Sarah Palin and John McCain’s Judgment and Health

For progressives and Democrats, there’s lots to dislike about the GOP VP choice Sarah Palin.
As Melissa McEwan notes:

For the record, there is plenty about which to criticize Palin that has absolutely fuck-all to do with her sex. She’s anti-choice, against marriage equality, pro-death penalty, pro-guns, and loves Big Business. (In other words, she’s a Republican.)

Now for me the pro-death penalty and pro-gun stances aren’t a concern, but the rest is, and those two issues are core Democratic platform stances. Much as I dislike the folks at the DailyKos – many items on the list of 45+ Problems for McCain’s VP in just 35 Hours is worth a look.

Palin’s also got some pretty serious ethical problems, the surface of which is Troopergate as Doug Masson explains:

Palin’s sister apparently did not exercise great judgment in choosing her husband, Mike Wooten, a State Trooper. She filed for divorce, and things got ugly. No real political problem there. Messy divorce proceedings aren’t exactly uncommon.

But then, while the divorce was pending, Sarah Palin got elected governor and she and her family began pressuring the State police chief to fire Wooten. The police chief wouldn’t do it, and she fired him. Then she denied that she and her family had been involved in pressuring for Wooten’s termination.

Now she is backtracking on her denial that she pressured for Wooten’s termination, and an investigation has been launched into whether the police chief’s termination was improper.

There are some other ethical questions waiting in the wings to come to light as well that list of 45 problems covers the beginnings of them. I haven’t even begun to read through all those links yet.

Palin also has very little experience governing, and as Paul Begala notes on CNN, that’s a dangerous choice for VP:

Palin a first-term governor of a state with more reindeer than people, will have to put on a few pounds just to be a lightweight. Her personal story is impressive: former fisherman, mother of five. But that hardly qualifies her to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

For a man who is 72 years old and has had four bouts with cancer to have chosen someone so completely unqualified to become president is shockingly irresponsible. Suddenly, McCain’s age and health become central issues in the campaign, as does his judgment.

Emphasis mine. Steve Benen echos that concern:

Palin’s qualifications are, to a very real degree, secondary to the issue at hand. What matters most right now is John McCain’s comically dangerous sense of judgment. He picked a running mate he met once for 15 minutes, who’s been the governor of a small state for a year and a half, and who is in the midst of an abuse-of-power investigation in which she appears to have lied rather blatantly. She has no obvious expertise in any area, and no record of any kind of federal issues. McCain doesn’t care.

Sensible people of sound mind and character simply don’t do things like this. Leaders don’t do things like this. It’s the height of arrogance. It’s manifestly unserious. It’s reckless and irresponsible. It mocks the political process. Faced with a major presidential test, McCain thought it wise to tell an imprudent joke of lasting consequence.

That may sound like a flippant question, but it deserves a serious answer. Is there something wrong with him? Might this be evidence of some kind of impulse problem, as reflected in his shoot-first, think-second approach to foreign policy?

When I think about the respect that John McCain had worked so hard to develop, the stature he’d taken years to cultivate, and the reputation he’d built his career on, it’s breathtaking to see him throw it all away. If there’s a more complete collapse in modern political times, from hero to clown, I can’t think of it.

We’re poised to learn a great deal about Sarah Palin, but we’ve just learned even more about John McCain. He’s fundamentally unsuited for the presidency.

These are all serious and legitimate questions — and ones that deserve some examination and thought. It’s unfortunate that some of the first things out of the gate we’re hearing about from many so-called progressives on the choice of Palin are:

I hope I don’t need to explain why that’s sexist asshatery.

former beauty queen/McCain’s new girlfriend

— She has 5 kids! How will she care for them?!
Her husband and nanny are there to help with the kids, same as if she were a guy with five children. And asking the question in the first place is sexist asshatery.

She has a downs syndrome child! How will she care for it?!

Her daughter had the kid, and she’s pretending to be the mom!

OMFG. You’re kidding with this, right? Way to shit on her sixteen-year-old daughter. That’s just ugly, and mean-spirited.

And I know at least one family who handled a teen pregnancy this way. (No, a real family, not Bree Hodge.) I don’t
think it’s my place to pass judgment on a tough situation like that. When a kid needs to be taken care of an a young woman needs to be able to have a young-adulthood and prepare her for her adult life, I can see why some families might decide this is the best thing.

I’ve been breathing fire lately about all of the sexism thrown around in this election — If you’ve truly not seen it — the Shakesville blog has been running multi-part series about this subject throughout the election cycle that have provided more coverage than I ever could:

Hillary Sexism Watch (currently on part #109).

Michelle Obama Racism/Sexism Watch

Obama Racism/Muslim/Unpatriotic/Scary Black Dude Watch

and now:

Sarah Palin Sexism Watch

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