Monday 16 Jul 2018 | 18:59 | SYDNEY
Monday 16 Jul 2018 | 18:59 | SYDNEY

Sarah Palin and the times we live in


Sam Roggeveen


4 September 2008 10:27

I'm on the record arguing that, in regard to the presidential race, the experience argument is overdrawn. So I can't complain when The Australian's foreign editor, Greg Sheridan, agrees with that line of thinking in his latest column. But Sheridan has himself played the inexperience gambit against Obama. So how does he get around this apparent inconsistency?:

Like Obama, she is obviously untutored and inexperienced in foreign policy. But she is not running for president, but vice-president. It is routine to balance a ticket with one having more foreign, and one more domestic, experience. Within a very short time as McCain's vice-president, Palin would be at ease in international affairs.

The distinction between running for president and vice-president is surely artificial, since the most important qualification for any vice-president is that they be able to take over the job of president immediately. And if anything, that issue is more acute for Palin, given McCain's age.

But the more important unaddressed issue in Sheridan's Palin hagiography is terrorism. Sheridan routinely excoriates strategic analysts like Paul Dibb and Hugh White for not taking the 'existential' threat of terrorism seriously enough. Yet the Palin pick can only be defended if you surrender that territory and argue that the times we live in, far from being uniquely perilous, are pretty normal, and that it is therefore OK for a vice-president to learn on the job.