Monday, September 01, 2008

The Palin versus Obama Lies: And The Rebuttals

No doubt, Republicans this week will start making absurd comparisons between Palin and Obama. Here are two arguments that we'll likely see them use, and easy rebuttals to them.

Palin has more experience than Obama. The key to this bullshit claim? Her ten years experience as part-time mayor of a burg of 8000 people. There are over 25,000 such towns in the U.S. This would mean that the Republicans are making the mind-boggling claim that the 25,000 part-time or full-time mayors in this country are more qualified to be President that either Barack Obama or John McCain.

UPDATE: Did I call this right? Here we go - McCain buys ad time to make this argument.

Let's look at the difference a bit realistically, shall we? Obama has EIGHT YEARS in the Illinois Senate. Illinois is a state of 12 million people. Alaska is a state of 600,000, and her little town was 8000 people strong. That makes Obama 1500 times more qualified than Palin. That's not even counting his time in the U.S. Senate. Comparing Palin's experience to Obama's is like saying Mrs. X, who ran a library book club for ten years and has spent two years running a local supermarket, has the same experience as Mr Y., who was a VP at Dell for eight years and then a Senior Board member at IBM for the past four. Yeah, but she was IN CHARGE of that supermarket.

Not to mention that Barack Obama ran an 18-month national campaign to unseat the nation's most powerful political family and received 18 million votes or President from people in his party (yes, that's political experience, not governing - but seriously, how can you think Palin's two years governing a state of 600,000 can have prepared her more than Obama's four years on the United State Senate Foreign Relations Committee?)

Instead of Obama, Republicans should compare Palin to another Democrat more her speed. Sarah Palin is as qualified to be Vice President as Frank Cownie. Who's Frank Cownie? He's the mayor of Des Moines, Iowa (and owner of Cownie Furniture Stores). Des Moines is a city of 600,000, about the same size as Alaska. These tabular comparisons would make much more sense with Mr. Cownie up against Palin. And picking Palin for VP makes about as much sense as tapping Mr. Cownie. After all, he's an entreprenuer.....

I can't tell you how flabbergasting it is hearing people say that Palin has more experience than Obama, but ordinary people are buying it. That's delusional - and if you ask me, tinged with racism (which is what Republicans rely on to diminish Obama's experience). But easy to rebut, and the Democrats should!

Crazy argument number two?

Obama's ticket is reversed. The Republicans have the right person at the top of the ticket, they will say. Craig Ferguson predicted this argument on Bill Mahr Friday night, and I believe he's right: the Republicans will likely make that doozy of a claim as well.

First, that argument only makes sense if you can say that Palin and Obama's experience are equivalent. They're not, as explained above.

But even if you grant that Biden has more experience than Obama, and vice versa for the Republicans, does this matter? No.

First, Obama has MORE experience than Presidents such as:

George W. Bush - only four years Governor of Texas (no political office before that). Admittedly, look how that turned out. But...

Abraham Lincoln - eight years in in the house of the Illinois Legislature, two years in the U.S. House of Representatives; out of office for 12 years before elected President. Didn't turn out so bad, did it?

And about as much experience as Kennedy - six years House of Representatives; seven years U.S. senate (two less as rep but three more as Senator than Obama).

Even more importantly, Obama's ticket is not reversed. Presidents LEAD. Obama has repeatedly - and most recently, during the Democratic convention - shown that he has the ability to lead. And however much I like Joe Biden, and value his experience, starting with his speech in 2004 at the Democratic convention, and throughout this campaign, Obama has proven himself to be a more convincing leader.

But the critical point here is, whose Vice President matters more?

According to statistical tables, there is a 10% chance McCain will die in his first term and about a 25% chance that he'd die before the end of a second term. The odds that Obama will die in office? Less than 1%. Sorry, that's just life. So the odds that the VP will need to step into the White House before the POTUS is out of office (assuming McCain runs for and wins a second term) is 25 TIMES GREATER for McCain than it is for Obama.

Doesn't that mean that who's at the bottom of McCain's ticket is 25 times more important than who's at the bottom of Obama's? And McCain has picked someone CLEARLY less experienced than anyone who's ever been on the ticket for Vice President? Even other famous lightweights were better qualified: Dan Quayle was a Senator for eight years and Ferraro served in the House for six years before being put on the ticket.

The thought that there is a one in four chance that Mrs. Palin - who doesn't even know what a Vice President does - could be President if McCain wins, should give most Americans pause.

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