comparisons are odious

I’m posting this mostly for my own reference – a few links comparing Obama’s vs Palin’s experience. I’ve looked through a whole bunch of them online and found the comparisons interesting. Most of them are biased one way or another. A distressing number were racist (a URL including “white civil rights” or allegations as to whether the University of Chicago would have gone out of its way to recruit an equivalent white professor – considering that “equivalent” here includes “edited the Harvard Law Review” – are unmistakeable giveaways). I didn’t encounter any sexist ones at the same level of blatency, but I’m sure those exist as well. One consistent point was that the pro-Palin ones tended to act as if Obama had gone directly from his three-year position as community organizer to the State Senate, ignoring little things like 12 years teaching constitutional law or working as a civil rights lawyer. On the other hand, the pro-Obama ones ignore Palin’s exposing members of her own party in conflicts of interest and her experience as a small business owner, with her husband.

In keeping with its mission, Politifact: posts a fact sheet that’s completely impartial. Unfortunately it includes only job experience, not education. On the other hand, the one from the Daily Kos is of course completely biased – but comparison with other sites shows their facts are correct. Finally there’s an AP article, but it’s not as comprehensive as the other two – they just pick and choose what someone considers “highlights” for each candidate. Somewhere I saw a very nice table comparing the candidates’ education and experience side by side, but it was in a comment to some other article and I have no idea where to look for it.

More to the point, Obama’s not running against Palin. He’s running against McCain. Palin can’t possibly compare in experience to Biden, and conversely in pure experience Obama can’t compare to McCain. But we keep flip-flopping – not the candidates, but we the voters. One minute we want experience, the next we want an outsider to bring change. It may be possible to get someone who can bring both, but after I type Winston Churchill’s name no one else comes to mind. The question is, does Obama have enough experience? There’s no hard and fast line, but I think that expertise in Constitutional law, otherwise known as “how the system is supposed to work” might help – and also, he’s got Biden to lean on. Does Palin have enough experience? History has shown you don’t need to be Vice President, really. One function the VP serves is to be the president’s attack dog, and it’s plain she’s eminently qualified for that. The only problem is if she becomes President, since by definition in that case she wouldn’t have McCain to advise her. She might be good at picking advisors. In fact depending on your perspective maybe she is – she did get that lobbyist with ties to Ted Stevens and promptly ended up with all sorts of earmarks for her town.

Yes, my lip was curling as I wrote that, but it’s not entirely fair of me: a mayor is supposed to fight to get advantages for her town. Nevertheless it worries me. One thing I want from a President is to be above party politics, at least mostly. Obama has done a good job taking the high road. McCain’s got a record of pissing off his own party. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sarah Barracuda was willing to annoy even her own supporters to get what she wants. I just wish I felt more sure that what she wants is the good of the country, including those who dsagree with her. Or that I thought her idea of the good of the country had anything at all in common with mine.

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1 Response to comparisons are odious

  1. Kat with a K says:

    Thanks for a well-thought-out and calm, rational post about this.

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