Republican spin-meister Karl Rove and failed Democratic presidential contender John Edwards squared off in a debate in San Francisco last week. Both were paid handsomely for their gig at the national Commercial Finance convention.
They sparred on various political hot-button issues, including George Bush's legacy, foreign policy, health care, etc. It wasn't long, of course, before the uber-subject of the week came up: Sarah Palin.
Rove said, "If she wants to run for president, she's gonna have to get somebody to move to Anchorage, Alaska, and help her take her game to another level." Very true, as far as I'm concerned, except I think her game is basically all blow-spout, no whale. I'm not sure what other levels she's capable of, frankly.
Edwards also had something to say about Palin: "The problem was, over time, particularly in the vice-presidential debate ... it was fairly obvious she wasn't ready to be president."
But here's the thing: If Edwards had somehow managed to win his party's nomination or if Barack Obama had selected him as his running mate, Palin would be the vice president-elect right now.
As you'll recall, The National Enquirer ran a series of articles last summer revealing details of Edwards' tawdry affair (and probable siring of an illegitimate son). If Edwards had been on the Democratic ticket, there's little doubt in my mind that these revelations would have destroyed his party's chances for the White House. The media would have had a field day. The campaign would have spent weeks dealing with Edwards' reckless behavior and moral character. Palin would have seemed a shining beacon of pure Americana by comparison. She wouldn't have had to attack Obama's associates or say he was "pallin' around with terrorists." Edwards would have given the Republicans the election on a silver platter.
Now, this man — who was cheating on his terminally ill wife and who was arrogant enough to think he could somehow get away with it and win the presidency — feels qualified to pass judgment on the readiness for office of Sarah Palin? Good Lord.
Sorry, Johnny boy, but you forfeited your right to judge anyone's competency for any office, including county dogcatcher.
So what's my point? I guess it's only that we sure as hell need a better system for vetting our candidates for high office. And here's a shout-out to the much-maligned National Enquirer. They deserve a Pulitzer Prize for saving us from the likes of John Edwards and, inadvertently, Sarah Palin.
Oh would some power the giftie gie us, to see ourselves as others see us. — Robert Burns
Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote the line above in response to seeing a louse on a high-born lady's bonnet at church. The point being, of course, that while we might think we're looking pretty good, someone else might be noticing a flaw we've overlooked.
In the 14 years I've been the Flyer editor, I've gotten lots of hate mail. It mostly used to come in envelopes filled with pages of scrawled handwriting. I read them and put them in the wastebasket, chalking it up as a natural by-product of writing for a liberal paper in the conservative South. Lately, the angry folks have switched to email, and it comes in waves ...