Posts Tagged ‘beltway’

You may fire when ready, Sarah

October 2, 2008

Joe Biden knows more about Washington policy than Sarah Palin.

There.  I got it out of the way.  We can agree to agree on that.  Joe Biden is the quintessential Washington insider.  They say legislating and sausage-making have one thing in common: nobody really wants to see either process.  And Joe Biden knows an awful lot about at least one of those processes.

Having acknowledged that, let me just say – so what?

Joe Biden has been in the United States Senate since before there were dinosaurs.  And while that gives him a certain knowledge and a certain familiarity with Washington, it aint much of a selling point to an awful lot of voters.

The founding fathers did not particularly want career professional legislators.  What they wanted was people who would come from the real world, serve their nation in the Congress – and then go back home.

Bill O’Reilly made this point: if you need to have surgery, you go to a trained professional board-certified surgeon.  If you need to fly in an airplane, you want a trained professional airline pilot.  There is no school for professional politicians, and there never has been one for the American political experiment.  That’s because the founding fathers did not want inside-the-beltway policy wonks; they wanted real people from the real world.

Do we want a politician who understands the ins and outs of Washington, or do we want a politician who understands you and what you care about?

That’s Sarah Palin’s strength, and that is her secret to victory in tonight’s debate.

Joe Biden is a better politician and in all likelihood a better debater.  It’s all he’s ever done.  He’s politicized and debated all his life.  Sarah Palin has actually lived in the real world, and even her political career has been as far removed from Washington as one can be in the continental United States.

In last week’s presidential debate, John McCain clearly won on substance and on knowledge of policy.  But Barack Obama was declared the winner, because he had the syle-points down.

In the same way, Joe Biden will likely win on substance and on knowledge of policy.  But if Sarah comes out firing as Sarah, she has a real chance of stealing the show because Americans identify with her and relate to her.

Hopefully, Sarah Palin realizes that she doesn’t have to “win,” she only needs to relate in an intelligent, practical way.  And she’s already proven that she knows how to do that.