Alaska Governor Sarah Palin faced off with Deleware Senator Joe Biden last night. Going into the debate, I knew very little of Sarah Palin and more than I needed to know about Joe Biden. I’ve never been a big fan of his and I’ve always believed that “experience” in national politics was a hindrance, not a help. Sarah Palin changed my mind.

Her “folksy” approach to debate was a huge turn off. She didn’t win my heart because she couldn’t win my mind. It isn’t even a matter of failure. It’s really a matter of indequacy. She isn’t fit for the position.

I was leaning in that direction before the debate, but I wanted to see how she handled herself against a strong debater like Biden. I was impressed that she did so well. But when she said that she agreed with Dick Cheney about the nature of the office of vice president, that was enough for me to decide that we don’t need a gunslinging social folk artist a lockstep away from the most powerful position in the world. Everyone would lose.

As a reminder, Dick Cheney is on the record as saying the vice president’s position is a part of the Legislative branch of government, not the Executive. As Biden so eloquently corrected him, that’s one of the most ludicrous assertions ever made in U.S. politics. His position in the Senate is simply to break tie votes, not to compose legislation or impose his will. He is first and foremost a back up to the president. Since Sarah Palin has the same view as Cheney then we will likely see a repeat of the types of abuses that Dick Cheney has been guilty of for the past eight years.

While I don’t share the bigoted views of Sam Harris regarding religion – I am, after all, a Christian who regularly attends a traditionally orthodox denomination -  I do believe that Sarah Palin’s views on God, sexuality, and a number of other things is a hindrance to her ability to serve as vice president. And people who claim that they will vote for Palin because they can “relate to her” should have their license to vote revoked.

Well, now that I’ve gone over the line, let me say that I don’t really believe that taking people’s right to vote away is the answer. But I am fearful that America is being run by unnuanced thinking, primarily because of the widespread belief that politicians are there to serve the whims of the populace. There is no idea so un-Republican and destructive as the notion that the majority should rule in every situation.  But that is a digression.

Palin’s Pentecostal parochialism positions the federal government to limit the freedoms of Americans who have, according to traditional Republican philosophies of governance, a right to pursue happiness according to the dictates of their own values.

Her cute, schoolgirl smile does not win me over. I am not interested in a friendly servant with a beauty pageant disposition. I am interested in a knowledgeable and effective statesman who will act in accordance with the law while carrying out his official duties. I do not like Biden’s politics and I disagree with many more of his principles than I do with Palin’s. Still, I can’t help but see Palin as a hockey mom and hockey moms may make great mayors of small towns in Alaska, but you can’t take a crash course in international politics and expect that you’ll affect relations with foreign leaders for the positive because you know how to cheer from the sidelines.

Sarah Palin’s oft-spoken assertions that she is a mother and working-class wife who can relate to the everyday challenges of American families is smarmy and downright silly. She isn’t running for president of the PTA. She is asking people to let her take on a position that will require her to consider many things that the people she can relate to so easily cannot understand and will never themselves have the opportunity to consider, and she must be able to think about those policy decisions using thinking skills that are based on logic, fact-checking, and analyzing complex details. Rather than demonstrate that she has those skills, she is busy conjuring “betchas”, “hecks”, and “gee golly gee-whiskers”, as if having the knack for speaking in Fargo-like colloquialisms is the highest qualification for the office.

Sarah Palin is a cheerleader. Her mentality is so close to the mind of Bush’s, the president with the lowest approval rating in history, that for anyone to consider her a serious candidate is more than a joke. The Bush-Cheney presidency has arrogated itself to starting an unjust war in Iraq that requires the poor and middle class to pay for with their lives and pocketbooks while the wealthiest members of our society profit. John McCain and Sarah Palin want to continue those policies. I would gladly suffer through four years of liberal social policy than to have to live one more day with the disastrous, cynical, and philosophically dangerous illusions of the neoconservative cabal represented by the likes of Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, and Sarah Palin.

What kind of vice president do we need? We need one who understands the Constitution from a historical perspective, not an ideologically narrow one. We need a VP who is in touch with reality and can distance herself from her hockey mom past. Anyone elected to the vice president’s position should have a background in making difficult decisions and looking at cold, hard facts. Disagree with his politics, but recognize that Joe Biden’s experience in the Senate is far more valuable than Sarah Palin’s on Alaska’s hunting grounds. In this case, experience counts.

Allen Taylor writes the daily News and Media Blog. He invites you to become a Twitter follower.

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