The Opinion Page: Palin Must Go

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/95178268/95177468" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

When Kathleen Parker began her latest column, she assumed it would be received like any other. She was wrong. When many of her conservative fans read her argument that Sarah Palin is not ready to be Vice President, and should step aside for the good of her party, they openly rebelled. She's under siege, she says, and feels like she hit a raw nerve; putting voice to an opinion many have, but won't dare say out loud. Weeks ago, Parker was among Palin's biggest fans:

When Palin first emerged as John McCain's running mate, I confess I was delighted. She was the antithesis and nemesis of the hirsute, Birkenstock-wearing sisterhood - a refreshing feminist of a different order who personified the modern successful working mother.

"It was fun while it lasted," she wrote:

Palin's recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

If you are or were a fan of Sarah Palin's pick to be VP, what do you think now?

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

The last caller on the show today, compared Sarah Palin to "another Governor from a small community in Little Rock Arkansas who became a very successful President." That sounds like an balanced comparison until you look back a little futher to compare the fact that Bill Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar and Palin was . . . a beauty queen. No contest.

Sent by Kristi in KC | 4:31 PM | 9-29-2008

Obama is barely, if at all, more experienced than Palin. Why is it still OK for him and not her????? Especially coming from women!!!!! Hang in there Sarah. Go Palin!!!!

Sent by Gail Marcroft | 5:00 PM | 9-29-2008

I believe that palin has done exactly what she was intended to do...take attention away from McCain. People keep talking about palin and whether she would make a good President, like McCain would fall over dead mear days into his term if he were elected. What no one is asking is whether McCain would be a good President. The way the media is handling Palin you would think that she was the one running against Obama.

Sent by Ryan Daniel Thomas | 5:04 PM | 9-29-2008

I believe that Mrs. Palin is not only "out of her league" but is totally out of it. As a woman I feel embarrassed when I heard her talking because it is clear she does not have any idea of what she is talking about. She should look at herself in the mirror and admit she is not capable at this moment to be the next VP or even the President of this country. I hope she does for the sake of our country.

Sent by Monica Coronel | 5:06 PM | 9-29-2008

I find the choice of Palin insulting to women. I believe it is as sexist as it can be when a presidential candidate uses a woman to his advantage and not for her abilities.

Sent by Mary Beth Blegen | 5:41 PM | 9-29-2008

Please stop comparing Sarah Palin to Barack Obama...there is no comparison! Barack is well in a class far above Palin and his knowledge of our history and the issues of foreign policy were wonderfully displayed in his debate with the "Maverick". Palin may have fought earnestly for the betterment of Alaska, but she has no knowledge of the issues outside of Alaska. I beleive the questions that she was asked in her 3 interviews were appropriate and gave her the opportunity to shine. Either she or McCain's staff find comfort in giving her scripted text and she does not know how to stray from the script. Sarah you have to start thinking for yourself and answer questions appropriately for the sake of your reputation.

Sent by Arveta Blake | 5:47 PM | 9-29-2008

Although I lean towards the Democrats, I was prepared to look hard at McCain if he were to choose someone very strong (i.e. General Powell) as his running mate. The minute I said "who???" and heard her say a few words, I knew that John McCain was screwed. He really made a horrible choice for VP (there has to be 20 other women much more qualified in the GOP)and it will affect how people look at his decision making abilities. I'm sure she is a great hockey mom but she is soooooo out of her league that Biden will have her for dinner on Thursday. It won't be pretty but the GOP will then jump on Biden for demeaning this woman. It will only be Joe Biden showing her up as being totally unprepared for this or any position other than gov of 680,000 people and a equal number of moose. It won't be difficult.

Sent by Earl Smith | 5:54 PM | 9-29-2008

The problem with Sarah Palin is not her lack of experience per se. If she handled herself well in press conferences and one-on-one interviews, giving thoughtful, intelligent answers to questions demonstrating that she had spent time thinking of these issues and that she had something worthwhile to say about them, everything would be different.

The fact is her answers border on incoherent nonsense and she shows no depth of thought at all. It is truly scary to think a person like this could be president, regardless of her politics. And it reflects very badly on John McCain for picking her in the first place

Sent by Mark Ellinghaus | 6:01 PM | 9-29-2008

Sarah Palin is truly out of her league and probably doesn't have the smarts to get in the game. Just remember, she was picked for McCain by Karl Rove - and he's not known for picking the sharpest tool in the shed.

Sent by Nancy Werner | 6:09 PM | 9-29-2008

Obama may not have much experience but he has taken an interest in the problems of today. Sarah Palin doesn't seem to have any curiosity about anything other than Alaska. Obama has studied and taught the U.S. constitution - we sometimes wonder if Sarah has even read it. If I'm going to vote for a woman - I'm a woman - I want her to be the best woman available. Sarah Palin is not ready yet.

Sent by Alice | 6:34 PM | 9-29-2008

This is not about how far women have come. This is not about the sexes at all and I am disappointed at how people use gender and race to qualify the most important job in the world when it should be free of such matters. In fact, this is about having what it takes to be the VP. Sorry to say Governor Palin does not have "it" at present.
What is "it" you may ask? Well part of "it" is saying she does not know when she does not, among many things that are amiss with the Governor, she is not truthful. I for one would like to remind the Governor this is not the guessing game and this definitly is not trying to BS ones way through using their newly accquired fame, this is for the most important job in the world; billions of lives depend on the decission of the one who may one day become the president. I hate to say it but... she ain't got "it."

Governor Palin must step away.

Sent by Miguel | 6:34 PM | 9-29-2008

I just wanted to agree with Kathleen Parker for having the courage to say this. I truly do not believe she is ready to be Vice President or is she the women I would have choosen for this job.

Sent by Caroline Little | 6:41 PM | 9-29-2008

Sarah Palin should understand that she is being used. McCain has used a series of stunts to get elected, she is just one of them. If they happen to win, GOD forbid, she'll be shuttled off to a corner office and we'll never see her again. McCain is already surrounded by his advisers and staff. Sarah has nothing the "old boys" need except a pretty face.

Sent by George | 7:03 PM | 9-29-2008

'Why is it okay for him and not her' from G. Marcroft .... Palin is a former small town mayor and short-term governor with barely a college degree under her belt. Obama is a magna cum laude Harvard Law School graduate and a US Senator. When it comes down to choosing the best candidate for the highest offices of our land, who do you think shows the most promising potential?

Sent by Blake Phelps | 7:12 PM | 9-29-2008

Sarah Palin is the best thing that ever happened to Barack Obama and Joe Biden

Sent by Steve | 7:20 PM | 9-29-2008

"This one time at debate camp, I ..."

The question moved past is Govenor Palin qualified. Govenor Palin's performance since her nomination has been pitiful. The look in Ms. Couric's eyes during the interview was clearly one of pitty. Palin's cheese steak interview showed she agrees with everyone except McCain about Pakistan. Now she is attending "debate camp" as recomended by McCain, just as parents send their children to "camps" for special training over summer break.

Senator Obama is best decribed as eloquent, Senator Biden as offensivly out spoken, Senator McCain speaks mildly with gentle force, Govenor Palin speaks like a teenager.

Saying things about other people does not change Palin's behavior. And, there is no camp for 3:00 am phone calls where Papa McCain can send his little girl.

Sent by Christopher M. Brown | 7:25 PM | 9-29-2008

Right on, Kristi... I said much the same thing in an email to Neal's show before I found this comment page, except I forgot she was a beauty queen and cited her self-proclaimed 'hockey mom' term. The main point of my email was the caller a couple before that, though... as best as I can remember he said, ''if not Palin, then who?''
Does he really have to ask??? How McCain could not tell Dr.Rice she was needed as vice president as soon as she could wrap things up at the state department is just beyond my comprehension. So what if it delays her book 4 or 8 years. She can write a couple more in the meantime, and I'll bet there's a piano at the Naval Observatory if she needs a break from tutoring/coaching the new secretary of state, introducing them around, et cetera.
Yes, Mrs. Palin - please step down for the sake of the party. But only after you convince Senator McCain to choose Condoleezza Rice to replace you. You really don't want to become the femme feather in Doonesbury.

Sent by Darr | 7:43 PM | 9-29-2008

Gail, whether or not you agree that Barack Obama has enough experience for the Presidency, he has been through the most scrutinized primary battle in history, beat one of the most seasoned and capable politicians we've ever seen in Hilary Clinton, and has been forced to discuss his positions on a host of issues. He has shown that not only is he well versed in those issues, but he has a clear grasp of where he thinks we are as a country, and the exact policies he thinks can improve it.

Your comparisons of Obama and Clinton are beyond absurd, and it shows the growing disconnect between spin and reality that conservatives are now facing. Though apparently highly capable as a governor of Alaska, Palin has proven through three interviews and a refusal to partake in press conferences that she doesn't even grasp the basic issues that this election is about. The fact that you would be willing to vote for McCain/Palin simply because of her life story, despite the clear evidence that she doesn't have the basic ability to explain any of her positions in a coherent fashion is frankly embarrassing to you and other die-hard conservatives who would follow Palin off a cliff.

Sent by Stephen | 7:57 PM | 9-29-2008

Yes; I think Sarah Palin in hurting the Republican ticket and persoanlly, I'm glad for it (I'm a "Progressive"). At first she helped the ticket with her fresh face, energetic aura and demonstrated ability as an attack dog; but the more we see, and especially hear, from her, the clearer it is how totally inadequate and unprepared she is to be VP, and especially to sit in the oval office. I'm with conservative columnist Kathleen Parker on this one (never thought I'de say that); Palin should withdraw from the campaign (though I hope she doesn't)!

Sent by Wayne | 8:12 PM | 9-29-2008

Check Sunday's Anchorage Daily News. Thousands are NOT supporters of Sarah Palin. It's all in Sunday's and Monday's paper.

Sent by Rebecca Bucher | 8:12 PM | 9-29-2008

I'm one of those politically engaged women who look beyond color/gender in a candidate. However, I won't overlook substance, intelligence and wit. Obama has proven himself as a Harvard grad., a community activist, a senator and a well-versed politician. I can't say the same for Sarah Palin. I criticized Dan Quayle in the late 80's for the same reasons that I criticize Palin. So, gender does not matter; political savvy does.

Sent by Clicia Tremblay | 8:20 PM | 9-29-2008

Once again NPR claims to be "Unbiased" in its content allows Ms. Parker to unabashedly spout anti-republican rhetoric for 15 minutes while our host only seems to select email from the naysayers. Tsk, tsk...Keep this up and the next republican administration WILL remove funding for NPR and PBS..

Sent by Jerry Honeycutt | 8:45 PM | 9-29-2008

I was undecided till I heard Palin talk. Now I have decided to vote for Obama. Palin as a possible President is downright dangerous for this country. Her lack of knowledge, experience and her outdated beliefs will take this country back not forward. There is too much at risk here.

Sent by S. Kumar | 9:03 PM | 9-29-2008

The last eight years have been marked by division, secrecy, scandal, and we have had a president who lacks curiosity about the world. Why would we ever consider subjecting ourselves to this same detrimental atmosphere for another 4 years? Judging from the insults that Sarah Palin has thrown out there, she has disdain for community organizers, people with passports and experience, the law (she is embroiled in a scandal and her husband refused to comply with the subpoena). Palin is clearly in over her head, but not only that, she promises to continue the same embarrassing trends of the Bush years. I don't care if my president or vice-president are male or female, black, brown, or purple, but I certainly do demand that they have knowledge and understanding about the world around them, have had experience abroad, and demonstrate a positive, encouraging attitude when approaching the democratic ideals on which this nation was founded.

Sent by Kevin Fuchs | 9:56 PM | 9-29-2008

I wonder if Sarah Palin is intentionally lowering expectations. It is an effective pre-debate strategy. By lowering public expectations Palin will not have to make a strong effort to do well. If the public expects her to be outdone by Sen. Biden and instead she gives a mediocre performance without any serious gaffes it will be seen as a major victory.

Sent by Kitty Shanahan | 9:57 PM | 9-29-2008

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. ...In these times, for John McCain to have chosen this person to be his running mate is fundamentally irresponsible. McCain says that he always puts country first. In this important case, it is simply not true.

Sent by FZ | 11:18 PM | 9-29-2008

At the risk of sounding extremely sexist, the moment I heard that McCain had nominated a woman for Vice President, I knew that it was just a ploy to offset the radical differences between McCain and Obama. Not in a belief sense, but Obama as the young, inexperienced, African-American Democrat and McCain the old, grizzled, POW Republican. The same reason Obama gave the nomination to the foreign policy expert Biden. I find it sad, not that they nominated a woman, because they really had no other choice, but the fact that their was not a more qualified female candidate. You can't tell me she is the most capable woman for the job.

Sent by Dean Stratmann | 11:22 PM | 9-29-2008

Although I would like to see women rise to the highest level of the land, I only want to see it if she's qualified. I hold the same measure when men are selected. If you want to play with the boys, you need to be better then them. Unfortunately, Palin is not even at the entry level standard. It has been very embarrassing to see her interview with Couric. If she was my mom, I would have a heart-to-heart discussion.

Sent by Ashley Chang | 11:39 PM | 9-29-2008

Governor Palin was put on the ticket specifically to energize the Christian Evangelical Right, who were not happy with McCain, and she has accomplished this. As long as they know she shares their repressive social views they will continue to support her. However, I think she is hurting McCain with the real conservative Republicans and moderate Republicans who can clearly see she does not have the basic intelligence to be a Vice President or President. John McCain has put his run for the White House in danger with this pick. But more importantly, this choice demonstrates he does truly believe in "Country First" because he has endangered the entire country with this pick. Lord have mercy on us if she ever becomes President.

Sent by Julie J. | 1:36 AM | 9-30-2008

Leave the present, and look at American history...........

Sent by Jeff Mahronich | 1:56 AM | 9-30-2008

Given the state of the economy and the union under the current administration, I do not think that another 4 years with a Republican administration is wise. Electing Sen. McCain is NOT a change, but more of the same. Electing Ms. Palin as second in command is even more disconcerting than having Sen. McCain as president because: (1) she is inexperienced in national policy and international relations, (2) and is simply not qualified FULL STOP. To compare her to former President Bill Clinton is an insult to President Clinton, who is a Constitutional scholar, educated in Georgetown, Yale Law and Oxford Universities, served two terms as governor of Arkansas, and left the country with a balanced budget and a surplus after his two terms as president. I would like to see a woman vice-president and even a president in the White House someday, but that person must be qualified, i.e., possesses proven success and experience in national governance and foreign policy, and concern for the poor and the middle-class. Running the White House must be based on intelligence, not looks.

Sent by Belle Fernandez | 2:33 AM | 9-30-2008

I think if Palin become Vice and McCain president it will be third world war. But this third wold war is going to be last was in History of humanity. Salute from Tony

Sent by Antonio | 2:41 AM | 9-30-2008

I'm an Independent who was considering voting for McCain -- until he selected Sarah Palin as his running mate. The first indication that she was unsuitable came when she declared that she had accepted his offer without hesitation. Any conscientious, clear-thinking, patriot would have asked tough questions as to what qualified her to be vice-president or president and what in her makeup might put the ticket at serious risk in the election.

Next, came her pathetic insistence that she had foreign policy credentials based, in part, on the proximity of Alaska and Russia or military expertise as titular head of the National Guard in Alaska. While her personal beliefs and small town mayoral experience were sufficient for her to become governor, Alaska's economic and political environment is very different from the country as a whole.

Finally, her contention that she's a reformer who's against earmarks (despite having secured $27m for a town of 9,000 or $30,000/person), was against the bridge to nowhere (once she had obtained the funds and could use them elsewhere), is a typical soccer/hockey mom (with a household income of from $170,000 to $200,000) and her stonewalling to delay the Troopergate investigation until after November 4 tell us much about her character.

Sent by Bronis | 3:12 AM | 9-30-2008

Have you heard the one about Sarah and the dinosaurs? As reported in the L.A. Times, when she was Mayor she said that she believed that humans and dinosaurs coexisted and walked the Earth together 6000 years ago and that she had seen photos of dinosaur tracks with human footprints in them. Supposedly she also said something to the effect that the dinosaurs were "Jesus ponies".

All of this speaks to her IQ, education, and philosophy.

Sent by Frank the Underemployed Professional | 6:19 AM | 9-30-2008

The comparisons between Obama and Palin are laughable. Obama graduated near the top of his class from Harvard Law School which is one of the nation's most selective law schools and on top of that he served as the editor of the Harvard Law Review, which is a great honor. Afterwards he taught Constitutional Law at another prestigious law school.

Obviously, Obama has a high IQ and he possesses the ability to quickly digest and understand complex material. Can Palin do that? Is there any reason to believe that she can hold a candle to Obama's intellectual capacity?

Palin believes that humans and dinosaurs coexisted and that dinosaurs might have even been "Jesus ponies". Palin and Obama in the same sentence? Give me a break.

Sent by Frank the Underemployed Professional | 6:29 AM | 9-30-2008

As someone living outside the US it is not only funny but also ridiculous to think that a person like Palin even made it beyond local politics. I wonder where the people have their head. Already Bush hit the upper level of "just about enough" and to think that just in case a Palin would be President?
In most European countries people of her statue with that little know how about major issues and being more a well trained duracel-bunny, repeating the same phrases and making same statements would not even consider such a humiliating proposal as to accept the nomination of head of state. McCain sure could have done better than that but here is his weakness: In the rise of Obamas star he needed a gimmic, somehting for him to get people's attention. It seems from a European perspective to be an not only a bad choice but brings to light on what bases the people choose their candidate and how totally undemocratic the system is. The founder of the US most likely would cry.

Sent by Axel S | 6:42 AM | 9-30-2008

As an onlooker from down under, I cannot believe that the American public could be contemplating including Sarah Palin as a potential V President. Given the very tough and admirable life of Senator McCain, the possibility of Sarah Palin taking on the role as President would be very high. The question which should be being asked, who would be behind a future President Palin? Would we see the return of Cheney. The whole of the world has paid the price of the the last 8 years of Bush and Cheney. We (the rest of the world) need the American public to make a more considered choice of the next President/V President

Sent by Col Cadman | 7:29 AM | 9-30-2008

the point is..she may have more "executive experience" than obama or even mccain..but she doesnt have a grasp on what goes on outside of alaska..she doesnt have an understanding of the talking points they are feeding her. and thats dangerous...she needs to be able to back up what comes out of her mouth. this is a train wreck.and my kids will pay the price for mccains bad judgement..enough is enough.

Sent by RJG | 7:47 AM | 9-30-2008

I don't mean to be rude to Gov. Palin supporters, I truly don't, but watch Sen. Obama at the debate and watch Gov. Palin's interview (any one of them). They may have (somewhat - and that is a loose somewhat) comparable experience but he's ready and she isn't - times 10,000. Maybe we'll see a different Gov. Palin at her debate with Sen. Biden on Thursday. I hope so, because she may end up VP and I'd like to think she could handle the job. I am not one of those ghouls seeing death hovering over Sen. McCain's head, he seems quite healthy to me and capable of fulfilling his duty as President if he wins, but the job description of the VP is to step in whenever the President is unable to lead for any reason. So if Pres. McCain is under anesthesia for a procedure for instance, and we get attacked, its up to VP Palin to direct our response. She would. She would direct the response without hesitation (whether she was wrong or not). That is reckless. Pres. Obama (or VP Biden for that matter) would think about all of the ramifications, talk to experts, consider options and then act decisively. That is Presidential. I appreciate that you admire her, many people do and there are things about her I admire as well. I also admire the woman at my church who homeschools her 8 absolutely wonderful children and still makes time to teach Sunday School, or the woman who sells homes for my company and is a savvy salesperson, a great mother with a solid marriage, and a wonderful devoted friend. Neither one of these women could possibly handle the job of VP. OK the first one is well rounded enough but she would need a few of years of devoted study and experience to know thing one about national politics, the other is admirable beyond belief but completely limited in her areas of interest and ability to handle complex ideas. She knows what I am talking about maybe 1/2 of the time. I suggest to you that admirable and VP material are not the same thing necessarily. By all means admire her, but please, please, please look at her with an eye to the job she is seeking. Is she really a fit? I have seen nothing yet, not one thing, that would make me confident of hiring her the job of VP of the United States of America - the second most powerful job in the free world.

Sent by learningisjoy | 8:16 AM | 9-30-2008

Palin is an attractive woman no doubt but that's as far as it goes. She still possesses the beauty queen orator skills and doesn't give that air of confidence in being a leader.

Palin comes off like a college sports cheer leader especially when asked how McCain performed in last Friday's debate, "awesome."

Paraphrasing, Palin sounded like a valley girl, "oh my Gahd, he was like, awesome."

And that train wreck of an interview with Couric gives enough for me she's just not ready for any leadership position of 300 million US citizens.

Republicans continue to hang onto that 20 months Alaska governance, population 670,000, as "experience."

oh my Gahd.

Sent by Lyle K. Deere | 8:49 AM | 9-30-2008

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from