VP Debate: What Sarah Palin Didn't Do

11/04/2008 04:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Rick Horowitz Milwaukee Public TV Commentator, Writing Coach, Writing & Editing Consultant

The camera loves Sarah Palin -- darn right it does! You betcha! The microphone? Not so much. Folksy is nice. I like folksy. But a little folksy goes a long way with me. With most people. It's fine if you're putting on a revival of "Li'l Abner." Hey! Golly!

For running a national government in difficult times? That's a different matter.

And it's no substitute for...for... What's that word I'm looking for? For knowledge. For knowin' stuff.

And watching Sarah Palin over these last five weeks -- from her great convention speech, to stumbling around with Charlie Gibson, to imploding with Katie Couric, to surviving a debate with Joe Biden -- you had to notice:

She still hasn't given any sign that she actually knows anything about anything. I take that back: She knows something about energy. Or at least about pipelines, and drilling. Which is why she kept trying to turn the conversation to energy every chance she got. (Regardless of the question she'd been asked.) The rest of it was just talking points. Memorized. And only one answer deep. That just doesn't cut it. Not for a vice president. Certainly not for a possible president.

"She came across like everybody!" -- that's what someone said on one of those post-debate panels of uncommitted voters. "She sounds just like me!" -- how many times have you heard that about her? "She sounds just like me!" That's nice. Maybe she can be Secretary of Next-Door Neighbor. But -- no offense -- I don't want someone who's "just like me" to be Vice President of the United States, any more than I'd want somebody who's "just like me" to be my dentist, or my heart surgeon, or my air-traffic controller. I'd want somebody who's qualified, unless you think that all the problems we're facing are so simple that anyone can solve them.

You don't really think that, do you? I didn't think so. That's not elitist. And it's certainly not sexist. There are plenty of highly talented, highly qualified women out there -- in government service, in community organizations, in business, in the media. Women who absolutely know their stuff. Sarah Palin -- perky, feisty, folksy Sarah Palin -- just doesn't happen to be one of them.

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