By Tony Russell|
John McCain and other Republicans are defending his choice for the vice
presidency against charges that she is totally unqualified. Mrs. Palin
herself vouched for her extensive foreign policy credentials, saying she has
lived next door to Russia for years. As she told ABC News, "They're our
next-door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in
Alaska, from an island in Alaska."
I was explaining this to Patty. "I don't understand how people can call her
unqualified," I said. "Look how she answered her critics on the foreign
"I couldn't agree more," said Patty. "People are so quick to ignore the
importance of experience like that. And her thinking opens up all kinds of
possibilities. Take you, for instance. You lived in Detroit for a couple
of years when you were growing up. That's just a stone's throw from Canada.
I'm sure you're qualified to be vice president too."
"I don't know about that," I began modestly. "It's just Canada. They all
spend their winter vacations in Florida anyway. But what about that trip we
took to Houston in 1974 to watch the Super Bowl? We were practically in
"A weekend might not be long enough to become an expert," said Patty. "But
think about this. The hospital is only ten minutes from our door, and we've
lived here for over twenty years. Maybe I should set up shop as a
cardiologist. I'm probably qualified to deliver babies and perform
"What makes you think that?" I asked. "You're not qualified to practice
medicine. That's the craziest thing I've ever heard of!"
"Just following her logic," Patty said. "We're only a few miles from the
university as well. You can actually hear the chapel bells when the wind is
blowing this way. That should be all I need to edit an economics journal.
Or give a lecture on Elizabethan dramatists. Or to head up a biochemistry
"Come on, Patty," I said. "Quit joking about stuff like that. You're
talking about important jobs where you really have to know what you're
doing--doctors and economists and biochemists and literary scholars and what
"Right," she said. "Whereas, if she and McCain are elected, and anything
should happen to him--God forbid--, she has her finger on the nuclear red
button, and the fate of the world is in her hands. She's in charge of
dealing with Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, China, Cuba, Venezuela, and
every other nation in the world. I'm sure living across the Bering Strait
from Russia has more than prepared her. She probably has a grand global
strategy all worked out."
"There's probably not much chance she'll be placed in that position," I said
"Oh, I don't know," Patty responded. "Eight vice-presidents have taken
over so far when the president died, and Gerald Ford took over when Nixon
resigned. That's 9 out of 43. When you consider that McCain, if elected,
will be the oldest man ever to take the office, has a history of melanoma
and a medical record 1,200 pages long, you've got to consider the odds that
she'll step in are pretty good."
"Ouch," I said. "I'm developing a headache just thinking about it."
Patty whipped out a pen and tore a piece of paper from a notebook. "Here,"
she said, "let me prescribe something for that." In capital letters she
© Tony Russell, 2008