Grading Palin... and grading us?

I was struck this morning by a comment made in passing that really shows a central problem in how the Left and the MSM (OK, so that’s the same thing) think of everyone that isn’t, well, the Left or the MSM (or a D.C. insider, Blue State resident, or Hollywood “expert” like Matt Damon).

I was listening to N.P.R’s Morning Edition to see what the reactions were to Sarah Palin’s interviews with Charles Gibson. On the segment “Grading Palin’s TV Appearance“, Mara Liasson makes the comment that while Palin is not “terrifically fluent” in foreign policy, she “shows that she’s quick a study, because she’s been boning up on this intensively over the last week…”

Now its obviously true that Palin has probably been “boning up” on all kinds of things over the last couple of weeks, and probably especially on foreign policy. There is, however, an underlying assumption that is being made here that we shouldn’t miss. It is that this young, 2-year Governor from Alaska would have known nothing whatsoever about any of those issues before “boning up” on them over the last week. More importantly, someone like you or I definitely would not know anything about them.

Sweeping generalization time – you decide for yourself if you agree with it or not: The Left believes that only the elite – the Liberal Washington/New York/Hollywood/Etc. Elite – can grasp these difficult issues. As intimated by Charles Gibson in last night’s interviews, only those that have traveled the world and met foreign heads of state are prepared to deal with these issues. Certainly not someone from Alaska, or Tennessee, or Kansas, or any other “red-state” – from Governors on down to you or I.

The truth is that while the situation Sarah Palin was in during those interviews was tough and intimidating, the questions themselves weren’t that tough. If asked, I can tell you what I think about why the terrorists attacked NYC and the Pentagon. I can tell you what I think about preemptive strikes, global warming, God’s role in war, drilling in ANWR, Russia, Georgia, NATO membership, and crossing into Pakistan chasing after terrorists. I’m not an expert on any of those topics, but I have kept up with the news about them and pondered them… even though I’m not a politician or a journalist and I don’t live in any of the big cities on the coasts. If you want to ask me a Biden-esque trick question like, “who is the leader of Angola”, I’ll confess now: you’ll probably trap me. If you want to have an honest exchange though about important issues, I’ll probably be able to answer your question without a lot of “boning up”.

I’ll agree with the Left, the MSM, and anyone else that I want someone who is qualified in the position of President and Vice-President. The big difference is in what we consider the qualifications to be. To the Left, it is someone who has met a head of state. To me, it starts with someone who is in touch with the people and the common sense that the people of this country apply to answering the questions like the ones above.