Patterico's Pontifications

9/2/2008

For the Sake of Argument: Is a Certain Lightweight Better Than a Possible Lightweight?

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 11:49 pm

A commenter says:

For me, an independent,arguing over the respective “experience” of Obama or Palin is like arguing over which set of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” are better.

In my long experience as a voter, they have to be the two most inexperienced people ever nominated by a major party for the highest offices in the land.

One party gives me a complete lightweight and the other gives me a 72 year old man with a history of cancer who could have a stroke tomorrow but whose understudy is a complete lightweight. With these as my choices, I really am at a loss.

I don’t accept the characterization of Palin as a lightweight. But, just for the sake of argument, let’s assume that Palin is much of a lightweight as Obama.

This is still an incredibly easy question to answer.

If the choice is between a certain lightweight and the possibility of a lightweight, which would you choose?

If someone gave you a 100% chance of losing ten dollars, or the possibility of losing ten dollars, which would you choose?

If you were offered the choice of a) a certain punishment of having to read Andrew Sullivan for 24 straight hours, or b) the mere possibility of having to read his tripe for 24 agonizing hours, which would you choose?

Why is this even a question?

I had this debate with a colleague today, who kept saying that he was comparing Palin to Obama, and worried that McCain might kick off after 2, 3, or 4 years.

“Wait a second,” I said. “Why are you comparing Palin to Obama? Obama is running against John McCain. I think people are going to be surprised when they tune in for the presidential debate and see that the person sitting across from Obama is not Sarah Palin, but a guy named John McCain. A guy whose experience blows Obama away. And when voters see that, with their eyes, all that Democrat carping about experience is going to boomerang onto Obama with a vengeance.”

Say McCain kicks off after 2 years. You’re telling me that Obama is more ready to be President after 4 years of being a Senator than Sarah Palin would be after two years of being a Governor, coupled with two years of being the Vice President of the United States?

This isn’t praise of the concept of learning on the job, mind you. It’s just presenting the reality that Obama would be diving in unprepared on Day One, whereas Palin would almost certainly have the benefit of some experience as a Vice President before becoming President — unless you think McCain is going to choke on that pretzel while his hand is still on the Bible.

It’s the difference between Number One and Number Two. Number One starts on Day One.

Somehow, the Democrats have managed to convince some members of the public that this is Obama vs. Palin. But it’s not — and when the debates come around, that will be clear.

And Sarah Palin is going to absolutely mop the floor with Smarmy Joe Biden. If you want to see her in action in a debate, check out PrestoPundit’s video of the 2006 gubernatorial debate.

Excitable/hysterical pundits notwithstanding, this is not a woman without substance. And that’s the real answer to the commenter’s question. Sarah Palin is no “lightweight” anyway. So calm down and get ready to fill that bubble in for McCain-Palin.

35 Comments

  1. It used to be a bit irritating when Patterico would get angry at some dishonest journalist and go on and on insulting him… but I think I get it now. I’m loving all the anger at Sullivan. It sincerely brings a smile to my face every time I see a story is b Patterico because I know he’s going to rag on Andrew.

    by the way folks: Wednesday the 3rd is the last day to donate money to the Mccain / Palin campaign.

    Comment by Juan (4cdfb7) — 9/3/2008 @ 12:29 am

  2. You’re really on a roll recently. Well done.

    Comment by DRJ (7568a2) — 9/3/2008 @ 12:30 am

  3. Juan–

    I believe that November 3rd is a Monday.

    Comment by Kevin Murphy (0b2493) — 9/3/2008 @ 12:46 am

  4. Still … it would be entertaining if the debate matchups were Biden vs McCain and Obama vs Palin.

    Comment by aunursa (5daa82) — 9/3/2008 @ 12:48 am

  5. Excellent counterarguments. It figures. ;-) The people making these illogical comparisons and statements are grasping at straws to delegitimize Palin in any way they can. But they cannot argue their way past the plain facts that Obama is simply inexperienced and unqualified and Palin is the nominee of their dreams (or would be if she were a Dem).

    I can’t wait for the debates.

    Comment by Peg C. (48175e) — 9/3/2008 @ 12:48 am

  6. Kevin,

    Juan was referring to September 3rd.

    Comment by aunursa (5daa82) — 9/3/2008 @ 12:48 am

  7. Can you imagine Barack Obama vs Sarah Palin in a debate?

    Comment by aunursa (5daa82) — 9/3/2008 @ 12:50 am

  8. Aunursa, got that now. John’s taking public money. Guess I forgot that that meant there was a cutoff.

    Comment by Kevin Murphy (0b2493) — 9/3/2008 @ 12:51 am

  9. Great post, Patterico.

    First, there is a third option in the Sullivan question, and that is suicide.

    Second, one of the overall themes of the smear campaign is fear, based on possible future events.

    1) McCain and health problems (they never mention McCain’s mother, or the fact that Joe Biden is 66 and has had health issues as well)

    2) Palin and Roe vs. Wade – which depends not only on problem #1, but the retirement of a SCOTUS that would change the balance, and then Palin picking someone who would overturn it (and in the process somehow erasing Scalia’s written statement that there’s no constitutional case for outlawing abortion at the federal level), and then having that SCOTUS behave as they’re ‘supposed’ to behave (something not exactly fixed with respect to SCOTUS appointees), and defeating any action by Congress to appease what would be a large section of the electorate upset with the change.

    3) Palin not convincing enough 17 year olds to abstain from sexual relations to prevent a massive baby boom. (Now the VP is the country’s mommy)

    and on and on. With respect to #2, it’s absolutely incredible that this argument is even being made. If incredible coincidence is to be taken into account, then what about the possibility of Obama appointing a SCOTUS that doesn’t follow his instructions, and then overturns R vs W? What about that possibility?

    And, most insulting of all, is the complete and total avoidance of Palin’s track record against government corruption. Fighting corruption is something that she has done, which raises their possibility of repetition considerably.

    Which, again, to me, explains the onslaught of slime from the Obama/Biden campaign.

    They must ignore her political track record, and smear her with infinitely unlikely scenarios.
    Obama/Biden – corruption personified.

    Comment by Apogee (366e8b) — 9/3/2008 @ 12:52 am

  10. 3) Palin not convincing enough 17 year olds to abstain from sexual relations to prevent a massive baby boom.

    Thereby saving Social Security!
    Vote Palin.

    Comment by Perfect Sense (9d1b08) — 9/3/2008 @ 2:31 am

  11. Although I rarely agree with you, Patterico, I typically find your reasoning and arguments sound.

    This, however, is a far cry from reasonable and sound. To begin with, no Democrat that I’ve talked to is comparing Palin to Obama. In fact, it’s McCain supporters who use that comparison to their detriment. All arguments about experience have been launched towards Palin’s record (and her record alone), not in comparison to Obama.

    Like you write, there’s a difference between Number One and Number Two. Your defense of Republican Number Two by comparing to Democratic Number One does in no way legitimize the talking point.

    Let’s worry about McCain and Obama, Palin and Biden. And that goes across either side of the aisle.

    Comment by N (7fd1b7) — 9/3/2008 @ 3:00 am

  12. N, if you seriously have not seen or heard a democrat compare Palin to Obama, then I guess you haven’t heard democrats such as Obama, who claimed he was more experienced than her because his campaign budget is higher than Wasilla’s (though a tiny fraction of Alaska’s… Obama pretended Palin was not a Governor).

    In fact, every democrat on every major news outlet and most papers have made these types of comparisons. If you haven’t seen these, then perhaps that’s not a limitation of Patterico’s.

    Comment by Juan (4cdfb7) — 9/3/2008 @ 3:16 am

  13. N - Let’s worry about McCain and Obama, Palin and Biden. And that goes across either side of the aisle.

    – You’ve got it!
    McCain vs. Obama, Palin vs. Biden:

    Maverick vs. Marxist, Outsider vs. Insider

    Military vs. Lawyer, Executive vs. Legislator

    POW vs. AWOL, Babe vs. Boob

    Rugged West vs. Chicago Machine, Largest State vs. America’s Toothpick

    No Earmarks vs. Roll Out The Pork Barrel, Makes Grown Men Weep vs. Made Samuel Alito’s Wife Cry

    Firm Positions vs. Above My Pay Grade, Palilicious vs. Gaffe-O-Matic

    – And a special four-for-all: McCain, Obama, Palin, Biden

    Can’t Raise His Arms Above His Head, Can’t Decide What He Believes, Can’t Be Intimidated By Anyone, Can’t Shut The Fuck up

    Comment by Icy Truth (d9ccad) — 9/3/2008 @ 4:06 am

  14. Why does your co-worker think Palin will be just as much of a lightweight if McCain kicks off after 2+ years? Wouldn’t Palin’s present experience + 2 years as VP make her infinitely more qualified to assume office then than Obama is now? As Joe Biden rightly noted, the Presidency is no place for on the job training. The Vice Presidency? Why not?

    Comment by Xrlq (62cad4) — 9/3/2008 @ 4:06 am

  15. Dropped Bombs On The Viet Cong vs. Threw Grandma Under The Bus, Fights Corruption In Her Own Party vs. Not Only The Owner – Also A Client

    Comment by Icy Truth (d9ccad) — 9/3/2008 @ 4:29 am

  16. When your #1 is comparing himself to the opponent’s #2, they are in trouble.

    Comment by JD (5f0e11) — 9/3/2008 @ 4:43 am

  17. I am enjoying seeing the Democrats put the Attainment of Power before both ethics and the people. It shows what a slime bucket the Democrat party has become.

    Comment by PCD (5c49b0) — 9/3/2008 @ 5:03 am

  18. To begin with, no Democrat that I’ve talked to is comparing Palin to Obama

    Oh, bullshit! Obama himself is comparing Obama to Palin. What did you think his drivel about how Wasilla had a small budget and fewer employees than his campaign staff was all about?

    Comment by Steverino (1dda08) — 9/3/2008 @ 5:43 am

  19. by the way folks: Wednesday the 3rd is the last day to donate money to the Mccain / Palin campaign.

    After that, your Go Sarah! dollars can be directed to the RNC.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 9/3/2008 @ 6:16 am

  20. N:

    To begin with, no Democrat that I’ve talked to is comparing Palin to Obama.

    Of course most Democrats are too slippery to do that. Sometimes they talk about why experience doesn’t matter – then it’s all about what a great President Obama would make. Other times the talk is about how we can’t afford to have someone as inexperienced as Palin one heartbeat away from the Presidency – then the talk is as though Palin were running for office in a vacuum. So you’re right in the sense that Democrats love to talk about one 2 some of the time, and the other 2 other times, but they sure as hell don’t want voters putting 2 and 2 together.

    In fact, it’s McCain supporters who use that comparison to their detriment. All arguments about experience have been launched towards Palin’s record (and her record alone), not in comparison to Obama.

    Among Obama Kool-Aid drinkers, perhaps. Among the general electorate? Rotsa ruck.

    Like you write, there’s a difference between Number One and Number Two. Your defense of Republican Number Two by comparing to Democratic Number One does in no way legitimize the talking point.

    Hogwash. The only real objection to a talented but inexperienced No. 2 is that No. 2 could be vaulted into the No. 1 position at a moment’s notice. So talking about Palin’s supposed inexperience while ignoring Obama’s is disingenuous in the extreme.

    Let’s worry about McCain and Obama, Palin and Biden. And that goes across either side of the aisle.

    I’ve got a better idea: let’s cover all the bases and worry about everyone who is either running for President or running for the office that could result in their Presidency if something bad were to happen between November 4, 2008 and January 20, 2013. Let’s hold at least one debate between Palin and Biden, as is customary, followed by another between Biden and McCain, yet another between Palin and Obama, and 10 more between McCain and Obama. That way, by November 4, voters will know what they’re getting (a deal-breaker for Democrats, I know).

    Comment by Xrlq (b71926) — 9/3/2008 @ 6:22 am

  21. Yes. Barack Obama is better than Sarah Palin in every concievable way.

    Now ask me a hard question.

    Comment by David Ehrenstein (961ad1) — 9/3/2008 @ 6:26 am

  22. #13 Icy – you da man – again. Laugh out loud funny.

    Comment by rhodeymark (6797b5) — 9/3/2008 @ 6:33 am

  23. Obama is more ready to be President after 4 years of being a Senator

    Uhh, make that 150 days as Senator followed by 2 years of campaigning for president.

    Comment by physics geek (6669a4) — 9/3/2008 @ 6:41 am

  24. As long as it’s Palin vs. Obama, McCain wins.

    Comment by MartyH (00ac40) — 9/3/2008 @ 6:56 am

  25. Anyone citing Obama’s record and time of service in the Senate must be insane – other than not being in the chamber most days, the others he’s deigned to show up he’s primarily voted “present.” Present for what?

    Obama – representing Illinois approximately 20% of the time.

    Comment by Dmac (874677) — 9/3/2008 @ 7:14 am

  26. If the choice is between a certain lightweight and the possibility of a lightweight, which would you choose?

    Sometimes what’s important is what people have done with their opportunities. I am really impressed with what Gov. Palin has done with hers. And then you look at someone who voted ‘present’ over 100 times in the state Senate…the contrast is very clear.

    Comment by MamaAJ (788539) — 9/3/2008 @ 7:18 am

  27. Hey, what’s the matter with “on the job training”? According to Lindsay Graham in today’s Washington Post

    “She can do fine in foreign policy because of the infrastructure we have around us. She’s smart and she will learn over time,” he said, adding that when it comes to selecting a vice president, “there is no perfect person. If we could have found someone who’s an expert in everything, we would have picked ‘em, right?”

    As Mrs. Palin herself would say, Yup, yup.

    Comment by David Ehrenstein (961ad1) — 9/3/2008 @ 7:32 am

  28. If Hillary has a vestige of love for America and any concern at all for the future of our children, she will not leave our country’s fate to two old foggies and two lightweights. She will immediately start a campaign as a third-party candidate. I say this as a life-long Democrat.

    Comment by nk (21731d) — 9/3/2008 @ 8:25 am

  29. Palin’s executive experience far, far outweighs Obama’s For a somewhat complete analysis of the two, go see: http://jraymondwright.blogspot.com/2008/09/compare-two-palin-obama.html
    McCain-Palin in a landslide. Obama will be lucky to carry 10 states.

    Comment by J. Raymond Wright (d83ab3) — 9/3/2008 @ 9:12 am

  30. “To begin with, no Democrat that I’ve talked to is comparing Palin to Obama.”

    – - -

    Of course they’re not. That would be dumb on their part.

    They’ve found a way to keep the press completely away from the subject of Obama’s inexperience. Instead of analysis of Obama’s strengths and weaknesses, we get to see Obama-induced quiverings and gaspings, and hear about how they just can’t help but be swept up by him!

    Now, they need to attack Palin’s “inexperience” without triggering a similar examination of Obama by the press. Thankfully for them, the press has been amenable, either coughing loudly or simply leaving the room when the words “Obama” and “experience” come too close to each other in discourse.

    Here’s the new press mantra, as far as I can interpret it: Palin has no real experience that would be pertinent to the job of VP, which is very, very bad, and also very very unlike Obama, who has scads of experience no matter what anyone says and even if he has some gaps experience is really overrated and just look at him isn’t he pretty?!

    Comment by bobby b (361921) — 9/3/2008 @ 9:57 am

  31. #21 – rhodeymark

    Icy – you da man – again. Laugh out loud funny.

    – Thanks, Mark. It looks like I’m the first one to use Palilicious™. That seems hard to believe but I could find no evidence that anyone has used it, other than a World of Warcraft character where the name is extracted from “paladin”.

    That’s probably the case because it’s sexist. I denounce myself.

    Comment by Icy Truth (614178) — 9/3/2008 @ 10:36 am

  32. “Somehow, the Democrats have managed to convince some members of the public that this is Obama vs. Palin. But it’s not — and when the debates come around, that will be clear.”

    Actually Patterico, no it’s the McCain camp and his supporters that have done a good job of turning the debate into Obama vs. Palin.

    I think that might have been one of their factors in choosing Palin.

    Comment by Oiram (983921) — 9/3/2008 @ 10:57 am

  33. the “other quagmire” …

    I sat in on a session with three leaders of Veterans for Obama, a group of retired young officers who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, courtesy of the New Republic’s writer on the scene, David Samuels. With passion and enthusiasm, these young people spoke of their hopes for nation-building in Iraq. The George W Bush administration should have pute twice the resources into the beleaguered country, they harangued me – not just soldiers, but agronomists, traffic cops, lawyers, judges, and physicians. The Department of Agriculture should have mobilized, along with the Department of Justice.

    Nation-building? Doubling down on the US commitment to Iraq? Isn’t that trying to out-Bush the Bush administration, while Obama campaigned on getting out of Iraq and spending the money on programs at home? Unblinking, one of the soldiers said, “That’s what we think Barack will do.” They believed in a more expensive version of the administration’s program, and faulted Bush for half measures – and somehow they believed that Obama really agreed with them, all the public evidence to the contrary. And they believed in Barack with perfect faith.

    Who’s zoom’in who ??

    Comment by Neo (cba5df) — 9/3/2008 @ 11:04 am

  34. no it’s the McCain camp and his supporters that have done a good job of turning the debate into Obama vs. Palin

    You don’t keep up much do you Ori?

    Comment by Lord Nazh (899dce) — 9/3/2008 @ 11:59 am

  35. Your implicit support of Palin is noted.

    And you will eat these words.

    Patterico in 3 months: “But, but, but I never said Palin was QUALIFIED, only that she was MORE qualified than Obama…”

    Comment by Anonytroll (edae44) — 9/3/2008 @ 2:10 pm

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