I believe that you believe that Palin is reasonably equipped for the job, and that she is not corrupt, and that her explanations of the bridge/Troopergate are fine. But I do not believe this, and it troubles me, because I think that you’re generally politically smarter than me. I can’t remember being this angry before; I voted for Kerry reluctantly, and have always been amused by Bush more than disturbed. So I cannot figure out why I am deranged in this case, or why it came to me so late in the game (I’m two weeks late).