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October 27, 2008


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Whatever intelligence she may possess is absolutely tainted by the extremism of her fundamentalist religious beliefs. Her mind may be a steel trap, but its rusted shut.


You do realize that this remarkably smart politician is still do a single press conference as a Vice presidential candidate, and might be the first and hopefully the last one to do so. Before you blame this on her handlers or the McCain campaign, consider for a moment why they have shielded her from the press. Every time she has given an interview to a non Fox reporter she has either made a blunder or exposed her lack of knowledge and nuance - Bush doctrine, Newspaper reading list, explaining how a VP makes policy decisions in Senate, lack of understanding about what preconditions are.

I guess lack of knowledge might be excusable by saying she is just new to the scene with insufficient preparation (inspite of having "photographic memory" and "associative" thinking). But, the most troubling issue is her outright denial of facts, like when in her only remarks on the subject, she said that the Troopergate report exonerated her of any legal or ethical issues when it specifically said that she violated govt ethics by misusing her position for personal gain.

The article you quoted is from a former Hillary supporter who disliked Obama long before she started working or even met with Palin. Not to discount her or your viewpoint, but being a contrarian just for its sake seems like a call for attention.


I plead guilty to seeking attention, Abhinav. But really there's nothing in your post that contradicts mine. She doesn't know enough and she shouldn't be in the position she's in - that much we agree on. All I'm saying is, she's not stupid. In fact she's probably pretty smart - and that means she can and will evolve as a politician. It's a fairly modest point.


Oh, I am sure she will be a formidable politician. Though I would attribute that to her ambition and a false self image rather than smartness. You say "She doesn't know enough and she shouldn't be in the position she's in", but McCain didnt pick her against her wishes. She considered herself equal to the task or maybe she had enough foresight to see how she can just use this opportunity to grab a national platform. Anyways, I just dont agree with the article's author who says Palin is smart beyond being calculating/shrewd and and is someone "who knows exactly who she is".

BTW I am an avid reader of your posts, even though I sometimes disagree with your take.


Also, let us not forget that there are many forms of human intelligence. We live in a culture which favours just two of those forms -- verbal and logical/mathematical -- and it therefore easy to forget that there are other forms. It is quite clear from accounts of people who have worked with him, for instance, that George W Bush is very intelligent, even though he lacks verbal dexterity and fluency.

Of course, one could argue that precisely becuase our culture favours just two kinds of intelligence, then the occupant of the most powerful office on earth should be very facile in one or both of these forms. No matter how musically intelligent you are, for example, the Pentagon is not going to be able to make its submissions to you as jazz improvisations.


Yes good point Peter. And of course that is why - sadly, perhaps - Jack Kennedy decided against making John Coltrane his Secretary of Defense in 1960.


The analogy with Thatcher is interesting. Like many modern Republicans, she had a clear and relatively simple world view, sustained by strong 'instincts'. Though formidable at mastering a brief, she tended to be sneered at by intellectuals.

The crucial difference is that Thatcher believed passionately in ideas and in intellectual thought. She read Dicey and Hayek, joined the Conservative Philosophy Group, and surrounded herself (in the early years at least) with some brilliant minds. What's different about the modern right, as embodied by Palin, is its extraordinary contempt for intellectual thought, and the assumption that "knowing where you are" is the only requirement for office.

Great site, by the way!


The commenters always come out for Palin!


I reckon that Sarah Palin is a really strong "F" in Myers Briggs terms - her approach to things is not primarily based on logic, she justs FEELS it. Brilliant at building connections (e.g. neocon bigwigs and the base) but not so hot at sounding thought out (e.g. "just feeling sick" about the bailouts)

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