August 29, 2008

Palin as Obamaesque blank slate



Gov. Palin on her morning commute to the state capitol in Juneau.

Right now, Sarah Palin appears to have some of that Balanck Slate magic that propelled Obama to the nomination working for her, too (in contrast to the overly-familiar Joe Biden, who was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1954 when he was 11.) It's not just that he's from Hawaii and she's from Alaska. Here's somebody that nobody knows much about, but who has an interesting story, and everybody can seize on whatever bits and pieces they hear about her that they like and make up a little story about who she must be.

In particular, she appears to have completely won the hearts of the Nerd Vote with her Tina-Fey-in-the-NRA image -- pretty girls with big guns, just like in all the movies.

On the other hand, let me point out, she was a journalism major ...
*

The Ambler of British Columbia (from whom I stole the stock photo and caption above - where he got it, I can't say) has this to say about his neighbor to the Northwest.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

54 comments:

Mark said...

Sen. McCain celebrated his 72nd birthday Friday, and his VP pick was expected to be closely scrutinized

McCain always seemed like the dirty old man type to me - a habit he might have indulged in had he not hit the $500 million jackpot with wife #2. So when he talks about "closely scrutiniz[ing] his beauty queen veep nominee, I get the chills - even if she already is the mother of 5.

She will go over especially well with...all Americans ignorant of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution" (which stipulates that upon the death or incapacity of the President, the Vice President assumes his office).

The 25th amendment, whatever the hell it stipulates (I'm not going to bother looking it up) comes after the drinking age amendments (18 & 21 - prohibition and repeal), the income tax amnedment, and giving women the vote - which all come after Teddy Roosevelt, Andrew Johnson, etc. So I'm quite certain it has nothing to do with veeps replacing dead presidents, unless it just reiterates what was already there. But then this guy's a Canuck...

Calls to the Devil's head office in Las Vegas were not returned

Bullshit. Everyone knows that the Devil's head office is in Hyannis Port.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Steve Sailer: her Tina-Fey-in-the-NRA image

Two words: Dawn Wells.

'Nuff said.

Ron Guhname said...

Sarah is the new Obama, and I am the new Obama girl.

Anonymous said...

There is some neo-conservative skepticism about her nomination. I'm starting to like her even more.

rightsaidfred said...

From the Wiki link about Hyannis:

....It has one of the highest drug dealer counts on the east coast...

Ya' gotta love the leisure class.

Anonymous said...

She has FIVE children. UNLIKE YOU SLACKERS.

Mark said...

There is some neo-conservative skepticism [from David Frum] about her nomination. I'm starting to like her even more.

Frum's pretty good on immigration, which is my chief pet-peeve with Neos.

I actually like most of what Frum writes, but I sense a certain SWPL-ness in his analysis of Palin. "Connecting" with the working class is OK; including the token working class couple in a dinner party is fine; occasionally inviting one to round-out a foursome, if absolutely necessary, might be acceptable.

But a woman who went to the University of Idaho; who thinks being mayor of a town of 9,000 even matters; whose husband is a union member and fishing boat operator? That's crossing well over the line.

I have no idea how smart Palin is or if she's even qualified to be president. But I do have the sense that her values are far closer to those of most Americans than any of the 3 other people on deck. If she gets to be president she may mistakenly make decisions which harm the US. But that's better than the other 3 pols, who would deliberately make decisions that harm the US.

Truth said...

"have no idea how smart Palin is or if she's even qualified to be president. But I do have the sense that her values are far closer to those of most Americans than any of the 3 other people on deck...If she gets to be president she may mistakenly make decisions which harm the US."

By that logic, maybe we should elect my mechanic Roul.

Mark said...

By that logic, maybe we should elect my mechanic Roul.

Maybe we should.

sparkyjbd said...

I'm interested in seeing who would win a pick up game between Obama and Palin.

And anyone who thinks being that being a graduate of the University of Idaho is a bad things, consider what Eureka College gave America.

Anonymous said...

Steve
This guy is a great local source for info on Palin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Todd_Palin
I am sure that there are others.

Other isteve readers should send in their sources so that a better understanding of Palin and her positions can be gained. At the moment I am not very impressed. She is a younger, more attractive, less accomplished version of Harriet Miers. Think about that.

halfbreed said...

Steve -- You have a point in that at this point she is still somewhat of a cypher, but you're being a little unfair in attributing a Peter Sellers-in-"Being There"-sort of appeal to her. She's done several things which obviously illustrate character in a very clearcut way, and this must have had much to do with why the McCain camp picked her. A woman who takes on her own party's corruption has demonstrated integrity of a sort that few politicians have. A woman who has worked on a commercial fishing boat has demonstrated a courage that few of us have. And even those of us who are pro-choice must concede that her decision to go ahead and have a baby with Downs Syndrome shows a steadfastness of principle that is downright moving.
All those examples contrast very nicely with the Democratic ticket, both the top and bottom of which have demonstrated a slippery dishonesty which is more typical of political hacks everywhere. Sometimes a few vignettes are all you need to see someone's character. You demonstrated Biden's very clearly a couple days ago with that exchange he had with the reporter in 1988; those lies about his academic background are all we really need to know to understand who he relly is. And you've done a much more extensive job of analyzing Obama's character for us by pointing out the way his books are essentially compendiums of half-truths (at best). McCain's character is a little more complex. Yes, he showed guts by continuing to get up in airplanes after crashing three of them, and yes he showed guts while a guest of the Viet Cong. But his ditching of his first wife after she lost her looks is pretty low, and his second marriage to a very rich woman shows a Kerry-esque male gold-digger mentality which is very unattractive. Plus his lack of control over his own temper has been well documented.
By contrast, so far -- and you're right, "so far" for most of us consists of less than twenty-four hours -- Palin looks very good. The only blot I've seen is that bit about her trying to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from his job as state trooper. They'll probably be able to skate past that one by attributing it to her husband (even though it was her sister who was married to the guy). It's possible the guy was a real louse and not fit to be a trooper, I don't know, but the story does smack of simple revenge. Still, Palin's moral resume overall seems a lot purer than those of the other three. At least give her credit for that. The people who know her best, the people for whom "so far" consists of two years, Alaskans, evidently give her an eighty percent approval rating. There are probably no Alaskan newspapers which will do hatchet jobs on her the way the MSM will, but I'm guessing Americans in general will maintain their enthusiasm.

dearieme said...

Thank you for that link, Mr iSteve. There are tears on my keyboard.

Palin &McAmnesty FTW said...

LOL @ KMG. I'm excited about this pick. Sheer hotness will get the GOP an extra few percentage points. Obama stretches the boundaries but a VPILF adds a new dimension to elections.

Anon 1: "She has FIVE children. UNLIKE YOU SLACKERS"

Heheheh, yeah. About that: the same forces at play in Australia are at play in the USA, Canada, UK, etc. It ain't easy being a post-boomer straight white male (we need a catchy acronym here), bub:

"An analysis of new census figures has shown that Australia is suffering from an unprecedented "man drought".

The statistics have revealed that there are almost 100,000 more females than males in Australia. "


Obama as president will only make it worse.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer, like you have done on Rove in the past, you should keep a watch on the guy running the McCain campaign since early July: Steve Schmidt. This guy has apparently turned the campaign around and he really has thrown a monkey wrench into Obama's life dream with Palin. Oooh are the leftys sour about Palin. That tells you all you need to know.

Also, Obama looked whipped standing next to old man Biden yesterday. Don't we all know that Obama's VP was supposed to be Edwards...but that cat got out of the bag.

I think Schmidt has had a good two months. But also the clever thugs behind Obama have been f***ing it up for two months. They screwed Hillary but somehow didn't expect Edwards to go down in flames. Obama was left with Biden - remember Biden is the guy who stood by his very harsh primary comments that Obama "wasn't ready".

Now once again the Democrats have a couple of guys on the ticket who are supposed to be so damn worldly, intelligent and erudite - but Obama and Biden are actually both lightweights without the teleprompter and speech gurus.

Same old story. Amazing.

Anonymous said...

"Sarah is the new Obama, and I am the new Obama girl"
Heh. Ditto to that.

-Vanilla Thunder

Anonymous said...

http://frum.nationalreview.com/

Yes, indeed, Frum: "Here's I fear the worst harm that may be done by this selection. The McCain campaign's slogan is "country first." It's a good slogan, and it aptly describes John McCain ..."

Frum is obfuscating here. He is so full of it. The truth is that it is the campaign slogan "country first" that he fears, he the rootless cosmopolitan from Canada.

"Country first" embodies the sort of nationalism (like all other forms of nationalism) that leads directly to the gas chambers don'tcha know.

Check out the Frum update today Saturday:

http://frum.nationalreview.com/

What crap! His wet dishrag response to Palin is the same as Wolf Blitzer and Dana Bash on CNN yesterday and Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC etc.

The catch is that they are on the Left and Frum is supposed to be on the Right. But it is sour puss skepticism as a response to real Americanism that binds them together.

To Frum's credit he did put some good quotes from his emailers at the bottom of the Saturday update:

3) This talk of "qualifications" is elitist and condescending. As one reader put it: "We Americans trust ourselves to run the country much better than the crowd in D.C. has been doing." Another: "Don't tell us (those in small towns ) that we don't have what it takes to keep a county on the right track."A third: "I have no doubt that there are at least 100,000 Americans who can easily perform the duties of president. 1 out of every 3000. Easy to find. Sarah Palin is one of these. She will do fine."

This kind of talk is truly frightening to the AIPAC/Dem Party/Neo-Con octopus.

Imagine the "regular folks" taking control of their own country? Their banks? Their media? Their foreign policy? Their immigration policy? What could be more frightening than that!!!

WLindsayWheeler said...

This is all very sad. When is conservatism about letting women into leadership positions?

As one commentator at Takimag pointed out:
Palin as VP is yet another example of the GOP mainstreaming, ratifying and entrenching what was once part of the radical agenda. That’s the GOP’s job: slowly normalize what previous generations would have rejected as positively perverse; everyone quickly forgets that it was self-described commies who originally pushed for all this nonsense.

That Margret Thatcher or Sarah Palin are in any way conservative is hoot. There is nothing, and I mean nothing conservative about the GOP. Women shouldn't be voting nor in any leadership position--that is the Old Order, that is Conservatism. This is just more Marxism.

nerd said...

Steve,

Do you actually know any nerds? Palin is the kind of woman nerds detest and fear - she's a standard cheerleader evangelical type. You'd expect her to like guns, there's nothing interesting or contradictory about her from a nerd perspective. Tina Fey with guns is a nerd's dream. Palin, not so much.

Rosh said...

As of now my opinion of Palin is as follows. I think she is a very likeable, lovely person who is incredibly authentic, a "breath of fresh air" as the cliche goes. However, she is not qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. Her academic credentials are mediocre at best. She seems to have had an honest common sense way of governing which is good for a local politician in a place of Alaska, but to come to Washington and try to navigate the huge machinery of government with all the powerful interest groups at a time when we have massive and complex issues to be resolved, I have little confidence in her.

What bothers me the most about her is that she seems to be a blank slate on foreign policy. This will give her advisors (who will be much smarter and who will know a lot more than her) the ability to shape her worldview in the line with their own. With the neocon dominance of the conservative foreign policy establishment, I predict she'll be more neocon than McCain within weeks.

headache said...

"she was a journalism major ..."

OMG

Anonymous said...

"Experience" is actually pretty over-rated when it comes to the Presidency. After all, there is really no comparable job in the world, and when you get right down to it, some of our most "experienced" presidents were not very good, while some with minimal levels of experience were excellent. Of course, you can cite examples that went the other way as well, but there is no real connection one way or the other.

Personally, I'm not wild about anyone running this year, but Palin certainly seems to be the best of a pretty bad lot. I'd certainly rather take a chance on her as president than any of the other three - after all, Obama is just as light on executive experience, and the kind of experience McCan and Biden have, we don't want...

Tschafer

rosh said...

I agree with Steve and other fellow elitists. The idea that we would elect someone with the single academic credential of a JOURNALISM degree from the University of Idaho to perhaps the most powerful political office in the history of the world is an embarassment.

I was a fairly uninspired student at the University of Chicago, but while there, I managed to imbibe the university's contempt for any degree that didn't require interpreting mathematical models and/or engaging in multiple regression analysis.

Truth said...

"he only blot I've seen is that bit about her trying to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from his job as state trooper."

No, the story is she asked someone else to fire him, then fired the guy who refused to do it.

James Kabala said...

Mark:

The particular portion to which Mr. Grace refers is a clarification of earlier language that had been ambiguous:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty-fifth_Amendment

Mark said...

I'm interested in seeing who would win a pick up game between Obama and Palin.

I'm interested in seeing who would win a duel between the two.

Unless "Barry" did some gangbanging during his Punahou Prep days...


And anyone who thinks being that being a graduate of the University of Idaho is a bad things, consider what Eureka College gave America.

The 1986 amnesty disaster?

SKT said...

Hey can you not be cynical for one day? Though I usually do enjoy your cynicism.

I think Sarah Palin is a good candidate, and lets all just enjoy this moment.

Anonymous said...

National Organization of Women opposes Palin.

So, now those poor conflicted people who are racists and sexists have someone to vote for.

testing99 said...

The trooper fired was fired ... for tasering his 11 year old stepson, drinking in his patrol car, shooting a moose out of season, a few other things. But the tasering of his stepson was the big one. All started investigation wise btw before Palin ran for Gov.

If the talent pool is all Davos-Man, as Steve pointed out, you'll get Saaskavishili (sp?), guys unable to handle tough situations.

What matters most is executive experience to evaluate someone. By those standards, Palin is pretty good: oil/gas development, tax rebates, limiting spending, anti-pork crusades, killing the bridge to nowhere that Obama voted for, etc.

anony-mouse said...

Its interesting to see the Russophiles here not notice the similarities between Georgia and Alaska.

Anonymous said...

In the NYT, it is said:


Mr. Obama’s campaign does not plan to go directly after Ms. Palin in the days ahead. Instead, it is planning to increase its attacks on Mr. McCain for his opposition to pay equity legislation and abortion rights — two issues of paramount concern to many women — as it tries to head off his effort to use Ms. Palin to draw Democratic and independent women who had supported Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.


Hoooo, boy, so if a woman works as a librarian, she should get paid as much as a lawyer or software engineer or even a CEO?

Martin said...

"Anonymous said...

She has FIVE children. UNLIKE YOU SLACKERS."

You have no damned idea how many children anyone of us may or may not have.

reticentman said...

Wow, I just read her wiki page, can we vote for her to be president? I mean I had no intention of voting for either of the awful major candidates, but now I'd consider voting for McCain, only I'd be rooting for him to drop dead, and that's too dark for me.

Eric Sidwell said...

She has FIVE children. UNLIKE YOU SLACKERS.

We're the theoreticians of white civilisation, not its handymen.

Jonathan Silber said...

When President McCain has stepped down at the end of his one and only term, and President Palin takes office, mooseburgers will be available at White House State Dinners, if a guest should choose to order from the dollar menu; and the drive-thru window will stay open late.

Udolpho said...

She seems to have had an honest common sense way of governing which is good for a local politician in a place of Alaska, but to come to Washington and try to navigate the huge machinery of government with all the powerful interest groups at a time when we have massive and complex issues to be resolved, I have little confidence in her.

Yeah, the Clintons and Bushes and Gores and Kerrys of Washington are so much better at resolving complex issues than some...bumpkin...from a place too far away to even be in the flyover territory. Well argued.

none of the above said...

Tschafer:

What a crock. Would you hire someone with her resume to run your high-tech startup? Assuming you owned a lot of shares in Wal-Mart or GM or Microsoft, and could choose, would you choose someone with her resume to run those companies? The reason you wouldn't (assuming you've got decent judgement) isn't because they're stupid or bad people--Obama's clearly very bright, and Palin may be as well. It's because they wouldn't know what the hell they were doing in those jobs. They'd be completely dependent on their assistants, consultants, VPs in charge of X, etc. They might manage to learn, if they didn't get deposed after some disasterous share price drop or run the companies into the ground. But there would be several years where the companies in question would have no real leadership from the top, or where the CEO was a figurehead and the real decisions were made by someone else.

The presidency is much harder, and the stakes are much higher for failure--though running GM or Wal-Mart into the ground would be pretty awful.

If Obama's going to be president, I wish to God we'd somehow know it right now, and give him the next several months to do nothing but study up on the job he's going to have, talk to trusted advisors and academics, etc. And if Palin's going to be VP, I wish we could do the same for her.

This is a job that can be screwed up in truly nightmarish ways. Think Vietnam, Watergate, wage-and-price controls and gas rationing, the S&L and mortgage bubble collapses, the war in Iraq, the mishandling of Katrina, etc. Presidents matter. Bad presidents can do enormous damage by being fooled by con-men and true-believers, as you might have noticed in the last eight years.

Experience f--king matters.

Anonymous said...

"Think Vietnam, Watergate, wage-and-price controls and gas rationing, the S&L and mortgage bubble collapses, the war in Iraq, the mishandling of Katrina, etc. Presidents matter."

Every single one of the presidents who caused those fiascos were old men with oodles and oodles of political experience.

I say, give the former beauty queen a chance to sit in the captain's chair.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

none of the above, I would agree, but that would suggest that Nixon, Gore, and Bush 41 were best prepared to be POTUS; or if you prefer governors, then Bill Clinton.

What you say should be true. Somehow, it hasn't been.

Roger Chaillet said...

Experience matters?

Really?

This explains why George Bush's second term is an absolute disaster.

Think of the budget deficit.

The trade deficit.

Open borders.

War without end.

The failures of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Experience matters.

Really?

How can Steve or a reader lampoon BS like this?

And her Mickey Mouse academic pedigree?

Gee, what about Jeb Bush's oldest kid? He attended Rice (Steve's alma mater) plus UT Austin's law school, which is one of the best in the country.

Maybe we should vote for him instead.

Mark said...

The truth is that it is the campaign slogan "country first" that he fears, he the rootless cosmopolitan from Canada.

When did "rootless cosmopolitan" become a synonym for "damn Jew"? Around the time of Stalin, perhaps?


But his ditching of his first wife after she lost her looks is pretty low, and his second marriage to a very rich woman shows a Kerry-esque male gold-digger mentality which is very unattractive.

She didn't so much "lose her looks" as she gained a very unattractive, wobbly kind of limp. McCain was cheating on her while still married before he met his future second wife.

The idea that we would elect someone with the single academic credential of a JOURNALISM degree from the University of Idaho to perhaps the most powerful political office in the history of the world is an embarassment.

Just how many academic degrees does someone need, exactly, before going out into the real world and proving themselves? I thought that was a left-wing fetish.

I say, give the former beauty queen a chance to sit in the captain's chair.

I think DOM McCain was hoping she'd sit in the chair - with him already in it.

rightsaidfred said...

>>>> Would you hire someone with her resume to run your high-tech startup?

Business skills are not necessarily the same as political skills. I think Palin has shown exceptional political skills.

none of the above said...

Where could we look for data on whether experience matters in this kind of job? I can think of four sets of natural experiments that might give us some useful information:

a. Family-owned companies, looking at when a new family member takes over. Does age/experience in the business correlate with success?

b. State governors, looking at experience upon taking office vs. some straightforward measures of success (popularity of governor by polls, re-election, change in size of state economy, change in state poverty rate, etc.).

c. Foreign leaders, looking at experience upon taking office vs. measures of success. (I'm thinking of Georgia somehow.)

d. Coaches of sports teams. If we go down to college coaches, there ought to be decent information about the performance of football/basketball/soccer/etc. teams as a function of how much experience the coach has, even if we restrict it to the first couple years after the new coach comes to the team.

I suspect there aren't enough modern US presidencies to do a lot of good here. I guess Kennedy and Carter were notable for their lack of relevant experience, and that Johnson, Nixon, Clinton and Bush I were notable for large amounts of different kinds of relevant experience. (And Reagan and Bush II might be somewhere in the middle, and Ford is an outlier given the circumstances of his presidency.)

There are some obvious ways to get confounding variables here. If the hiring process is seriously meritocratic, then inexperienced, young people who get hired will probably be super impressive in other areas. If experienced candidates for (say) CEO of a company or coach of a football team are in high demand, the most experienced ones may only be willing to take on the best companies/teams.

Has anyone done the analysis on this? It's clearly not enough to say "very experienced, apparently qualified people have often done this job poorly, therefore let's give the job to a complete noob." Maybe the job's so hard, even immensely qualified people usually mess it up. ("This surgery is so hard, even the best surgeons kill half their patients. Say, let's have a medical student try the surgery on you--maybe experience isn't important.")

Anonymous said...

i thought the pick of palin was brilliant until i spent some time with the photos of her and her daughter -

i have to say the photos make it look very unlikely that she is the mother of trig

if she lied about trig, she needs to quit the ticket asap so mccain can clean up this mess

Lucius Vorenus said...

none of the above: Where could we look for data on whether experience matters in this kind of job?

I think it's true that all of us [or almost all of us] are laboring under the constraints of the Peter Principle: There is a [or an asymptotic] upper bound to our possible success, and our "experience" gives people a pretty good idea as to what that upper bound is [I suppose there might be some people who are so gifted that there is no upper bound to their possible success in any possible endeavor, but I'm not sure if any examples spring readily to mind - Beethoven, for instance, is rumored not to have advanced much beyond simple addition and subtraction in his arithmetic studies (which, quite frankly, I have never really understood - maybe he was just faking the math jitters because he didn't want to be bothered with doing his math homework)].

But there's also an amount of time that it takes us to reach our Peter Principle upper bounds [or, in the case of asymptoticness - asymptoticity? - the amount of time it takes us to get "pretty darned close" to our asymptotic upper bounds], so for each of us, there's a curve involved - the curve might be four years long [undergraduate studies], or a decade long [bachelor's & graduate training], or three or four decades long [with maybe Dubya as an example - having been a frat boy until at least the age of forty].

So the interesting question would be: What do people's Peter Principle curves look like, which, in turn, is to say: What is the "BELL CURVE" for a population's Peter Principle curves? In general, mathematicians would map all of this in a higher dimensional space - really as a bunch of data points in an infinite dimensional space. And since there are ultimately about six billion of those data points, the data points themselves could be taken as a pretty good approximation to a continuum, so you'd have (at least) a curve (if not a hypersurface, or even a family of hypersurfaces) in an infinite dimensional function space.

In all seriousness, though, I think that practical statisticians tend to ditch all of the infinite dimensional stuff pretty quickly, and instead try to concentrate on a handful of more tractable, discrete quantities, such as:

1) Length of time to reach the inflection point, and

2) Height of the inflection point, and

3) Length of time to reach the ultimate upper bound [or "pretty darned close" to the asymptotic limit], and

4) Height of the ultimate upper bound [asymptotic limit].

Followed by variations thereon, such as

5) Ratio of inflection point time to upper bound time, and

6) Ratio of inflection point height to upper bound height,

etc etc etc.

Of course, in the case of inexperience, this raises the question of how you would know a priori* a number such as the ultimate Peter Principle upper bound [which surely is an a posteriori insight], so I guess you would have to run the Monte Carlo experiment for a long, LONG, LONG time, with many, many data points along the way, before you started to get a good idea as to what was transpiring.

But "many, many data points along the way" is starting to get you back into infinite dimensional territory, and practical statisticians really, REALLY, REALLY don't want to go there - it's hell trying to get that grant renewed every four years running for three or four or five decades on end.



*As regards the a priori -v- a posteriori, I sense that somewhere Charles Murray - or the ghost of Richard Herrnstein - is screaming, "g, G, G!!! Damn it!" But this gets back to something that some of us were talking about in the Track Data thread: I wonder if "g" necessarily expresses itself over time in the same way for all people - some people may reach their "g", or "Peter Principle", upper bounds much more quickly [or more slowly, or more circuitously**] than other people.



**For instance, for some people [like, uh, Dubya?] there might not be one, but rather myriad, inflection points along the way to the ultimate upper bound.

miss marple said...

"Has anyone done the analysis on this? It's clearly not enough to say "very experienced, apparently qualified people have often done this job poorly, therefore let's give the job to a complete noob." Maybe the job's so hard, even immensely qualified people usually mess it up. ("This surgery is so hard, even the best surgeons kill half their patients. Say, let's have a medical student try the surgery on you--maybe experience isn't important.")" from NOTA

Maybe you are asking the wrong questions, NOTA. A president generally won't have expertise in every area of relevance. Also, for a politician maybe its the set of core beliefs that matter. (For that neophyte surgeon a sound idea about the procedure might be better than experience that amounts to repitition of the same old errors.)

Making decisions that are consistent with a set of principles could be aided with experience but most experienced politicians seem to have abandoned principle for power. This is why people have said that McCain is in the wrong party b/c his core beliefs align much better with those of Leiberman than with what would be a conservative platform. Palin has yet to be jaded by years of compromise.

Another aspect of political decision making is the ability to build a team of advisors while showing some discernment regarding the advice given. Are you planning to do some research on what constitutes good judgment before doing the analysis?

Palin has demonstrated a lifelong habit of making good decisions which has resulted in a successful private life and political career. Her resume screams leadership ability, more so than McCain's. (By contrast, Obama may be smarter but he has a tendency to ruminate and to adhere to policies based on theories of social justice even when his endeavors end in failure -Annenburg Challenge. He has also made some bad decisions about interpersonal relationships - Wright, Ayers & Rezco. While he is certainly popular in some circles, Obama has shown more a desire to lead than an aptitude for it. Yet, the Dems in all their wisdom chose him as the front runner.)

There may well be a mode of life/Adlerian aspect to this question. Character and personality may play a bigger role in determining who is fit for leadership than experience. I don't understand the panic about this anyway. If Cheney has managed to live through two terms as vice president despite severe heart problems, McCain who is in much better health ought to survive his presidency.

tommy said...

Every single one of the presidents who caused those fiascos were old men with oodles and oodles of political experience.

Thank you. That was the first thing that came to my mind as I read his list of political screw-ups.

Lucius Vorenus said...

You know, now that I think about it, there are some people who use the term "hypersurface" to indicate a thingamabob with codimension 1, and in the case of an infinite dimensional space, even 6 billion data points wouldn't be of much use in reconstructing such a thingamabob.

So obviously I was tacitly adopting the other use of the term "hypersurface".

Martin said...

"rosh said...

I was a fairly uninspired student at the University of Chicago, but while there, I managed to imbibe the university's contempt for any degree that didn't require interpreting mathematical models and/or engaging in multiple regression analysis."

And I have contempt for any degree that didn't involve solving Schroedinger's equation. So what?

Economists are a dime-a-dozen, collectively desperate for an acclaim that their profession usually does not deserve. They even concocted a phony Nobel prize for themselves, as if to say, "Hey guys, look at us, we're smart too!". Pathetic.

At least Mrs. Palin had the good sense not to actually become a journalist.

SFG said...

In particular, she appears to have completely won the hearts of the Nerd Vote with her Tina-Fey-in-the-NRA image -- pretty girls with big guns, just like in all the movies.

On the other hand, let me point out, she was a journalism major ...


Dude, it's the glasses. Nerds go for chicks with glasses. We think they're nerdy too.

As for journalism majors, they tend to be pretty nerdy quite often...


Do you actually know any nerds? Palin is the kind of woman nerds detest and fear - she's a standard cheerleader evangelical type. You'd expect her to like guns, there's nothing interesting or contradictory about her from a nerd perspective. Tina Fey with guns is a nerd's dream. Palin, not so much.
I'm from the Northeast, so maybe you red-state nerds can help me with this. Out here jock=Republican, nerd=Democrat. I've read, however, that in red states the conservative Christian movement appeals to many nerds because of its tendency on waiting for marriage, etc. A movement that favors honesty and loyalty is going to decrease the traditional 'player's advantage with women. How does the geek-jock division track politically out there?

Art Deco said...

She is a younger, more attractive, less accomplished version of Harriet Miers.

Miss Miers, a childless spinster, is a pillar of the Texas establishment, an attorney of 36 years standing, former managing partner of an enormous law firm, former president of the Texas Bar Asssociation, former counsel to the Governor of Texas and the President of the United States. She also was elected to a single term on the Dallas City Council. She graduated first in her class at Southern Methodist Law School.

Mrs. Palin, a highly athletic mother of five, began in the commercial fishing business and then went into politics as a municipal executive, not having served on a legislative body. She tends to be antagonistic (by many accounts) to the establishment in Alaska. Her academic record was ordinary.

These two are women, evangelical, and Republican. Otherwise they resemble eachother in no particular.

Art Deco said...

McCain always seemed like the dirty old man type to me - a habit he might have indulged in had he not hit the $500 million jackpot with wife #2. So when he talks about "closely scrutiniz[ing] his beauty queen veep nominee, I get the chills

But his ditching of his first wife after she lost her looks is pretty low, and his second marriage to a very rich woman shows a Kerry-esque male gold-digger mentality which is very unattractive.

I think Carol McCain has made public statements to the effect that the after-effects of her car accident were not per se a causal factor in their divorce. She did say that her husband did not take well to being middle aged and wanted at forty to behave as if he were twenty-five.

c23 said...

Would you hire someone with her resume to run your high-tech startup?

Have you heard of Ycombinator? They fund and mentor startups, and they encourage college students to apply. They regularly fund people in their early 20s, preferring intelligence and drive to experience. Smart people learn quickly, and conversely people who aren't so bright (say McCain and Biden, who both graduated around the bottom of their class) aren't going to become any brighter.

That's pretty much the point of almost everything Steve has ever written.

Anonymous said...

I second Mrs. Marple's comment that experience is far less important than political principles that guide decision-making.

To pick extreme examples that illustrate the point, Hitler, Stalin, Mao all had years of political experience and were filled with charisma before rising to the top. These three were the most important politicians of the 20th century. Two of them transformed their backward countries into world powers.

Politians do not have anything like the universal metrics of success for startups (e.g. profit, growth, exit). They are only successful to particular individuals and special interest groups in so far as they achieve particular non-universal goals (socialization vs free market, wealth redistribution vs individual merit, oligarchs vs democracy, etc.).