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Linda Bergthold Headshot

Are You Ready to be President?

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If Charlie Gibson asked me if I were prepared to be the President of the United States .... and if I had the experience, both life and professional, of Sarah Palin, I would not answer the way she did on ABC News this past week. I would not say without a blink, Yes I am, Charlie.

A little humility and acknowledgment of my impending learning curve might be in order. But what we learned is that this person who has governed an area the size of Hoboken, New Jersey accepted the nomination call from McCain without even blinking. Does Palin have any idea at all of what she is being asked to do? The responsibilities of a Vice President demand a complex understanding of the world that goes beyond noting that you can see Russia from the Alaska border, that Ukraine should join NATO (Ukrainians are wildly split on that issue), that we are all Georgians, that terrorists are bad guys or that the U.S. are the good guys. Being Vice President means more than remembering good talking points. Hell, being President should be more than that as well.

Listen up, folks. YOU could be President under these conditions. You, with your family and life experience, even if you have barely ever left the country, could have your finger on the red button. Be a heartbeat away from the Presidency as they say. Now I don't know about you, but I just don't feel I'm prepared to be either the Vice President or the President. And the fact that i KNOW I am not prepared is a good thing. It shows I have some awareness of the awesome responsibility of these positions. That I have some judgment..

Bob Herbert of the New York Times notes that Palin is not ready. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune editorializes that Palin is not ready. Even two of Alaska's top newspapers question her fitness for office.

What to make of this confidence? Or over-confidence? McCain and Palin are either clueless or think we are. Whatever you think about McCain, it is no secret that he will be the oldest candidate for President. McCain could have chosen someone with the requisite experience. But in making the judgment he did, seemingly on the spur of the moment on the rebound, must be compared to the careful and considered decision-making process that Obama went through. Obama chose one of the most experienced candidates he could find, knowing that he would be criticized for it, but also knowing that the Vice President is no longer just a ceremonial ribbon cutter but a partner with the President in the govenring process.

There is a lot of talk about how people choose someone for President or VP that they would like to be friends with, to have a beer with. If that is so, then choose another George Bush. He might not drink liquor with you, but he is more like you than Gore or Kerry would have been. But if you acknowledge that we need a President AND a Vice President who are more ready, more experienced, have better than judgment than we do -- then you will vote for Obama-Biden.

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