Conor Friedersdorf outlines a frightening post-election crisis that involves truck bombs, Putin, and a dead president. The he asks: would you feel confident with Sarah Palin at the helm?
Phil Klein, rightly responds that he would be pretty scared no matter who was president in such an emergency.
Too true. The problem with Palin is not how she would react during a serious crisis, it is how she would handle the day-to-day tasks of the presidency. What impression would she give Dimitry Medvedev during a routine state visit? Can she set reasonable priorities during negotiations? Would she begin praying in tongues over Pope Benedict while on a diplomatic mission? I just don’t know.
I do not welcome this election. I do not believe John McCain or Barack Obama are competent to meet each task that would come their way. But I sense they have some idea of their limits, some deference toward the status-quo on matters where their knowledge is deficient. I have no such confidence in Palin.
We’ve seen her bubbly and assertive personality in a convention speech and the opening moments of the debate. In other moments we’ve seen (at best) a crippling nervousness that causes her to fall awkwardly silent or (at worst) a shocking and scandalous ignorance. Without more experience in office, or some grounding in political philosophy, her self-conception as a “Maverick” is a menace. Anyone can make a hash out of an unprecedented crisis. But only someone as incurious and empowered as a Palin can make even the routine seem perilous.