Palin at the G-8

September 18, 2008

Santa Fe, NM

Lehman Brothers has gone down. Merrill Lynch has been gobbled up. Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac and AIG have been bailed out. Are the American people now going to put Sarah Palin in a position where she might have to be the one to lead a cabinet of economic and financial advisors to navigate us out of this expanding global crisis?

Chinese, Saudi Arabian and Russian interests are poised to buy up our national debt, foreclose on our assets, and dilute our influence in world markets. Is Sarah Palin going to be the one—will we take the risk that she might be the one—to outmaneuver King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, or to sit down at the G-8 meetings with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin? Will she be prepared because Alaska is, as she says, close to Russia?

According to Time Magazine (August 25, 2008) a Belgian-Brazilian firm will soon own Annheuser-Busch. GE is asking the Chinese to buy out its appliance business. A Swiss pharmaceutical is bidding to buy a huge stake in Genentech. Abu Dhabi has purchased 90% of the Chrysler building in New York. Last year there were more than 2,000 foreign-led acquisitions of U.S. companies in deals worth some $405.4 billion. Palin’s response: we should cut taxes and government waste.

Our new president will be faced with Russia’s attempt to force NATO out of the Caucuses and the Ukraine, to intimidate Poland and to squeeze the economic life out of Turkey. Sarah Palin says, well, we might have to go to war with Russia. If she has that chance and trains on the nuclear button by using it, there will be no civilization left to govern.

The new president will be faced with the two countries Israel and Iran locked in a polemic in which the US will most certainly be implicated. If Sarah Palin is vice president, we will have placed a fundamentalist Christian in position for a war of words, images, and ideologies with fundamentalist Islam. That is not a strategy to explore reason.

If Palin is elected she will be faced with global warming and the threat of rising seas that according to the UN may become irreversible if dramatic programs are not started by 2015. Two thousand scientists believe this to be true. Palin does not believe this to be true. Palin has not yet accepted evolution.

If she is elected she will be faced with an increasingly dangerous gap between rich and poor from Chiapas, to Zimbabwe, to Los Angeles. The Chinese are dealing with thousands of food and worker’s riots every year. Palin’s solution for poverty is personal responsibility and hard work. Tell that to the Chinese in the Wal-Mart compounds. They are already working hard.

Now a comparison: There were 750,000 people in the senate district that Barack Obama represented for nearly eight years. That’s about100,000 more than Sarah Palin’s whole state. Illinois, which Obama now represents, has13 million people, which is 20 times as many people as in Palin’s state. Obama has sponsored 131 bills in the United States Senate, alone, and spent eight years drafting legislation in Illinois. Palin’s campaign does not claim that she has drafted any bill for any legislature, anywhere. If she becomes vice president, or most unfortunately, president, she will have to push, pull, bargain and trade, line by statutory line, a multitude of bills, maneuvering trillions in the federal budget, billions in taxes, trade-offs between social security, Medicare and welfare, and do it at the same time she memorizes the names of senators and congressmen whom she is meeting for the first time.

Americans might try to imagine Palin getting up from that trillion-dollar budget meeting having decided on the future of social security or whether to bail out the next AIG, asking for a map of the Caucuses before confronting the Russian ambassador about Ossetia, then sending a message to the president of Pakistan to control the Pashtuns in the Northwest Territories before being briefed by scientists about rising waters in New York harbor. Whatever toughness she may have learned by hunting caribou and shooting wolves from planes will be, by any measure, almost completely irrelevant.

Obama is right. We can do better.