Her Own Woman? 

If John McCain wins the presidential election, Sarah Palin will be next in line for the presidency. Given the Old Sailor's age and medical history, a vote for McCain is thus a probable vote for the Mother of All Hockey Moms.

And hard as it is to fathom, Palin actually might be worse than George W. Bush, who still has at least (at some deeply subliminal level) enough functioning genetic code to know when it's time to call in the adults — e.g., naming Robert Gates as defense secretary and dumping the entire current financial crisis in Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's lap. Regardless of his fat-cat heritage, Paulson is at least someone reasonably conversant with the financial issues confronting the nation at this point, and President Bush at least knows his phone number.

On the other hand, we have no confidence whatsoever (and neither does former Secretary of Defense Colin Powell, among many others) that President Palin would look outside herself for "help" when she got in over her head. She is something Bush never was: cunning.

You can see it in how she comports herself and in her gangly but utterly confident body language. When Palin speaks, there isn't the empty mouthing of undigested and indigestible phrases you get in every GWB speech, where words are simply verbal confetti designed to keep the aural sky from looking completely empty. Nope, Palin's concepts may be one-dimensional, rooted in the same kind of Fantasyland values that the Decider embraces, and the cadence may be Fargo-esque, but Palin means everything she says. And more ...

The truly scary part is the possibility that she wouldn't lean upon a Gates or a Paulson in a time of need; that she really would hitch up a Joe the Plumber behind the dogsled to address our problems.

Ironically, Palin is perhaps the most macho candidate on a presidential ticket since Teddy Roosevelt saddled up with William McKinley in 1900. But unlike Roosevelt, she is woefully unread and proud of it. There would be no seasoned vice president in the background, advising her. Palin would be the boss in the White House, and she and her bizarre cabinet of dueling neo-con Rasputins could get us into nightmare scenarios we can't even begin to comprehend.

Bush is incurious, but at heart he's always been a part of the conservative elite. And when the chips are down (like now), he always does that elite's bidding. Palin may be as ignorant as a post, but she's smart like a fox. And she cares as little for what The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan thinks as she does for The New York Times' Maureen Dowd. She would be, in every sense of the word, her "own woman." And if that doesn't scare you, nothing will.

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