I’m not reassured

I sent this letter to the editor of Jewish World Review:

In re: Biden, Palin take lead in clash on Mideast issues

Dear Editor:

I loved Governor Palin’s speech at the Republican National Convention, but, after all, she didn’t write it herself. She delivered a speech said to be written by Bush speechwriter Matthew Scully. Governor Palin has good instincts about national security and the need for greater energy independence, but the question still nags at me: Is she qualified to be vice president — and possibly president — of the United States?

Barack Obama has not reassured me that he understands the role Israel plays as the only reliably pro-Western country in the Middle East, nor does he seem to understand what Israel means for Jewish survival. (In all fairness, I don’t have the same apprehensions about Senator Biden.) Given Senator Obama’s lukewarm support for Israel and his own relative inexperience, I can’t see pulling the lever for the Democratic ticket.

Yet at this point, I don’t feel comfortable supporting the McCain-Palin ticket either. Despite her wonderful delivery at the RNC, Sarah Palin is a rookie. Moreover, a Time magazine article alleges that she sought to have books banned from the Wasilla, Alaska, public library. You may think that support for Israel should outweigh freedom of speech, but it’s just such unintelligent intervention in cultural affairs that makes me think that Governor Palin would do exactly what the Republican party sees as a cardinal Democratic sin: Meddle in our personal lives. Worse: Meddle in affairs she doesn’t understand.

It’s the morning after the RNC and I plan on doing something I’ve never done before: Sit this election out. 

Barbara Finkelstein

See part of this letter in Wordle

Video of Sarah Palin at the RNC



  1. Dark Prince said

    Sarah is McCain’s answer to Obama.

    Lets him highlight Obama’s thin resume and lack of experience (at least she has been a mayor and a governor), and counter his charisma with her compelling personal story, assured presence and potential to be The Babe America Loves.

    For us serious minded people this is nonsense. But democracy is not just for us serious minded people. The key operative question is: What is her appeal in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio? Does sex appeal trumpet deep grasp of issues … for a VP?

    We will find out a lot about the current state of America in this election.

  2. modestine said

    Hi Dark Prince!
    Sarah Palin is an attractive woman — but I think her physical attributes are only part of her appeal.

    I, for one, expected to see a woman crippled by media allegations that she is unfit to be McCain’s VP. I thought she would fumble around for something to say about her pregnant 17-year-old daughter. About her own very untraditional career aspirations.

    Instead we were treated to a defiant personality. She gives the impression of being her own person.

    For those Republicans in the Xcel Center, Sarah Palin looks like somebody they have never seen before. She got that crowd juiced up. That’s something that John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney couldn’t do throughout the entire primary season.

    I think we’ll see if there’s any substance behind her appeal during the debates.


  3. Dwharris said

    This is Obama’s presentation of his position on Israel:


    If what he says here is true, what’s insufficient about it?

  4. amiel said

    and Sarah Palin is far less of a risk to Israel’s suvival, than leading candidates in Kadimah’s primary…..

  5. Mirel said

    After the debacle of the past 8 years I just don’t understand why the Republican brand would seem to be the “safer” choice when it comes to Israel. Israel is stronger if the U.S. is stronger. “Stronger” to me means a healthy democracy, a spirited free people, a vibrant sound economy and energy policy, a world full of allies — not the bellicose but weakened and isolated state we have become during the Bush years. And McCain is promising more of the same.

    I didn’t start out as an Obama supporter but over the course of the last year he has impressed me and won my vote. He is smart, thoughtful, nuanced (heaven forbid), and has run a disciplined, brilliant campaign. His selection of Joe Biden showed a clear mind and an appreciation of how important the VP selection is. His instincts, intellect, and temperament seem well-suited to the demands of the presidency.

    I don’t support John McCain, but still, I eagerly awaited his VP choice and was hoping for a good pick — after all, he might win, in which event his VP will be playing a key role in our nation’s affairs. To my mind, the selection of Sarah Palin completely disqualifies McCain. Maybe it was politically savvy and it has fired up the “base.” But it was a cynical, reckless, wise-guy choice. “Country First” — I don’t think so.

    Sure, her delivery was good, although I found her speech sarcastic and mean-spirited (but not as mean as Guiliani). Sure, she has a little “executive” experience. But she is far, far right on every social issue and is a complete novice on the world stage. At least with Obama we’ve had the last year or two to size him up under pressure and under a relentless spotlight. With Palin, we’ve got just a couple of months. It’s not enough time to get to know anyone, let alone the person who at any moment could become the President of the United States.

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