In America, being smart scares Joe-Six-Pack and soccer moms. Ask George Bush and Sarah Palin, two Republicans who capitalize on ignorance and failure as being down-home, old fashioned or ‘just one of the guys/gals.’
Actually, before you get any further, just Google the phrase “Joe-Six-Pack and soccer mom” and see how many first-page results concern Sarah Palin.
People are put at ease by a president who doesn’t use a lot of big politician words, by guys like Bush who fumbles his lines constantly and uses good ol’ boy sayings and colloquialisms – and who minimizes their use of words like colloquialism.
A 2004 article from Boston.com remembers that this strategy worked for Bush from the start:
“The regular-guy approach worked well for Bush in 2000, where he came across as looser and more likable than his Democratic opponent, Al Gore.”
And Sarah Palin fans are spinning it the same way. It’s refreshing to see someone who is going to ‘you betcha’ her way to Washington and show those esoteric pundits what’s what, right?
I hope I’m not alone in my revulsion of the idea of the average Joe running the country. I don’t want an average Joe performing surgery on me, piloting the jet I’m riding or running my country.
It’s perfectly fine for them to have so much experience that they know how to debate, know what the Bush Doctrine is or understand the difference between national security and being able to see Russia from their back yard on a clear day.
The obvious rebuttal to Palin’s national experience is that a governor is like a president – of a state. And for the sake of argument, I’ll accept that. But out of every state in America, two have values that are are so far removed from the rest of America that those states values have questionable validity to the country as a whole. Those are the non-continental states, and Alaska is one of them. There is even a political party, the Alaskan Independence Party, that is for secession from the United States.
That’s not to say that those states are unimportant, or that they don’t share many of the same values as the rest of America. But Alaska has no interstate commerce or highways. Let’s face it, when England decided to get a few more distant ‘states’ a couple hundred years ago, that removal from the motherland lead to a few differences of philosophy.
Sarah Palin has no experience and was clearly chosen to shake up the race and give the Republicans a credibility that both parties have lacked severely since their creations.
I think Susan Nielsen of the Seattle Times sums it up best: “As the nation remains at war and in an economic crisis, we need a president with rock-steady judgment and a [vice-president] with at least, like, six weeks of national-level experience.”