I Know You Are But What Am I?

Tom Smith brushes back Peggy Noonan‘s criticisms of Sarah Palin with,

Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, but I think Noonan is not in much of a position to criticize Palin. If you read Noonan regularly, one thing you notice is that, to be blunt, she’s not that deep. She’s a sensitive observer of political moods, symbols and atmospheres, but that’s about it. You would not want her in charge of your energy policy or negotiating with a big oil company.

The good news is that nobody’s putting her in charge of those things; rather, she’s in a position for which her talents and experience make her demonstrably well qualified. Can the same be said for Palin?

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, US Politics, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jim Henley says:

    I’d expect a squishy moderate like you do defend Peggy HUSSEIN Noonan, James.

  2. Bithead says:

    She is arguably better qualified in executive experience than is Obama himself, James.

  3. James M. says:

    It seems it eludes everyone that Palin is in an EXECUTIVE position as was many other Governors turned president in our countries past. She holds a higher security clearance than either of Biden or Obama, because of her involvement with the 49th Missile Defense Battalion, and she has made great strides in the State of Alaska including doing away with income taxes. Does this mean she is the best choice McCain could of made absolutely not but, he could have done much worse.

  4. markm says:

    she’s in a position for which her talents and experience make her demonstrably well qualified. Can the same be said for Palin?

    Odd comment James. Albeit the root of the piece is based on Noonan’s criticisms of Palin and everybody is entitled to their opinion but a VP candidates credentials are less troubling to me than the Presidential candidate himself/herself. Doesn’t a 3 year senator who has spent half that time campaigning seem lacking in experience and qualifications??. Granted, there is no test to qualify for the position but wouldn’t it seem that a Governor be more qualified than most any Senator as far as actually running something and being accountable??.

  5. Steve Plunk says:

    How long must we continue to debate the qualifications of Palin? There is no question she has as much experience as other candidates for president.

  6. John425 says:

    Just to set the record straight– This was sent to me earlier on Sarah Palin’s foreign policy experience:

    Question: What is America ‘s first line of missile interceptor defense that protects the entire United States ?

    Answer: 49th Missile Defense Battalion of Alaska National Guard.

    Question: What is the ONLY National Guard unit on permanent active duty?

    Answer: 49th Missile Defense Battalion of Alaska National Guard

    Question: Who is the Commander in Chief of the 49th Missile Defense Battalion of Alaska National Guard?

    Answer: Governor Sarah Palin, Alaska

    Question: What U.S. governor is routinely briefed on highly classified military issues, homeland security, and counter terrorism?

    Answer: Governor Sarah Palin, Alaska

    Question: What U.S. governor has a higher classified security rating than either candidate of the Democrat Party?

    Answer: Governor Sarah Palin, Alaska

    According to the Washington Post, she first met with McCain in February, but nobody ever found out. This is a woman used to keeping secrets.

    She can be entrusted with our national security, because she already is.

  7. carpeicthus says:

    Have a freaking independent thought, people. Palin has never enacted any authority over the National Guard. This is embarrassing.

  8. Dave Schuler says:

    The notion that you’ve got to have authority to be worth paying attention to is a widespread one these days, isn’t it?

    Folks, the ad hominem fallacy is a fallacy because it attacks the arguer rather than the argument. That the arguer is an authority merely tells you about the likelihood that something is true, not whether it is true.

  9. LaurenceB says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Ms. Palin’s stated position on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Her analysis is so deep on the subject, and so obviously well thought-out, I’m inclined to vote for her just on that issue.

    Add to that her meticulously crafted position on Health Care, and her long-stated, and deeply held positions on Free Trade.

    …Oh, you don’t know what Palin’s positions are on any of those things?

    …And you were going to vote for her?

    …Well, why would you vote for someone without knowing where they stand on the issues? That’s just weird.

  10. James Joyner says:

    What is the ONLY National Guard unit on permanent active duty?

    Being on permanent active duty in their federal capacity makes them, by definition, not under Palin’s authority.

  11. cian says:

    From the latest ABC/Washington Post poll:

    More challenges for John McCain: Likely voters overwhelmingly reject his effort to make an issue of Barack Obama’s association with 1960s radical William Ayers. Fallout continues from McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin for vice president, with 52 percent saying it weakens their confidence in his judgment.

    After 18 months of being vetted, of giving interviews to all major networks and national papers and having conducted 6 press conferences in the last three months, a majority of the country has decided Obama is fit to be president.

    Two TV interviews since her convention speech, and 52% of the country think her unqualified, and McCain irresponsible for having picked her.

    Game, set and, as the saying goes, match.

  12. The major problem with Palin isn’t just her c.v., but it is the fact that, to date, she has not demonstrated that she has given the major foreign or domestic policy issues of the day much thought.

    This is something that has to be taken into consideration when we talk about qualifications (which is more than just “experience”).

  13. Jeffrey W. Baker says:

    The fact that Alaska lacks taxes is due to Alaska being the biggest welfare state in the union. They tax extraction industries heavily and redistribute the proceeds to the people. From each according to his ability, and to each according to his needs. That’s the Alaska state motto, I’m pretty sure.

    If McCain/Palin are planning to scrap the income tax in favor of a massive tax on oil, gas, mining, and timber then I’m sure the Socialist Workers Party will be interested in endorsing them.

  14. Derrick says:

    These Palin talking points are just plain stupid. Everyday in America (at least before the implosion) people are hired for executive jobs based on their job interview. A shiny resume may get you in the door, but if you demonstrate little industry knowledge, a lack of understanding issues for the job and poor communication skills you aren’t going to be qualified. The fact is that Palin’s resume isn’t that impressive in the first place and she’s butchered half of her interviews. Goldman Sachs would have thrown her out on her rear after the Katie Couric interview.

  15. markm says:

    The major problem with Palin isn’t just her c.v., but it is the fact that, to date, she has not demonstrated that she has given the major foreign or domestic policy issues of the day much thought.

    A lot of that going around…from superdeduper experienced folk too:

    ogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/10/biden-to-suppor.html

    Jebus.

  16. Dave Schuler says:

    That’s the Alaska state motto, I’m pretty sure.

    Amusing but the state motto is “North to the Future”.

  17. Alex Knapp says:

    John425,

    Question: What U.S. governor is routinely briefed on highly classified military issues, homeland security, and counter terrorism?

    Answer: Governor Sarah Palin, Alaska

    What are you talking about? Her very first national security briefing was on Sept. 23 of this year.

    Not to mention this:

    http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2008/articles/2008/10/17/palin_omitted_from_white_house_iraq_troop_briefing/

    And how on earth do you know what her security clearance is compared to Sens. Obama and Biden? That informaiton is classified, and if you’re privy to it and have leaked this information, even in your comment, you may be in violation of Federal law.

  18. btenney says:

    If Obama is qualified to be president, Palin is imminently qualified. Actually no one is Qualifed for the job. What is required is the ability to deal with situations almost daily that are beyond any ones experience.
    Obama may be that kind of person, but there is absolutely no evidence of it.
    To the best of my knowledge he has never drawn a paycheck from the private sector, where performance is a necessity. Community Organizer. What a joke.
    Spell check says that Obama is not real.

  19. bains says:

    The one thing I have found lacking from all these conservative pundits dissing Palin is a well thought-out and well argued alternative. Of those in the corral, all had/have serious problems within certain demographics requisite for the full horserace. As such, I suspect that the complaints result mainly of petulance.

  20. Eric says:

    If Obama is qualified to be president, Palin is imminently qualified.

    That looks like a conclusion without any premises. Please provide premises in the form of copious evidence that surely you must have since Palin is “[e]mminently” qualified.

    Actually no one is Qualifed for the job. What is required is the ability to deal with situations almost daily that are beyond any ones experience.
    Obama may be that kind of person, but there is absolutely no evidence of it.

    Seriously? Did you just fly in from Mars? Obama’s been running for President for two years; he’s been in the Senate for four years; he’s laid out comprehensive positions on all the major policy issues; he at least appears to be cool and collected, and often gives thoughtful and knowledgeable responses to serious questions. Plus, 60%-70% of the country feel he has already demonstrated that he is qualified. And yet, you actually think there is “absolutely no evidence” of him having any qualifications at all to be President?

    Man, you rightwing nuthouse types really should get out more. Y’know, turn off your PS3, move out of your parent’s basement, kiss a girl (or boy).

    To the best of my knowledge he has never drawn a paycheck from the private sector, where performance is a necessity.

    Neither has John McCain. He’s been in the military or politics all his adult life. Oops, forgot about that part, huh?

    Community Organizer. What a joke.

    I see. So what about all that stuff we teach our kids, y’know, about how in America it doesn’t matter where you come from, you can be anything you want because America is the land of opportunity–we only mean that ironically, huh?

    And let’s examine your contempt for community organizers–you know, those people who live in your neighborhood and try to get people off drugs, or homeless people cleaned up and off the streets, or abused women help and safety. Yeah, those guys are such losers, huh. Silver-spoon gentry who didn’t grow up till they were 40 are so much better.

  21. bains says:

    Man, you rightwing nuthouse types really should get out more. Y’know, turn off your PS3, move out of your parent’s basement, kiss a girl (or boy).

    Nice to see the left remaining above the fray…

  22. anjin-san says:

    I see Palin’s fans are speaking out for her. Well, she is probably the biggest celebrity in the world. A lotta irony in that…

  23. graywolf says:

    The major disqualifier for Sarah Palin is that she hasn’t spent the last 35 years bending her elbow and bloviating at Georgetown cocktail parties with the “movers and shakers.”
    She represents “US.”
    Obama/Biden/Powell, ad. nauseaum represent “them” – the inside the beltway media, political hangers on and the rest of the professional bloodsucking class.
    Produces nothing, creates only damage.

  24. anjin-san says:

    Maybe some of the rocket scientists in here can tell us more about how Palin has taken care of business when “Putin rears his head and enters our airspace…

  25. bains says:

    Maybe some of the rocket scientists in here can tell us more about how Palin has taken care of business when “Putin rears his head and enters our airspace…

    Maybe you can tell how your top of the ticket has done so.

    Bad bad Palin; how dare she run for the Vice President on marginally better executive experience than the top of the other ticket.

    Eh, never mind that, let us examine Joe the plumbers high school records…

  26. Alex Knapp says:

    Bad bad Palin; how dare she run for the Vice President on marginally better executive experience than the top of the other ticket.

    Well, just because she has “experience” doesn’t mean she’s shown any competence on the job. In her short tenure as governor, she’s raised taxes on oil companies to the point that several new drilling projects in Alaska were cancelled (which is fine by me, but the “drill baby drill” crowd might think twice), nearly doubled the government payouts to Alaskans without regard to the effect on future budgets, replaced direct appropriations with bonds even though the state is running a budget surplus, been found guilty of ethics violations by a bipartisan legislative committee, begged for more federal government handouts for that “Bridge to Nowhere”, supported Ted Stevens even after his indictment, began a new program to offer bounties for the brutal practice of aerial wolf hunting and taken credit for building a pipeline that won’t break ground until 2011–if ever.

    Not exactly an inspiring record.

  27. anjin-san says:

    Maybe you can tell how your top of the ticket has done so.

    I don’t think Obama has made any claims about Putin “entering our airspace” (something the Air Force flatly says did not happen)