Fareed Zakaria: Palin Is Ready? Please.

Fareed Zakaria has a powerful piece in Newsweek on why Palin is utterly unqualified to be vice president. He quotes from her interview with Katie Couric:

COURIC: Why isn’t it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: That’s why I say I, like every American I’m speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the—it’s got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we’ve got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we’ve got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.

All I can say is, Oh my god! Oh, my frakking god!

This is her after intensive coaching!

Random number

First spotted on Doonesbury.com, followed up in Forbes:

…some of the most basic details, including the $700 billion figure Treasury would use to buy up bad debt, are fuzzy.

It’s not based on any particular data point,” a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. “We just wanted to choose a really large number.”

Yup, that’s the way to govern. Just pick a very large sum of money at random and throw it at the problem.

Palin’s incoherence

Frankly this is less than I would hope from in a Vice Presidential candidate. I’d expect a modicum of what I call “joined up thinking,” which is my term for a coherent sequence of thoughts expressive of reflection and communicating understanding.

Katie Couric: Why is it much more challenging there? Can you explain that?

Sarah Palin: The logistics that we are already suggesting here, not having enough troops in the area right now. The… things like the terrain even in Afghanistan and that border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, where, you know, we believe that– Bin Laden is– is hiding out right now and… and is still such a leader of this terrorist movement. There… there are many more challenges there. So, again, I believe that… a surge in Afghanistan also will lead us to victory there as it has proven to have done in Iraq. And as I say, Katie, that we cannot afford to retreat, to withdraw in Iraq. That’s not gonna get us any better off in Afghanistan either. And as our leaders are telling us in our military, we do need to ramp it up in Afghanistan, counting on our friends and allies to assist with us there because these terrorists who hate America, they hate what we stand for with the… the freedoms, the democracy, the… the women’s rights, the tolerance, they hate what it is that we represent and our allies, too, and our friends, what they represent. If we were… were to allow a stronghold to be captured by these terrorists then the world is in even greater peril than it is today. We cannot afford to lose in Afghanistan.

This is nothing more than a disjointed sequence of thought fragments, thrown together in order to mask the lack of any coherent understanding of the situation in Afghanistan. “Bin Laden is– is hiding out right now and… and is still such a leader of this terrorist movement.”

Palin once again compares unfavorably to the woman who should have been his VP pick, Miss Teen South Carolina.

Question: Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the United States on a world map. Why do you think this is?

Miss Teen South Carolina: “I personally believe the U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some, uh…people out there in our nation don’t have maps, and, uh, I believe that our education like such as South Africa and, uh, the Iraq everywhere like, such as and…I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., err, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future for our…

See how deftly she handles a difficult foreign relations question — AND relates it to education? She’s every bit as coherent as Palin and, frankly, I think Sarah’s hotness is overrated. This girl is much hotter. McCain, it’s time to ditch Palin and to start over again. Go Miss Teen South Carolina!

Advice for the McCain team

I’m not prone to offering advice to politicians, but having see a partial transcript of Sarah Palin’s waffling style of interview I cannot hold back.

John, in preparing Sarah for interviews there’s one important point you seem to be forgetting: she will be asked for specific examples to illustrate points she’s trying to make. It looks bad when she’s asked for specific examples, waffles endlessly hoping that if she talks for long enough the interviewer will forget that he/she has asked a question, and then has to confess to ignorance.

Here’s a prime example of Sarah doing just that:

Palin: Consumers – and those who were predator lenders also. That’s, you know, that has to be considered also. But again, it’s got to be a comprehensive, long-term solution found … for this problem that America is facing today. As I say, we are getting into crisis mode here.

Couric: You’ve said, quote, “John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business.” Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?

Palin: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie – that, that’s paramount. That’s more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.

Couric: But he’s been in Congress for 26 years. He’s been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.

Palin: He’s also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he’s been talking about – the need to reform government.

Couric: But can you give me any other concrete examples? Because I know you’ve said Barack Obama is a lot of talk and no action. Can you give me any other examples in his 26 years of John McCain truly taking a stand on this?

Palin: I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today.

Couric: I’m just going to ask you one more time – not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

Palin: I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring them to you.

It’s even sadder when she pretends that she hasn’t actually been asked a question, as in this example:

QUESTIONER: Governor Palin, there has been quite a bit of discussion about your perceived lack of foreign policy experience. And I want to give you your chance, if you could please respond to that criticism, and give us specific skills that you think you have to bring to the White House to rebut that or mitigate that concern.

PALIN: Well, I think because Im a Washington outsider that opponents are going to be looking for a whole lot of things that they can criticize and that they can try to beat the candidate here, who chose me as his partner, to try to tear down the ticket. But as for foreign policy, you know, I think I am prepared and I know that on January 20th, if we are so blessed to be sworn into office as your president and vice president, certainly well be ready, Ill be ready. I have that confidence, I have that readiness, and if you want specifics with specific policies or countries, go ahead, and you can ask me and you can play stump the candidate if you want to. But we are ready to serve.

When asked to name specific skills she has (not a hard question, on would have thought) she says “feel free to ask me for specifics.” Oh wait, wasn’t that the question in the first place? And then she dismisses a legitimate and basic question as an attempt to “stump the candidate,” implying that any question asking for specific details is of necessity a trick question. How lame!

So John, when your team is rehearsing Sarah for the next interview, maybe you could go beyond having her memorize talking points and practicing ways to avoid answering questions? Maybe you could have her learn some specific examples of things like policies and positions?