Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sarah Palin: Vice President for the Rest of Us

'It has been held against this nominee that he is mediocre. Even if he is mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they? And a little chance? We can't have all Brandeises, Cardozos, and Frankfurters and stuff like that there.'

--Senator Roman Hruska

Imagine you walk into some restroom, and find a briefcase leaning against the wall. You open it with secret key, and with the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE! theme pounding in your ears, you discover your mission: justify the appointment of a woefully unqualified candidate to a high office. What do you do? In April 1970, Nebraska Senator Roman Hruska was tasked to do just that, with then President Nixon's attempt to nominate G. Harrold Carswell to the US Supreme Court. Judge Carswell, on his best days, was barely mediocre. Instead of just closing the briefcase, changing his name and moving to a new state, good soldier Hruska boldly walked on the Senate floor, and deftly carved his niche in Senate history by making what is largely regarded as the dumbest statement ever on the Senate floor.

Rum luck for Senator Hruska: He was just ahead of his time. 'So I don't have a big fat resume. So what?' Governor Palin told a surprised Charles Gibson. So what? So how about not being such an arrogant, misguided knucklehead, that's what. Just because half of all Americans are below average, that doesn't mean half the Supreme Court--or half the executive branch--should also be below average. We've already had a State Department and a Justice Department filled with inexperienced, ignorant, partisan hacks--look how well THAT worked. You want to see inexperienced people who take jobs 'without blinking,' take a gander at Rajiv Chandrasekaran's 'Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone.'

Mr. Chandresekaran paints a vivid portrait of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), and the gang of incompetents recruited to run post-invasion Iraq. There's a reason the military referred to the CPA as 'Can't Produce Anything.' For example, during Robert Gates's confirmation hearings for Secretary of Defense, he was asked what he viewed as the biggest mistakes the US had made in Iraq. He didn't hesitate: Dissolving the Iraqi army, and eliminating all former members of the Ba'ath Party from employment by the Iraqi government. Now guess what were the first two directives issued by Paul Bremmer, the head of the CPA?

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