Remember back way back in the pre-Sarah Palin age when first-term U.S. Sen Barack Obama was running against Hillary Clinton and a host of more experienced Democratic presidential candidates? I do. What I recall is how many Obama supporters would say that, well, there’s really no experience that prepares one for the White House so why not “The Chosen One.”In the most recent Weekly Standard, Ronald Reagan biographer and Winston Churchill scholar — and altogether snappy guy — Steven Hayward has an article on Palin and the experience issue that manages to rise above the current political back-and-forth and explore serious questions about the nature of self-government and elitism in the United States.
Lurking just below the surface of the second-guessing about Sarah Palin’s fitness to be president is the serious question of whether we still believe in the American people’s capacity for self-government, what we mean when we affirm that all American citizens are equal, and whether we tacitly believe there are distinct classes of citizens and that American government at the highest levels is an elite occupation. He writes:
It is incomplete to view the controversy over Palin’s suitability for high office just in ideological or cultural terms, as most of the commentary has done. Doubts about Palin have come not just from the left but from across the political spectrum, some of them from conservatives like David Frum, Charles Krauthammer, and George Will. Nor is this a new question. To the contrary, Palin’s ascent revives issues and arguments about self-government that raged at the time of the American founding and before. Indeed, the basic problems of the few and the many, and the sources of wisdom and virtue in politics, stretch back to antiquity.
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