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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

From Wasilla to Washington?

Sorry to keep picking on poor Sarah Palin, the newly minted Republican nominee for vice president, but it's just so darn easy.

Having not had the opportunity to hear all of her speech on Friday, I caught a rerun of it this morning on one of the cable TV news channels, and I couldn't help but giggle - and shudder - when she outlined her political experience.

You know someone's political resume is short when they cite, among their recent accomplishments, serving as the president of a PTA chapter and being elected a councilwoman in Wasilla, Alaska.

Yes, the resume of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is short, too: community organizer, state senator, four years in the U.S. Senate. That's pretty much all of it. The difference, though, is at least we've gotten to know Obama over the past 18 months, he's learned and grown during his candidacy, he has some federal-level experience, and we have a sense of what his presidency might be like. And it doesn't hurt that he has a 36-year U.S. Senate veteran with vast foreign policy experience as a running mate.

In Palin, GOP presidential candidate John McCain is asking us to put our faith - in the event that he should die in office (which, unfortunately, is possible when you consider he's 72 years old and has had cancer) - in a person who virtually no one in America had heard of before Friday and whose only leadership experience as recently as December 2006 was being mayor of a town that has a population of 6,500.

Does anyone (read: right-wing spinmeisters trying to make the best of a bad situation) really believe Palin will be qualified, as early as four months fron now, to fix a faltering national economy, command America's military, solve our problems in Iraq, protect us from terrorism and go toe to toe with such brutal dictators as North Korea's Kim Jong Il and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? I think not.

I realize, of course, that most voters base their decisions on the qualifications of the presidential candidates, rather than those of the running mates, but this is one of those rare instances in our nation's history where, perhaps, the electorate should look very closely at the No. 2's on the tickets before pulling the lever.



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