I bring you a SNL sketch in which Sarah Palin (Tina Fey) goes up against Katie Couric (Amy Poehler). It's scary how, when watching this, I forgot which parts were made up. Compare it to the actual (transcripted) exchange between Palin and Couric:
COURIC: Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?I'm sorry, Palin, but not only did that NOT make sense, but it was just a bunch of talking points that avoided the question. If Palin were a student answering one of my questions, I would absolutely, hands-down fail her. The SNL sketch is scarier than it is funny because... Palin's ignorant in politics.
PALIN: That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the—it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.
When asked how living in the state closest to Russia gave her foreign-policy experience, Palin responded:I honestly don't understand why more Republicans aren't up in arms over Palin's nomination. When it was first announced, my family and I joked that McCain was practically handing the election over to Obama, but then no one criticized her. They embraced her. Questioning her on foreign policy and experience somehow became sexist (no doubt -- a false sexism). Why aren't Republicans more upset and outspoken about the horrible choice? The phrase "Palin is a heartbeat away from the Oval Office" is the most frightening phrase I've ever heard. She's literally a heartbeat away -- which, I think, is a mean-spirited thing to say about McCain's age and health (and I don't think him being old is a qualified criticism for him as president). But Palin shouldn't be anywhere NEAR the White House. She shouldn't even be on the lawn!
"It's very important when you consider even national-security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America. Where—where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to—to our state."
But now I bring you a more level-headed analysis from Fareed Zakaria, who, you should note, does not bring up religion, abortion, gun rights, or gay marriage. He's talking about the national crisis -- something much bigger than any one of us or our beliefs. The fact that she is a staunch Republican has nothing to do with the crisis facing America. McCain's camp should have picked someone else. Anyone else.
Can we now admit the obvious? Sarah Palin is utterly unqualified to be vice president. She is a feisty, charismatic politician who has done some good things in Alaska. But she has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start. The next administration is going to face a set of challenges unlike any in recent memory. There is an ongoing military operation in Iraq that still costs $10 billion a month, a war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan that is not going well and is not easily fixed. Iran, Russia and Venezuela present tough strategic challenges.By the way, if you're interested in -- you know -- the facts, check out FactCheck.org to distinguish fact from political jargon from the first presidential debate.
Domestically, the bailout and reform of the financial industry will take years and hundreds of billions of dollars. Health-care costs, unless curtailed, will bankrupt the federal government. Social Security, immigration, collapsing infrastructure and education are all going to get much worse if they are not handled soon.
And the American government is stretched to the limit. Between the Bush tax cuts, homeland-security needs, Iraq, Afghanistan and the bailout, the budget is looking bleak. Plus, within a few years, the retirement of the baby boomers begins with its massive and rising costs (in the trillions).