To the Editor:
Regarding the story "Conservative debate Jewish antipathy for Palin," I fail to understand why my fellow Jews often argue that Palin is "unqualified" for the presidency.
She started from nothing. No political connections, not from a big-money family. She was just a PTA mom in a small town, who decided to make a difference. By the age of 42, she was governor of Alaska, an office she attained not only against the opposition of the Democratic Party nominee, but even in the face of resistence from within the established Republican Party organization in Alaska. She went on to become the most popular governor in their history, and among the most popular in the country. In addition to her political life, along with her husband, she ran a small business, and her husband is a long-time blue-collar worker. She has a son on the front-line in Iraq, in a combat unit. She understands the concerns and challenges faced by the bulk of our country’s citizens, because she’s BEEN THERE.
Barack Obama, whom my fellow Jews here often positively swoon over, can say virtually none of this. Except for a very brief tenure in the practice of law, Obama has never worked a day in private industry in the whole of his adult life. He has been a student, a professor of constitutional law, served in the state legislature, and then, served only two years in the Senate before becoming president. There were no significant legislative accomplishments that were associated with him before he ran for president.
In short, he has spent pretty much the whole of his adult life as a "talker," not a "doer." He is very good at talking, of course, but his mediocre perfomance – with historically low approval ratings to match – have brought into sharp relief just how much his skills and qualifications are really worth to America.
What Palin is not is an "intelllectual". As someone who has attended schools of comparable prestige to Obama during comparable time frames (I was at U Michigan Ann Arbor when he was at Columbia, and I was at U Chicago when he was at Harvard), having had many housemates, colleagues, etc., with views very similar to Obama’s, I can say with authority that Palin lacks nothing important in this regard. In fact, "intellectuals" of Obama’s sort, I submit, are positively dangerous for America. The patronizing contempt some have accused him of having towards Americans in general, I can assure you, is very likely real. And his knee-jerk antipathy for Israel is VERY real. (I met his "good buddy" Rashid Khalidi when I was at U of Chicago; and you can bet that this man – who has dedicated the whole of his adult professional life to the destruction of Israel – sure didn’t support Obama because he thought he was a swell guy, or was looking forward to national health care).
Palin is sharp, practical, charismatic, and a proven leader in her own right, to a far greater degree than Obama ever was before the fact. Jewish Americans need to get over what amounts to an attitude of vulgar snobbery with respect to Palin. It is still too early to tell if she will run for president, but if she does, she will have this Jew’s full support. I don’t agree with her on everything, but on the whole, she will be far better for America – AND for Israel – than Obama & Co. ever could be, and by a long